Please note:

  • All these street organ arrangements for my modifed Topsy 3 are home-made. Contact me if you want a custom arrangement - whether a modification of a number below or something new - for your own street organ, musical box, barrel piano, or whatever.
  • The MP3s below use Virtual Studio Technology: this is NOT the real sound, and someone needs to sing!
  • Lyrics or translations can be displayed live on a screen, karaoke-style.
WonderfulCate Le Bonen2016From her fourth album, Crab Day
Pablow the blowfishMiley Cyrusen2015Almost as good as Fluffy.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
God, I want to be an artist, in my heartThe Singing Organ-Grinderen2014Each verse increasingly unlikely to get past today's censors.
The Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go BerserkLe Vostre GCen2014Nyne vikinges and a mightye troll / Joyne eight moore for sea patrol.
ShibbolethReginald Pikedevant2014Brief ditty on the onomastic pitfalls of the United Kingdom.
Villancico linuxeroPánico en el núcleo (Panic in the kernel)es2011Linux carol disparages Windows and Mac, makes Spanish nerds laugh: Que le den al Guindos, que le den al Mac, / que yo uso Linux y me va genial.
Gacela del amor imprevistoLorca / Sans Rancune / The Singing Organ-Grinderes1998Lorca as universal revolutionary instead of reinventor of the Castilian romance: La sangre de tus venas en mi boca, / tu boca ya sin luz para mi muerte (reggaecito cojito con tango)
My pervert doppelgangerMomusen1997Best song to mention Smithfield market, 'where refrigerated lorries unload dead cows.'
Copla del viudo del submarinoJuan Antonio Cantaes1996From the last Andalusian avant-gardist: En el fondo del mar tengo yo / Una novia en silencio / Un poquito de pescaito frito / Me trae su recuerdo
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Te quieroJuan Antonio Cantaes1996Macabre ballad of frustrated love from the great farewell album of the last Andalusian surrealist, Las increíbles aventuras de Juan Antonio Canta, set to a marionettish accompaniment.
Bacteriën / The Virus SongWillem Wilmink / Harry Bannink, trans. / arr. The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1996One of Wilmink's so-called intermezzos. When uncle Steve had had a poo / He scraped by hand each glob of goo / From his scrawny bum etc etc
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Carloons in the Anguish languishDoc Clayen1992Thrill your friends with a homophonic carol service featuring classics like 'Oh, ladle down off Bath lay him' and 'Shingled hells'.
Fungus the BogeymanThe Singing Organ-Grinderen1985Inspired in some fashion by Raymond Briggs' graphic novel.
Super Mario Sheep1985Mashup created for an agricultural theatre event.
Estoy tocando fondoViudas e hijas de Roque Enrolles1984Where the fondo may be the International Monetary Fund.
Theme from Terminator1984Next project: Arnie-style organ.
Himno de la Comunidad de MadridAgustín García Calvoes1983Muy bueno por irónico: Sólo por ser algo, ¡soy madrileño! (Cfr. Cánovas: Son españoles... los que no pueden ser otra cosa)
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My Granny is a cripple in NashvilleBilly Connollyen1981
FluffyGloria Balsam / Richard van Dorn / Davey Saylesen1980Her doggie gets lost in the woods, and Gloria is very sad: 'Here, Fluffy, where are you?'
Video, possibly from another time or person:
A Martian sends a postcard homeCraig Raineen1979Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings / and some are treasured for their markings - / they cause the eyes to melt / or the body to shriek without pain.
Song for the British working classCornelius Cardewen1979Albanian scansion for one of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist–Leninist)'s more curious attempts to connect with normal people: Persisting in the face of every difficulty / In 1979 was formed our new party, a glorious victory. / Rallying to this flag is the only way, workers / To usher in, a bright new day of / Socialism in Britain.
You're the reason our kids are uglyLorretta Lynn, Conway Twittyen1978
Hit me with your rhythm stickIan Duryen1978Tropical stylee.
Clever TrevorIan Duryen1977
Synonyms / ShumbaThomas Mapfumo / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1975Flagrant misuse of chiShona material by Zimbabwe's most interesting singer.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Ik ben GerritGerrit Dekzeilnl1973My name is Gerrit and I steal like the ravens, / I am a rogue in the eyes of the goody-goodies. / But what can you do if you have nothing / In this world where everything's a con.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Peppi en Kokki intronl1972Dutch 70s absurdist children's show.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
King of RomeDave Sudbury / June Tabor / The Unthanksen1970s?A pigeon race from Rome to England in 1913: On the day o' the big race a storm blew in / A thousand birds were swept away and never seen again.
