Please note:

  • All these street organ arrangements are home-made. Contact me if you want a custom arrangement for your own street organ, musical box, barrel piano, or whatever.
  • The MP3s below use Virtual Studio Technology: this is NOT the real sound (my organ has multiple registers and percussion, and sounds ... real), and someone needs to sing!
  • Lyrics or translations can be displayed live on a screen, karaoke-style.
Sleeping BeautyGeorge Szirtesen2016A telling fragment from one of my favourite contemporary poets.
Pablow the blowfishMiley Cyrusen2015Almost as good as Fluffy.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Déu, vull ser artista, al meu cor / God, I want to be an artist, in my heartThe Singing Organ-Grinderca en2014Hi ha més estrofes, cada menys políticament correcta / Each 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.
Croquetón / Sausage ManThe Singing Organ-Grinderes en2013Incidental music written for a children's story by Eva Muñoz about what happens when your food comes fast and in Godzilla-sized portions. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
Lady JavaOracle / Lady Gagaen2010
Cats on MarsThe Seatbeltsen1998Quasi-Japanese shit for your miniskirt moods.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
My pervert doppelgangerMomusen1997Best song to mention Smithfield market, 'where refrigerated lorries unload dead cows.'
Miss van Houten's Coffee ShoppeMartin Newellen1995Great number from the wild man of Wivenhoe's Off White Album.
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'.
Appellation contrôléeFay Lovskyen1992Chanson pseudo-française: nostalgia for bad French wine.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
George is my horseFay Lovskyen1992George says he don't like these cars / These stone trails, where's the grass? Fay was last seen playing singing saw with Robert Crumb.
Een jongen krijgt een meisjesbrief / A boy receives a girlish noteWillem Wilmink / Harry Banninknl en1990Simple verse structure suitable for imitative improvisation. A sentimental cult has grown up around Wilmink, but he did some very good stuff.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
EmigrantenWillem Wilmink / Harry Banninknl en1990Veel emigranten over zee / nemen al hun gewoontes mee / naar de overkant.
I can get along without youChas and Daveen1989Great ballad from the kings of London pub rock
Fungus the BogeymanThe Singing Organ-Grinderen1985Inspired in some fashion by Raymond Briggs' graphic novel.
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:
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 wondering nowThe Specialsen1979Break/termination marker.
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.
Hit me with your rhythm stickIan Duryen1978Tropical stylee.
You're the reason our kids are uglyLorretta Lynn, Conway Twittyen1978
Synonyms / ShumbaThomas Mapfumo / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1975Flagrant misuse of chiShona material by Zimbabwe's most interesting singer.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Brave Sir RobinMonty Pythonen1975Packing it in and packing it up / And sneaking away and buggering off / And chickening out and pissing off home / Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge. See also John Grubb, St. George for England.
Inland WaterwayJohn Betjeman / Ben Sawyeren1974On the opening of the Upper Avon Navigation by the Queen Mum in 1974, part of the irresistible rise of the Inland Waterways Association: The lock you have reopened will set free / The heart of England to the open sea.
Veerpont / The Floating BridgeDrs. P (Heinz Polzer) / The Singing Organ-Grindernl en1973The proprietor of a floating bridge over the River Lea at the Anchor & Hope philosophises, in my translation, regarding the good times and the bad: We stand here on the banks of a river swift and hot / The other shore is over there and this one here is not.
Willow's Song, aka The Wicker Man SongPaul Giovanni / Rachel Verneyen1973
Magic eggBarrow Poetsen1972Found on a 60s LP. The video is of another piece. Gerard Benson was one of the figures behind London's Poems on the Underground. Long, long ago before time had begun, the moon lost a pebble and away through space it spun, in the world far below only water could be seen, it sank down to the bottom and it lay there like a dream.
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.
Postman Pat / Pat el Cartero / Postmann PatBryan Daly / Ken Barrieno en1970In English or Norwegian. Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
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.
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.
JunkPaul McCartneyen1970
Ernie (the fastest milkman in the West)Benny Hillen1970
Love me tenderElvis Presleyen1970
De Soldatenmoeder / The Soldiers' MotherZangeres Zonder Naam / Singing Organ-Grindernl en1969A Dutch neo-broadside ballad about the Vietnam War in my translation. Probably unintentionally, its theme is similar to Brecht's Mother Courage, but the treatment is more startling and profound.
