Mar 21, 2017

Do Your Ears Hang Low? Do they wobble to and fro?

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Do they wobble to and fro?

Can you tie them in a knot?

Can you tie them in a bow?

Can you throw them over your shoulder?

Like a Continental Soldier.

Do your Ears Hang Low?

This was the song that we sang in Cub and Boy Scouts, with appropriate hand gestures. Always enjoyed it.

There are several stories about the origins of the song. The one from Wikapedia below: 

"Do Your Ears Hang Low?" (Roud 15472) is a children's song that is often sung in schools, at camps and at birthday parties. The melody of this song is usually a shorter version of "Turkey in the Straw", but it can also be sung to the "Sailor's Hornpipe".[1] Various theories exist concerning the origin of the lyrics, but no conclusive evidence seems to exist. A common belief is that the lyrics refer to the ears of a hound dog. It is most likely that this was a crude wartime soldiers' song that, in sanitized form, has made its way into other circles.


The origins of the song are obscure. Variant versions with obscene lyrics exist, notably "Do Your Balls Hang Low?"[2][3]and "Do Your Boobs Hang Low?". These have sometimes been regarded as parody versions of the campfire song,[4] but it is more likely that the obscene versions came first, and that "Do Your Ears Hang Low?" is a sanitized version.
Certainly "Do Your Balls Hang Low?" is known to have been sung by British soldiers on the Western Front during the First World War.[5] Lyn MacDonald reports that, on one occasion in 1916, General Douglas Haig heard the song being sung by a column of soldiers as they marched past on their way to the Somme. He immediately called for his horse and rode to the head of the column to remonstrate with the battalion commander, only to find the Colonel singing as heartily as his men. Haig congratulated him on his fine voice, but added: "I like the tune, but you must know that in any circumstances those words are inexcusable!"[6]


The following lyrics are from one particular variant of the song:
Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in a knot?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?
Can you throw 'em o'er your shoulder
Like a continental soldier
Do your ears hang low?

Do your ears stand high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they're dry?
Can you wave them at your neighbor
With an element of flavor?
Do your ears stand high?

Do your ears flip-flop?
Can you use them as a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip-flop?

Do your ears stick out?
Can you waggle them about?
Can you flap them up and down
As you fly around the town?
Can you shut them up for sure
When you hear an awful bore?
Do your ears stick out?

Do your ears give snacks?
Are they all filled up with wax?
Do you eat it in the morning
Do you eat it in the bath?
Do you eat it with a scone
Or do you eat it on its own?
Do your ears give snacks?
In the United Kingdom, a shorter version with differences in the lyrics is heard, commonly sung in Cubs and Brownies events:
Do your ears hang low?
Can you swing them to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you swing them over your shoulder like a regimental soldier
Do your ears hang low?
(With a humorous glissando at a perfect fourth down, and back up again on the final "low".)

Soldiers' version

The lyrics of the World War I version of "Do Your Balls Hang Low?" are recorded as:[5]
Do your balls hang low?
Do they dangle to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?

Do they itch when it's hot?
Do you rest them in a pot?

Do you get them in a tangle?
Do you catch them in a mangle?
Do they swing in stormy weather?
Do they tickle with a feather?

Do they rattle when you walk?
Do they jingle when you talk?

Can you sling them on your shoulder
Like a lousy fucking soldier?
Do your balls hang low?

Click to read the full article on Wikapedia


Another theory:

Just as "ring around the rosie" was a child's song that had its origins in the grisly history of the Black Death in England, so this song was about the Spanish influenza of 1918. Its deadly toll on soldiers demobbed after the first world war is well known, but less so the fact that they died in such numbers that in army hospitals they were only tagged on the ear with their serial number.

Army medics assigned to dispatching of the bodies hummed a funereal song to make their revolting work lighter as they stacked the ear-tagged bodies. In this song they pretend they are talking with the influenza victims and making fun of their ears. This is likely to have been an adaptive response on the orderlies part, as the bodies of those succumbed to influenza were often mightily bloated and many died with facial rictus.

The song likely began first at Army posts in the Delaware region, but was first written down in memoirs of Corporal Austin Cooper, who was later to serve as first head of the United States Army Infectious Disease Research Laboratories ( later USAMRID). The earliest known recording was in 1922- sheet music with slightly divergent lyrics from 1925 is in the Library of Congress.


The melody of that song is the first half of the melody from "Turkey in the straw", a song that was first published in 1834. According to the link below, THAT melody came from an older Irish song "The Old Rose Tree"

I have heard that melody used as the title for a french tv show for children called Patof (a clown). The words were:

Quand j'etais petit - When I was small
J'avais un petit nez - I had a small nose
Un jour, en tombant - One day, while falling
Je me suis tout congee - I got pretty banged up
Il deviendait rouge - It (the nose) became red
Et tros gros pour moi - And too big for me
C'a me faire rien, parce que - But I don't mind because
On m'aime bien comme ca - Everyone likes me like that

mb5_ca · 

My "ALL" knowing mother in law once told me that it was a civil war song, and the words are actually "Do your balls hang low, do they wabble to and fro".......It's a riot that they turned it into a kids song

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