Run, Samson, runThe Click Kidsen1970Run, Samson, run, Delilah's gonna get you, / Run, Samson, run she's gonna cut your hair, / Run, Samson, run, you're gonna lose your power / You're gonna go to prison and lie down dead.
JunkPaul McCartneyen1970
I don't eat animals and they don't eat meMelanie Safkaen1970Things were pretty bad in the 70s: I don't eat white flour, white sugar makes you rot, / Oh, white could be beautiful but mostly it's not.
Ernie (the fastest milkman in the West)Benny Hillen1970
Las tetas de María GuevaraPerucho Aguirre / Quinto Criolloes1970Absurd song about an absurd pair of Caribbean peaks: navigational and erotic aids.
Plegaria para el senador Robert F Kennedy después de su asesinatoHermanitos Garcíaes1970
Postman Pat / Pat el Cartero / Postmann PatBryan Daly / Ken Barrieno en1970In English or Norwegian. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
Theme from the Magic RoundaboutAlain Legrand1970The bits featuring a barrel organ were more popular in Germany.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
I'm happyIvor Cutleren1967And I'll punch the man who says I'm not. A boxing classic to be.
Darling, will you marry me twice?Ivor Cutleren1967Cartesian doctrine in micro format.
I'm going in a fieldIvor Cutleren1967Green grass, yellow flowers / My lover’s eyes are blue.
Theme from Star TrekAlexander Courage / Gene Roddenberry1966With scam-meister Gene Roddenberry's lyrics.
Hungarian Goulash No. 5Allan Sherman / Johannes Brahmsen1963Do you like Hungarian food / They have a goulash which is very good. (Pumpernickel is also associated with Westphalia.)
Little boxes ('Ticky tacky')Malvina Reynoldsen1962We all look just the same.
Ta Katie t'a quittéBoby Lapointefr1962Pour une sonnerie, c'est une belle çonnerie! Legendary tonguetwister. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
James Bond themeJohn Barry1962Quasi-ska version. Virtual excerpt:
Poisoning pigeons in the parkTom Lehreren1959
On the ning nang nongSpike Milliganen1959Where the cows go Bong!
Elube (Mi Churri, gran perrito/My doggie, big little doggie)Ndirande Pitch Crooners / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1958The original song in Nyanja (Malawi) is about a girl, but it scans like a dog biting its tail, and so my English version is a homage to all the little doggies out there.
Concerto for Barrel Organ and Orchestra / Brass Band / Wind Band / Piano etcBernie Green1957The organ-grinder has at last got a serious classical gig but can't throw off the habits of a lifetime. With bleeding chunks of Tchaikovsky (1st Piano Concerto), Rachmaninov (2nd Piano Concerto), Greig (Piano Concerto), Fučik (Entry of the Gladiators) and Waldteufel (Les Patineurs). Virtual excerpt:
The abominable snowmanOgden Nashen1956I've never seen an abominable snowman, / I'm hoping not to see one, / I'm also hoping, if I do, / That it will be a wee one.
Sunday MirrorET Mensahen1956Highlife ad for a 1950s Ghanaian newspaper.
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus OR I saw mommy kissing Yog-SothothH.P. Lovecraft Historical Societyen1955 OR 2011Innocent entertainment from when all families were normal OR Christmas fantasy about the Myths of Cthulhu.
El baile de los pajaritos / The birdie song / De vogeltjesdansEl payo Juan Manuel / Werner Thomas / Johnny Hoeses nl en1955
A woman in loveFrank Loesser1955Modified transcription of a broken-down French organ-grinder's version of this Broadway standard.
When you are old and greyTom Lehreren1953On request only. Virtual excerpt:
I hold your hand in mine, dearTom Lehreren1953I press it to my lips / I take a healthy bite / From your dainty fingertips.
The old dope pedlarTom Lehreren1953When happiness is a powder, from the well-known Harvard mathematician.
Frosty the defrosted snowmanLonzo and Oscaren1953
How much is that doggie in the windowBob Merrill / Patti Pageen1953The one with the waggly tail. Lita Roza's version was Maggie Thatcher's favourite song.
I'm no communistCarson Robison / Scotty Wisemanen1952Cold War country alla Ronald Reagan: I'm no communist, I'll tell you that right now / I believe a man should own his own house and car and cow / I like this private ownership, I wanna be left alone / Let the government run its business, and let me run my own.
Marijuana, the devil's flowerMr. Sunshine and his Guitar Pickersen1951
Joe Louis was a fighting manThe Dixieairesen1950Another boxing number.