River manNick Drakeen1969
Lily the pinken1968See also the Ballad of Lydia Pinkham
Good morning, how are you?' 'Shut up!'Ivor Cutleren1967Don't give me the small talk, give me the big talk. Cutler's songs are both for and about children. Virtual excerpt:
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.
The bare necessities (The Jungle Book)Terry Gilkysonen1967
I wanna be like you (The Jungle Book)Sherman Brothers / Louis Primaen1967
Goldilocks and the three bearsAfferbeck Lauderen1965In English, but also in Australian or Strine: Girldie Larks, Girldie Larks, where have you been? / I beat up London and vented my spleen, / And then I cummome menai harrased the Behrs; / I yay tarp their porridge and bro karp their chairs. / I savaged the beds and I tordan the fences. / And frightened a little mouse out of its senses.
One-note samba (demo version)en1965Used in how-the-organ-works talks.
The slow trainFlanders & Swannen1964A nostalgic look at the Beeching cuts.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Amsterdam huilt / Amsterdam weepsKees Manders / Zwarte Riek / Singing Organ-Grinderen nl1964Extraordinary Dutch khazan-style lament about the genocide of Amsterdam's Jewry. Evocative not only of the pre-nationalist-socialist ghetto, but also of a world still subconsciously recalled by Dutch wedding and light musicians. My translation.
Doctor KitchLord Kitcheneren1963A girl asks a doctor for an injection, but his needle's very big and she moves a lot, and the penicillin ends up in the wrong hole.
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.)
Rhythm of the rain / Ritme van de regenThe Cascades / Rob de Nijsnl en1962Also on the soundtrack of Quadrophenia.
Little boxes ('Ticky tacky')Malvina Reynoldsen1962We all look just the same.
CrazyPatsy Clineen1960För Sveriges största gitarrist, Tom Coskeran. Done as a waltz
As long as he needs meLionel Barten1960Great torch song from Oliver.
Brazil / Aquarela do BrasilAry Barroso / Jimmy Dorsey / Xavier Cugaten1960Samba: Where hearts were entertaining June / We stood beneath an amber moon
StrangePatsy Clineen1960Strange how you stopped loving me ... when she came along.
Ballad of Sigmund FreudChad Mitchell Trioen1960Well, Doctor Freud, oh Doctor Freud / How we wish you had been differently employed / But the set of circumstances / Still enhances the finances / of the followers of Doctor Sigmund Freud
Puff, the magic dragon (Puff, el drac màgic)Leonard Lipton / Peter Yarrow / Peter, Paul and Maryen ca1960
Manhã de carnavalLuiz Bonfá / Antônio Maria / Perry Comoen1959Bossa nova recounting significant parts of my life: I'll sing to the sun in the sky, / I'll sing till the sun rises high.
On the Ning Nang NongSpike Milliganen1959Where the cows go Bong!
What a difference a day makesDinah Washingtonen1959
Poisoning pigeons in the parkTom Lehreren1959
Inflation calypsoET Mensahen1958?Pidgin English highlife from post-independence Ghana, now with extra verse about deflation. Useful for introducing basic economics to small beings.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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.
The super supper marchDr. Seuss / Dean Elliotten1957 / 1971Hungry, hungry, I am hungry / Table, table, here I come. Virtual excerpt:
The hippopotamus songFlanders & Swannen1957Mud, mud, glorious mud, / Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
Till there was youMeredith Willson / Beatles / Peggy Leeen1957Sophie Tucker never sang it.
Tulpen uit Amsterdam / Tulips from AmsterdamRalf Arnie / Van Aleda / Max Bygravesnl en1956Typically Dutch: a German waltz about Turkish flowers. Virtual excerpt:
The country's in the very best of handsGene De Paul / Johnny Mercer / Al Cappen1956From the 1956 Broadway show, Li'l Abner: The Treasury says the national debt is climbing to the sky / And govermnent expenditures have never been so high. / It makes a feller get a gleam of pride within his eye, / To see how our economy expands, / The country’s in the very best of hands…
Tea sambaET Mensahen1956Ghanaian tea ad from the 50s.
Sunday MirrorET Mensahen1956Highlife ad for a 1950s Ghanaian newspaper.
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.
Nellie the elephantRalph Butler / Peter Harten1956Donald has asked me to revive this classic: Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk / And said goodbye to the circus / Off she went with a trumpety-trump / Trump, trump, trump.
