One of those pointless things that drives me to distraction is when people get song lyrics wrong. It’s not something I complain about aloud, of course. And indeed, I often sing songs and purposely change the lyrics, but this requires the skill of rhyme, meter, scansion, and knowing the right lyrics in the first place. Kelly, for instance, is a master of getting song lyrics wrong–well, not really knowing them in the first place. When it’s someone’s birthday and she’s compelled to sing, she’ll burst out with, “Happy smmm-smmmm to you!” (Indeed, I think the only song she knows that complete set of lyrics to is Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.”)
Fortunately, the Little Man has picked up singing from his Old Man. And, as I’ve written before, not just kids songs. He’ll sing any number of Bing Crosby songs, for instance, and has even started altering his voice slightly when he sings the Louis Armstrong parts on the duets. Now, he’s a little over 2-1/2 years of age and I can forgive him mistakes in lyrics that might annoy me if sung by one of my friends because he is still learning. But there is at least one song that he sings incorrectly that is quickly driving my into the grave. Out of nowhere, in a rising soprano, he sings:
…and Bingo was his name-o
Bee-Why-EnGeeOh, Bee-Why-EnGeeOh, Bee-Why-EnGeeOh
and Bingo was his name-o
No matter how many times I try to correct him and tell him that it’s B-I-N-G-O, the next time he sings the line, he has transposed the letter from vowel to consonant. This has the net effect of long nails on a chalkboard. My god, how many kids will hear him sing those lyrics and sing them wrong themselves? By the time the Little Man is a Big Man, kids might never have heard of a song called “B-I-N-G-O.” It will have been replaced by a completely different song, and a completely different dog, much to the farmer’s dismay.
We have a parent-teacher conference coming up this Friday, and I’m bracing myself for the worst:
“He really is a sweet, generous, intelligent and handsome boy,” they’ll tell us. “But.” (Was it a character in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire that said nothing matters except what comes after the “but”?) “But, he can’t seem to sing the proper lyrics to BINGO and it is having rather deleterious affect on the other children.”
To which I will respond, before I can stop myself, “Well, stop singing stupid songs about dogs named after geriatric gambling games and sing songs about fish instead. He’ll have no problem with either of the two parts in “Gone Fishin’.”
When my daughter was around the same age, she used to sing, “If you’re happy at your nose, clap your hands!”
Maybe we make kids sing too many silly songs. They can’t tell when something doesn’t make sense because most of the stuff we sing at them don’t make sense.