Time to go home (Andy Pandy)Maria Birden1950We didn't have a telly, but for some reason it's still familiar.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Take you meat out me riceLord Kitcheneren1950
Smoke, smoke that cigaretteen1950
Yo tengo un mocoTrad. / Wagner / Mozart / Pierre Degeyter / traductor comunista desconocidoes1950Mashup with kazoo of a Spanish children's song about eating your bogies, The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, Eine kleine Nachtmusik and the Internationale ('Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers').
Unemployment Compensation BluesLes Pine / Barbara Dane / George Browneen1949And when I'm through with my weekly routine, / I spend my money on Benzedrine. / I've got those 'By the time I get my check, / I become a nervous wreck' blues.
The blue DanubeSpike Jonesen1945It's green.
Stalin wasn't stallin'Golden Gate Jubilee Quarteten1943An American gospel quartet lauds Uncle Joe's revenge on his old friend Hitler. Not sure whether this will ever work again, after the Ukraine war.
All I want for Christmas is my two front teethSpike Jonesen1940A little girl's terrible lisp is caused by her insufficient dentition. Works well at primary schools and dental conferences.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My girl's pussyRobert Crumb & his Cheap Suit Serenadersen1940Often it goes out at night, returns at break of dawn / No matter what the weather's like it's always nice and warm.
HawaiiMary J. Muckle / Anon / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1940There are three words that sweetly blend, / That on the heart are graven; / A precious soothing balm they lend– / They’re Mother, Home and Hawaii!
Lydia, the Tattooed LadyYip Harburg / Harold Arlen / Groucho Marx / The Muppetsen1939From At the Circus. Appears as Todd's new ringtone in Breaking Bad.
With her head tucked underneath her armRudy Vallee / Cyril Smithen1937Comic Anne Boleyn ghost song. Tenuous Yorkshire connection: the 2021 Channel 5 period drama was filmed entirely in Yorkshire, featuring Bolton Castle, Markenfield Hall (Ripon), Ripley Castle, Fountains Hall and Castle Howard, Oakwell Hall, Harewood House, East Riddlesden Hall and St Michael’s Church, Emley.
When I'm cleaning windowsGeorge Formbyen1936From the film, Keep Your Seats, Please
WunderbarZarah Leanderen1935?Popularised in Britain as 'Wonderbra'
Shave 'em dryLucille Boganen1935I've got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb / I got something tween my legs 'd make a dead man come.
To The Tabulating Machine Division (IBM Songbook)IBM employeesen1935Punch a card for every sale that's made. / There's a record which will never fade. / Sort them out by man and state - / Speedily we tabulate. Etc. etc.
Nobody loves a fairy when she's 40Arthur Le Clerq / Tessie O'Sheaen1935
Ugly womanRoaring Lion / Sir Lancelot / Jimmy Soulen1934If you want to be happy and live a king's life, never make a pretty woman your wife!
Stalin epigramOsip Mandelstam, trans. Dmitri Smirnov, music Singing Organ-Grinderen1933We are living, but can’t feel the land where we stay, / More than ten steps away you can’t hear what we say.
Ursonate / Sonate in UrlautenKurt Schwitters1932Schwitters wanted to destroy conventional forms. This mashup with JS Bach and reggaetón is a revenge of the nerds.
My brother makes the noises for the talkiesAlbert Whelan / Jack Payne / Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Banden1931
Doris the goddess of windDouglas Byngen1930?From his royal campness. Used in Alan Bennett's 2010 play The Habit of Art.
Seven skeletons found in the yardLord Executor aka Felix Garcia (ca.1878-1952)en1930From a calypso genius and the king of extempo: Hideous discoveries and monstrous crime / Always happen at the Christmas time.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Cabaret boysDouglas Byng / Lance Listeren1928Camp classic from the Pansy Craze, with numerous double entendres
El menúZöllner / Arregui Trecetes1927La versión conocida es la de Los Xey (1953), pero canto la que se hizo para la Coral del Ensanche de Bilbao.
It's a long way from amphioxusPhilip H. Popeen1921Evolution, sung to Tipperary: Well, it's goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it's welcome lungs and hair! / It's a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.
El dilluns jo no treballoValencianoca1920Song in Valencian lists the days of the week on which I don't work. Their number is lucky.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
I'm living alone and I like itSophie Tuckeren1920
Panpipe call used by an itinerant French pot-mender and pig-gelder in fr1920With humorous quotes from Spanish Golden Age theatre (inc Quevedo and Calderón), sketching the accent, appearance and behaviour of French castrators and pot menders in the 16th/17th centuries. (Ambulant moped-chain-powered knife-grinders in Barcelona and other Mediterranean cities still use panpipes as advertising medium, but with less sophistication.)