Che sarà, sarà / Qué será, será / Whatever will be, will beDoris Day / José Feliciano / Pink Martini / The Jukebox Sisters / Dave Cashen es it nl yi1956Waltz
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.
La Complainte de la ButteJean Renoir / Georges van Parys / Cora Vaucaire / Zaz / Rufus Wainwrightfr en1955
El baile de los pajaritos / The birdie song / De vogeltjesdansEl payo Juan Manuel / Werner Thomas / Johnny Hoeses nl en1955
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.
I know an old lady who swallowed a flyBurl Ivesen1953I think she'll die.
The Irish balladTom Lehreren1953Parody that says it all: About a maid I'll sing a song, / Sing rickety-tickety-tin, / About a maid I'll sing a song / Who didn't have her family long. / Not only did she do them wrong, / She did ev'ryone of them in, them in, / She did ev'ryone of them in.
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.
The old dope pedlarTom Lehreren1953When happiness is a powder, from the well-known Harvard mathematician.
Frosty the defrosted snowmanLonzo and Oscaren1953
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
BananasMachitoen nl ca1950The mambo king indulges in a bit of self-parody. Available in English, Catalan or Dutch.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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:
Don't laugh at me, cause I'm a foolNorman Wisdomen1950A hit by a minor British star dearly loved by Albanians during the dictatorship.
Joe Louis was a fighting manThe Dixieairesen1950Another boxing number.
South of the borderGene Autry / Patsy Clineen1950Bolero
Victory Test MatchLord Beginneren1950Cricket, lovely cricket, at Lord's where I saw it
Take you meat out me riceLord Kitcheneren1950
Smoke, smoke that cigaretteen1950
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.
Enjoy yourself (it's later than you think)Guy Lombardo / Prince Buster / Specialsen1949Because when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn't kiss you back.
Capri-Fischer / Fishermen of Capri (Bella, bella Marie)Rudi Schuricke / Gerhard Winkler / Ralph Maria Siegelde en1949Wenn bei Capri die rote Sonne im Meer versinkt: Lola sings this tango in Fassbinder's Wirtschaftswunderbar, but the version by Gracie Fields is also rather special.
London is the place for meLord Kitcheneren1948Sung by Lord Kitchener as he came off the Windrush at Tilbury Docks on June 21, 1948
Video, possibly from another time or person:
The blue DanubeSpike Jonesen1945It's green.
Karussell (Wir reiten auf hölzernen Pferden) / Carousel (We ride on wooden horses)Leo Straus / Martin Romande en1944Translation of a song from the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. When you get off, will you be able to stand up? Quotes the Wiener Praterleben waltz by fellow-inmate of Death's waiting-room, Siegfried Translateur.
Stalin wasn't stallin'Golden Gate Jubilee Quarteten1943An American gospel quartet lauds Uncle Joe's revenge on his old friend Hitler.
Rose, Rose, I love you / Shanghai Rose / May Kway / 玫瑰玫瑰我愛你Chen Gexin / Yao Lee / Wilfrid Thomas / Frankie Laineen1940Mandarin pop classic. Allegedly the only major popular music chart hit in the United States written by a Chinese composer.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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:
Begin the beguineCole Porter / Les Paulen1940Beguine
Jolly BankerWoody Guthrie / Wilcoen1940My name is Tom Cranker and I'm a jolly banker, / I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I. / I safeguard the farmers and widows and orphans, / Singin' I'm a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.
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!
In the big rock candy mountainsHarry Kirby McClintocken1940Utopia vagorum.
It's raining, it's pouringTrad.en1939?
You are my sunshineJimmie Davis / Charles Mitchell / Pine Ridge Boysen1939Foxtrot
Lydia, the Tattooed LadyYip Harburg / Harold Arlen / Groucho Marx / The Muppetsen1939From At the Circus. Appears as Todd's new ringtone in Breaking Bad.
The Workman's FriendFlann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan) / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1939Porter meets the Plain People, from At Swim-Two-Birds
With her head tucked underneath her armRudy Valleeen1937Comic Anne Boleyn ghost song
Leaning on a lamp-postGeorge Formbyen1937Surprisingly well-known on 21st century London streets.
When I'm cleaning windowsGeorge Formbyen1936From the film, Keep Your Seats, Please
Cool waterBob Nolan / Hank Williams / Sons of the Pioneersen1936Gloss on Psalms 42:1: I and my mule, Dan, are crossing the desert when we see a mirage: Can you see that big green tree / Where the water's running free / And it's waiting there for you and me?
Video, possibly from another time or person:
The Spring (Arrangements) BillA.P. Herbert / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1936Universal basic income, old style: If any person feels he must get out of London now or bust, because the Spring is in his bones, but he must work for Mr. Jones, it shall be lawful for the same to give the Treasury his name, and say 'Upon sufficient grounds I want about a hundred pounds': and there shall not be any fuss concerning sums expended thus.
The tale of Custard the dragonOgden Nashen1936Very childish: the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard
Pennies from heavenArthur Johnston / Johnny Burke / Bing Crosbyen1936You'll find your fortune falling all over the town / Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.
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.
Old Dan TuckerCackle Sistersen1935Song about a simple man, with cackle chorus. Why? Because that's how the sisters sang.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
RosettaGeorge Handy / Bob Willsen1935Western swing
Nobody loves a fairy when she's 40Arthur Le Clerq / Tessie O'Sheaen1935
Your feet's too bigAda Benson / Fred Fisher / The Ink Spotsen1935
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!
Isle of Capri / C'est à CapriWill Grosz / Jimmy Kennedy / Lew Stoneen nl fr1934Sometimes with lyrics featuring the River Lea / Lee in East London: Twas on the banks of the Lea that I met her / Under the shade of an old apple tree / Now I can still hear the sirens around me / As I lie bleeding in A and E.
Love is the sweetest thingAl Bowlly / Ray Nobleen1932
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sunNoël Cowarden1931A masterpiece of rhythm and rhyme dealing with the importance of adjusting one's dress to circumstances: The toughest Burmese bandit can never understand it. / In Rangoon the heat of noon is just what the natives shun. / They put their scotch or rye down, and lie down.
Oh zwarte zigeuner / Oh, play to me gypsy (Cikánka)Harry de Groot / Karel Vacek / Melody Boys / Willy Derby / Willy Alberti / Johnny Jordaan / Gracie Fieldsnl en1931Slow foxtrot.
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:
Chinatown, my ChinatownJean Schwartzen1930Jackie Chan edition. Virtual excerpt:
Organ grinder's swingJimmie Lunceforden1930Slow foxtrot
Howling Cowman BluesWolfmanen1930The Organ-Grinder is better at cows than wolves.
It's only a paper moonHarold Arlenen1930
Canto SiboneyErnesto Lecuonaen es1929Nino Rota's use of this in multiple guises dominates the soundtrack of Fellini's Amarcord.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
TarantellaHilaire Bellocen1929Belloc met Miranda Mackintosh at an inn in the Pyrenean hamlet of Canranc on the River Aragon in 1909.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Breakaway (Fox Movietone Follies of 1929)Jack Hyltonen1929Foxtrot. It's got the snappiest syncopation.
A tale of the tickerFrank Crumiten1929I bought an elevator stock, / And thought that I'd done well. / Then the little bears all ran downstairs, / And rang the basement bell.
Cabaret boysDouglas Byng / Lance Listeren1928Camp classic from the Pansy Craze, with numerous double entendres
Mackie Messer / Mack the KnifeBertolt Brecht / Kurt Weillde en1928Originally intended for performance with barrel organ.
I can't give you anything but loveMcHugh-Fieldsen1928
Barnacle Bill the sailor Hoagy Carmichael / Bix Beiderbecke / Tex Morton / Betty Boopen1927It's only me from over the sea / I'm all dressed up like a Christmas tree. With interludes featuring Benny Hill alla turca and the Beautiful Blue Danube (it's brown). Virtual excerpt:

Video, possibly from another time or person:
The lonesome roadNathaniel Shilkret / Gene Austin / Joan Baezen1927
Don't have any more, Mrs MooreLily Morrisen1926?Too many double gins / Give the ladies double chins
Lavender cowboyHarold Hersey / Burl Ivesen1923A gayboy & western classic: He died with his six guns a-smoking / But only two hairs on his chest.
The Barking Policeman (parody of The Laughing Policeman)George W. Johnson / Charles Penrose / Richard Littlejohnen1922Tribute to PC Steve Hutton of Swindon, who devised an interesting way of mitigating police cuts.
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.
Sheik of ArabySmith-Wheeler-Snyder / Mr. Goon-Bones / Ted Baxteren1921I'm the Sheikh of Araby, this sand belongs to me. Foxtrot
Jingle bells / Campanelle, campanelle, belle belleen it1920Anglo-Italian version based on Lou Monte. Virtual excerpt:
On the sunny side of the streeten1920Foxtrot
Five foot two, eyes of blueHendersonen1920Foxtrot
I'm living alone and I like itSophie Tuckeren1920
Silent nightTrad.en1920See also Carloons.