Had je me maarLouis Davidsnl1916Song that provided the nickname for the Dutch anarchist politician, Cornelis de Gelder.
Second Sonata, The Airplane, fragmentoGeorge Antheil1916Everything's back to front: The Singing Organ-Grinder is the plane.
Toccata No. 2George Antheil1916
Mashup: Petrushka + My old man's a dustmanIgor Stravinsky / Lonnie Doneganen1915Portrays on the organ the orchestral imitation by Stravinsky of a barrel organ and a musical box. The video shows the Bolshoi dancing my arrangement. Ends with one of my favourite children's songs.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Sports et divertissementsErik Satieen1914A selection, in English.
La nina encantadaJoan Amades (Cançoner)ca1910Jaime I of Aragón hunts his Hungarian queen, Violante, in the form of a stag. Alludes to the foundational myth of the Danubian country. Anti-folky version.
Woad aka National Anthem of the Ancient BritonsWilliam Hope-Jonesen1910To Men of Harlech: Saxon, you can waste your stitches / Building beds for bugs in britches: / We have woad to clothe us, which is / Not a nest for fleas.
England and America. I. On a Rhine SteamerJames Kenneth Stephenen1909In short it's due to thee, / Thou kind of Western star, / That we have come to be / Precisely what we are. / But every now and then, / It cannot be denied, / You breed a kind of men / Who are not dignified
The clean songTrad.en1900s?There once was a farmer who sat on a rick / A ranting and raving and waving his / Fist at some people who sat on his walls etc. etc.
Paternal. Tornant del Liceu en la nit del 7 de novembre de 1893Joan Maragall / The Singing Organ-Grinderca en1893I've done this a few times in Catalan and English but don't really know where to take it next.
Epitaph for James Bosworth, who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade and died, aged 70, a stationmaster at Northam, SouthamptonBen Trovatoen1882His name was actually John Hacker/Hucker Bosworth and his service overseas in the 1850s doesn't seem to include Balaclava, but still a splendid thing: Though shot and shell flew around fast, / On Balaclava’s plain, / Unscathed he passed, to fall at last, / Run over by a train.
The best of Tristan und IsoldeWagner / The Singing Organ-Grinder1880Wagner was a big country and western fan.
The cummerbund: an Indian poemEdward Learen1874
Manantiales de nitroglicerina (Nitroglycerin springs)Anónes1873Anarchist song: Nivelacion social!... Rota la valla / No más habrá, no más ladrones; / Partirémos sus bienes, sus millones / Cuando llegue su hora á la canalla.
The owl and the pussy-catEdward Lear / Mátyás Seiberen1871Can be performed with a projection of the 1952 Halas and Batchelor cartoon short for which Seiber's music was written
Cantata nacionalJosep Anselm Clavées1864In his collection, Flores de Estío, the Catalan master utters Hispanophile sentiments which many prefer to forget: ¡Gloria á ESPAÑA! dó en paz hoy florecen / Con las ciencias, la industria y las artes; / Dó el progreso derrumba baluartes / Que en talleres se ven transformar.
Land of my fathersEvan James / James James / Private Eyeen cy1856Phonetic transliteration of the Welsh: My hen laid a haddock on top of a tree / Glad farts and centurions throw dogs in the sea.
Coplas novas y divertidas las cuals esplican los mals ratos que solen donar las pusas los polls y las chinchas com nu veurà lo que no sirà siegoRamon Barrull (Lérida / Lleida, C19th, printed by Coromines) / The Singing Organ-Grinderca1850Broadside ballad about vermin: Las chinchas es cosa bruta, / Conforme hos he dit; / Perque se solen posar, / A los pots y banchs dels llits.
LimericksRanjit Bolt, Edward Lear et alen1846-2014High-class doggerel.
Little Billee aka Little Boy BillyWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Bob Robertsen1845Cannibal shanty based on Thackeray's parody of La Courte Paille / Il était un petit navire (C16th?). There are also Catalan and Italian versions, but the best are the Portuguese Nau Catarineta, sung ceremonially in parts of Brazil, and the Dutch Ketelbinkie. I believe the latter is also based on Thackeray. The best-known English melody is that of Bob Roberts and has much in common with that in Harold Scott's English Song Book (1925). Ralph Steadman did a nice piratey version.