Don Pasquito at the seaside (Façade)Edith Sitwell / William Waltonen1920
My old man said follow the vanMarie Lloyd / Lily Morrisen1919For Josep Viladot, great Londoner, exiled in Gracia, Barcelona.
K-K-K-KatyGeoffrey O'Haraen1918
My old tunesEdward Elgaren1915From Elgar's incidental music for The Starlight Express, a children's play by Violet Pearn based on the imaginative novel A Prisoner in Fairyland by Algernon Blackwood: My old tunes are rather broken / And they come from far away, / Bring just a little token / Of a long-forgotten day.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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:
Ballad of Lydia Pinkhamen1914?
Sports et divertissementsErik Satieen1914A selection, in English.
Le pont MirabeauGuillaume Apollinaire / Léo Ferréfr en1912
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 teddy bear's picnicJohn Brattonen1907Don't go into the woods.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Frankie and Johnny were loversFrank Crumit / Hughie Cannonen1904She done him wrong.
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.
She moved through the fairTrad. / Alan Stivellen1900sOne of the most beautiful songs around. Stivell's version famously floated the melody over the accompaniment.
Incy wincy spiderTrad.en1900?
O sole mioGiovanni Capurro / Eduardo di Capuait en nl1898
The Organ-Grinder's SerenadeCharles K. Harrisen1897He plays for a small girl in life and death: She's going to die. Please sir, don't cry. / Play her your serenade.
Happy birthday to youen es ca1893I believe I can sing this now without being sued by copyright lawyers.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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.
Daisy bellHarry Dacreen1892Love on a tandem: But you'd look sweet / Upon the seat / Of a bicycle built for two.
Tha-ma-ra-boum-di-he / Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ayMama Lou / Lottie Collins / Polaireen fr1891
She'll be coming round the mountainTrad.en1890s
Two lovely black eyes / Twee ogen zo blauwCharles Coborn / Willy Derbyen nl1886I learnt the Dutch lyrics first, but my Dad croons this Gladstonian warning by an East End comedian of the dangers of politics: Two lovely black eyes! / Oh! what a surprise! / Only for telling a man he was wrong, / Two lovely black eyes!
Zwei blaue Augen / Twee blauwe ogen / The two blue eyes of my sweetheart (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)Gustav Mahler / Dutch translation: Jan Rot / English: T.E. Clarkde nl en1885Auf der Strasse stand ein Lindenbaum, Da hab' ich zum ersten Mal im Schlaf geruht!
Away in a mangerTrad.en1884
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.
Th' owd knocker-iupHenry Yates ('Tansy Tuft')en1880s?Lancashire dialect song by a cotton worker and amateur poet from Blackburn
Erev-Yonkiper nokhn halbn tog / 'Twas on the eve of Yom KippurAnonen yi1880Yiddish ballad of forbidden love between a Goy & a Yid, Singing Organ-Grinder's translation: 'And now is come the time of love: / Say unto me but yea or nay.' / 'Lov'st thou me yea, or lov'st me nay, / We must now part, my parents say.' Whereupon he shoots her.
The cummerbund: an Indian poemEdward Learen1874
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
O little town of BethlehemPhillips Brooks / Henry Garman / Ralph Vaughan Williamsen1868 (lyrics)See also Carloons.
The clown in the pantomimeWilliam Lingarden1868The last that I heard / Of her and her Joey the clown, / They played in the streets / And trudged it from town into town ... If you for amusements wish, / Take advice from me in time, / You should take your girl to a music-hall, / Not to a pantomime.
The Organ GrinderArthur Lloyd / G.W. Hunten1865Some guy's girlfriend, a banjoist, eloped with one. References Babbage and Bass's campaign against organ grinders.
We three kings of Orient areJohn Henry Hopkins, Jr.en1857See also Carloons.
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.
Row, row, row your boatTrad.en1852
When Birmingham is a seaport townAndy Casserley / Trad.en1851?Set to a lively tune.
Ostavaysya, brat Vanyukha / Stay well put, oh brother JohnnyRussian folkru en1850ishIn the repertoire of Grigorovich's Petersburg Organ-Grinders
Dance to your daddy (when the boat comes in)Trad.en1850?Games and dances
Video, possibly from another time or person:
Once In Royal David’s CityCecil Frances Alexander / Henry John Gauntletten1848
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
Here we go round the mulberry bushTrad.en1840sGames and dances
The loving ballad of Lord BatemanWilliam Makepeace Thackeray / Charles Dickensen1839Parody of a popular ballad.
Grace Darling, a balladGeorge Lindleyen1838A great Victorian ballad for a great Victorian heroine: The danger past, her heart beats lightly, / Her silent transport no pride betrays, / Tho' grateful tears are round her falling, / And hearts are throbbing to her praise.
I saw three shipsTrad.en1833
Mary had a little lambSarah Josepha Hale / Lowell Mason / Afferbeck Lauderen1830 / 1965In 19th century English and then in 20th century Strine: So Mary Header little lamb / With vedgies and mint sauce. / 'Oh dearest lamb,' she cried, 'I am / As hungry as a horse.'
I love little pussyTrad.en1830Cats and mice
Cease, ye noisy Minstrels, ceaseAnonen1826Splendidly awful poem about street performers.
Ode to Joy / An die FreudeSchiller / Beethoven / Rowan Atkinsonde en1824Bremain would have won if they'd featured this in their ads. Perhaps.
Aiken DrumTrad.en1820Riddles and nonsense.
The Famous Battle of WaterlooAnon.en1815Ballad lament
The patriot's hymnSamuel Bamforden1815Parody on God Save the King in response to Waterloo
The holly and the ivyTrad.en1810?
Twinkle, twinkle, little star Trad.en1806 (melody 1761)Lullabies
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?Trad.en1805Cats and mice
Marmotte (Das Jahrmarktsfest zu Plundersweilern / Op. 53 no. 7)Goethe / Beethovende en1805Parody of a Savoyard organ grinder and his marmot at a fair: It's many a land I've travelled through, / Avecque la marmotte, / And I always found some thing to chew, / Avecque la marmotte.
Polly put the kettle onTrad.en1803See also O du lieber Augustin.
The Barrel-OrganCharles Dibdinen1802Parody of a London German organ-grinder, who intersperses his song with other Dibdin songs: De midshipman wid de pretty girl, / He say for a tune are you willing; / So I pull out de stop and I grind and I twirl, / And all to get an odd chilling.
Hot cross bunsTrad.en1798Food
Diddle diddle dumplingTrad.en1797Lullabies
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall Trad.en1797Riddles and nonsense. Some busts are for ever.
Tom, Tom, the piper's sonTrad.en1795
The birdcatcher's song (Magic Flute)Mozarten1791
Ring a ring o' rosesTrad.en1790sGames and dances
Herr BacchusAnonde en1789?Comparisons with Apollo in a drinking song!
Rock-a-bye babyTrad.en1765Lullabies
Hey diddle diddleTrad.en1765Riddles and nonsense.
O come, all ye faithfulFrederick Oakeley / John Francis Wadeen1751 (tune) / 1841 (English lyrics)
London Bridge is falling downTrad.en1750ish (lyrics) / 1879 (tune)
Oranges and lemonsTrad.en1744?Games and dances
Mary, Mary, quite contraryen1744 (lyrics)
Hickory dickory dockTrad.en1744Cats and mice
Who killed Cock Robin?Trad.en1744One of the greatest murder songs in English: Who killed Cock Robin? / I, said the Sparrow, / with my bow and arrow, / I killed Cock Robin.
Sing a song of sixpence Trad.en1744
Chanson nouvelle sur les cris de Paris / New song on the cries of ParisAnonfr en1738Translated excerpt, featuring organ-grinders and their marmots.
Baa, baa, black sheepTrad.en1731
Little Jack HornerTrad.en1725Food
The dragon of WantleyTrad.en1700?To see this fight, all people then / Got up on trees and houses, / On churches some, and chimneys too, / But these put on their trowses.
Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker's manTrad.en1698Food
Noë per tsanta à la Grand Messa / Noel to be sung at the Great MassTrad.oc en1690?Savoyard carol in Provençal from Bessans in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, early focus of organ-grinders and other ambulants. Features angels singing like organs and marmottes. Abridged translation into English.
St. George for EnglandJohn Grubben1688The story of King Arthur old / Is very memorable, / The number of his valiant knights, / And roundness of his table
Sussex Carol / On Christmas night all Christians singLuke Wadding / Ralph Vaughan Williams / David Willcocksen1684
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.