Parody of Heavenly UnionAnonen1845Parody of Come, Saints and Sinners, Hear Me Tell, a hymn popular in the South, from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845, the Anti-Slavery Office)
The teetotallersRev. John Mason Nealeen1843Neale was a CoE conformist activist and scourge of dissenters
The loving ballad of Lord BatemanWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Charles Dickensen1839Parody of a popular ballad.
Ode to Joy / An die FreudeSchiller / Beethovende en1824The recording is of a version for Alan Pell Mini 20. Rowan Atkinson did it all rather differently. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
El lobo devoradorTrad.es1800A ravenous wolf in 19th century Spain. I don't think it's a metaphor for George Borrow: Es posible, justo cielo / que permita tu bondad / que contra el hombre se ensañe / una fiera sin piedad?
El cura enfermoAnones1800Priestly love, Cadiz style: Estando un curita malito en la cama, / a la media noche llamó a la criada. / -¿Qué tiene el curita, tan deprisa llama? / -Quiero chocolate, lo quiero en la cama.
Los ayres fijos: poema didáctico en seis cantosJosé Viera y Clavijoes1784Ode to a hot-air balloon: Moradores de Nesle ¿Que es aquello / Que veis venir rasgando el Horizonte? / No es la ascencion de Ganimedes bello, / Ni el precipicio del audaz Faetonte, / Del Iris matizado no es destello, / Ni el Pegaso que dexa el doble monte; / Es la Nave Aërostática velera / De Argonautas que surcan la atmosféra.
La locura más discreta que se dice executó la villa de Níjar del obispado de Almería, el día trece de septiembre de este presente año de 1759Diego Ventura Rejón y Lucases1759Vía Ortega y Gasset, a tale of popular madness: Con aquestos desbaratos / toda casa esta assolada, / no dejando tales tratos, / cazos, sillas, platos, nada, / ni aun la nada entre dos platos.
Here, here, here is pig and porken1680sIrish anti-Catholic song: Giving an Account of a Father Wifely, the Popish Bishop of Kildare in Ireland, and a Shop-keeper's Wife in High-street, Dublin.
To a lady that desired me I would beare my part (sic)Richard Lovelace / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1649First use of 'serenade' in English: What, though 'tis said I have a voice; / I know 'tis but that hollow noise / Which (as it through my pipe doth speed) / Bitterns do carol through a reed.
Upon Yorkshire aleMathew Stevenson / Singing Organ-Grinderen1645Pox take your Yorkshire Ale, / It did so firk my tail / That I had like beshit me [...] And know'st thy wily wort, / Is wont to make us squort / Over a thousand hedges
Dialogue Between a Glutton and an EchoAnonen1634Echo verse with audience participation. Lead: My belly I do defy. Echo: Fie!
When that I was and a little tiny boy (Hey, ho, the wind and the rain)William Shakespeare / John Harle1601Feste the Fool's closing song from Twelth Night. Version of Elvis Costello's version of the traditional version sung by Alfred Deller.
Dale si le das, mozuela de TerrassaAnon / Cancionero de Barbieries1600Early modern joke song, where the expected obscenity always turns into something inoffensive: Una mozuela de Logroño / Mostrado me habia su co.......po de lana negro que hilaba. Con una larga etcétera.
Villançico contrahaziendo a los mocaros que sienpre van ynportunando a los peregrinos con demandasJuan del Encinalf1520ishA beggars' song: the poet was in the Holy Land in ±1520 and tried to reproduce the lingua franca of the hordes of fake amputees and saints who plagued poor pilgrims there and at home: 'Benda ti istran plegrin: / benda, marqueta, maidin. / Benda, benda stringa da da / agugeta colorada. / Dali moro namorada / y ala ti da bon matin.'
CowtownThey Might be Giantsen
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Sabre danceAram Khachaturian / Andrews SistersenPure Orientalism: Drums are booming, cellos zooming, / Cymbals crashing, sabres flashing in a willy nilly sort of way,.
The worm song (nobody likes me)en
My uncle's Sunday SchoolenLighthearted Bible education. My mum used to sing the verse about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (The Lord provides his children with an asbestos shirt). Chorus: Old folks, young folks, everbody come,/Join my uncle's Sunday School & make yourselves at home:/ Bring your sticks of chewing gum and sit upon the floor,/And we'll tell you bible stories that you never heard before
Video, possibly from another time or person:
La fiera malvada de JerusalénTrad.esBallad about mythical monsters: Dos cuernos en la cabeza / también alas que volaba / vestida como una tortuga / no la hería ninguna bala.
Pican los mosquitosEl payo Juan ManuelesMe duelen los hue...sos

Update: 2023/03/06


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