Barbara AllenJoan Baez / Jim Morayen1660s?Great song: Young man, I think you're dying.
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.
The World Turned Upside Down (melody: When the King Enjoys His Own Again)Anon / Martin Parkeren1646A protest from the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts against Parliament's proscription of Christmas traditions. Not to be confused with the Leon Rosselson song made famous by Billy Bragg.
Dialogue Between a Glutton and an EchoAnonen1634Echo verse with audience participation. Lead: My belly I do defy. Echo: Fie!
A Dogge of WarreJohn Tayloren1628In doggrell Rimes my Lines are writ, / As for a Dogge I thought it fit.
O Jesulein süss! O Jesulein mild!Georg Christian Schemellide en1620O little one sweet, O little one mild, thy Father's purpose thou hast fulfilled.
O Tannenbaum / Oh Christmas treeErnst Anschütz / Melchior Franckde en1615On request I will also sing the mildly smutty Low Saxon version.
A roaring boy's descriptionSamuel Rowlandsen1612London hooligans, from 'A Paire of Spy-Knaves'
The three ravensTrad.en1611A dead knight's hawks, hounds and girlfriend deny them dinner
Three blind miceTrad.en1609 / 1805Both the original and the modern versions are available
Sweetest love, I do not goeJohn Donne / Ralph Steadman / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1600?It cannot be / That thou lov'st me, as thou say'st, / If in thine my life thou waste, / That art the best of me.
Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen / Lo, how a rose e'er bloomingMichael Praetoriusde en1599My favourite Marian hymn.
The willow songTrad.en1590s?Desdemona sings it and then her beloved Othello murders her
Good King Wenceslas / Tempus adest floridumJohn Mason Nealeen la1582 (melody) / 1853 (English lyrics)Bohemian fantasy.
Ding dong bell, pussy's in the wellTrad.en1580Cats and mice
Old 100th / All people that on earth do dwell / Herr Gott, dich loben alle wirLoys Bourgeois / William Ketheen de1561Available in full version and in mid-C19th small organ pastiche.
A frog he would a wooing go Trad.en1548Fate
The hunt is upWilliam Grayen1540?16th century Brexit metaphor? The hunt is up, the hunt is up, / And it is well nigh day; / And Harry our king is gone hunting, / To bring his deer to bay.
Coventry CarolRobert Crooen1534 (lyrics) 1591 (tune)Herod is slaughtering the Innocents: Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, / And ever mourn and say; / For Thy parting, nor say nor sing, / By, by, lully, lullay.
A the syghes that cum from my hartAnon.en1500?Farewell, my joy, and welcome pain
Es ist ein Schnee gefallenAnonen de1467Wonderful translation by J.K. Annand: It's snawin cats and dugs, / Winter's owre early, / Hailstanes blatter my lugs 7 The road is smoorit fairly.
Der Kampf des Roraffen mit dem HanenAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderde en1450?Translated excerpt from a Low German saga in which a puritanical rooster-man drives a fun-loving monkey-man out of Strasbourg Cathedral.
For hageseAnon / The Singing Organ-Grinderen1430Rhymed medieval haggis recipe: Þe hert of schepe, þe nere71 þou take, / Þo bowel no3t þou shalle forsake.
The cherry tree carolTrad.en1400sBased on the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and probably basically C15th: When Joseph was an old man, / An old man was he, / He married Virgin Mary, / The Queen of Galilee.
In dulci jubiloHeinrich Seuse / Robert Pearsallen de la1328I do both the German-Latin original and the popular Pearsall Anglicisation
Sumer is icumen inAnon. / Ezra Pound / Peter Firmin / Oliver Postgateen1250Round progressing from Wessex Middle English (The bullock stirs, the stag farts, / Merrily sing, Cuckoo!) via miseryguts' Ancient Music (Winter is icumen in, / Lhude sing Goddamm) to the Bagpuss mice (We will fix it).
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
The galaxy songMonty PythonenThis is the extent of my physics.
Video, possibly from another time or person:
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:
Bloody OrkneyTradenSubstitute any trochaic township.
Come on chapsTradenTeasing/bragging song: Blackpool is the place for me, / a fishing from the rock. / I never use my fishing line, / I always use my... / Dainty little fingers...
The first NowellenBorn is the King of Israel.
While shepherdsenWashed their socks by night.

Update: 2019/08/30