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Who was the first singer or band to use the "_____ verse, same as the first" gimmick?
February 9, 2012 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Who was the first singer or band to use the "_____ verse, same as the first" gimmick?

Any recordings that used this prior to "Henry the Eighth"? Surely, there must be some historical precedent for its use in music that goes back farther than that. Anyone know more about its origins?
posted by trivirgata to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The song itself dates back much further, but Noone claims authorship of the phrase in this interview, and all sources seem to back him up. It's just a brilliant ad lib that seems timeless at this point, I guess.
posted by mykescipark at 10:33 AM on February 9, 2012


Not songs but I can find a couple uses of the phrase in books and newspapers from the 1940s. They sound like they are quoting a well known phrase.

A snippet from a novel from 1948

Newspaper article from 1949
posted by interplanetjanet at 10:40 AM on February 9, 2012


The song was recorded in 1965 by Herman's Hermits (it was actually popularized in 1910 or so by Harry Champion, but that version, I think, does not have the "same as the first" verse)

The phrase definitely appears before that:

See, eg: the novel "something's got to give" from 1948: "Second verse, same as the first", or this folk song (The Cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn) cited here in 1962.
posted by ManInSuit at 10:40 AM on February 9, 2012


Here are the lyrics to The Cow Kicked Nelly:

Cow Kicked Nelly

Oh, the cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn
Oh, the cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn
Oh, the cow kicked Nelly in the belly in the barn
And the doctor said it would do no harm
Second verse, same as the first
A little bit louder and a little bit worse...
(repeat ad naseum)
tune: Turkey in the Straw
posted by ManInSuit at 10:45 AM on February 9, 2012


The answers above raise two questions that underlie my original post:

1. At what point did the phrase cross over from Vaudeville/music halls/literature to pop music as we understand it today; and

2. Is the phrase English or American in origin?
posted by trivirgata at 10:52 AM on February 9, 2012


This article apparently talks about the Cow Kicked Nelly "circular song" (I think, as with Henery, there may be an older, non-repeating version). I can't read it because I can't get into JSTOR. Maybe someone can help. Now I'm curious, too...
posted by ManInSuit at 11:06 AM on February 9, 2012


I can get into JSTOR. The article is a reminiscence of singing various circular songs as a child in 1940s Philadelphia. The lyrics given for "The Cow Kicked Nelly" are the same as above. It notes that it was sung to "turkey in the straw" and the "second verse same as the first" part was shouted. The song only had one verse and you would count up saying "third verse same as the first", "fourth verse same as the first" etc.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:22 AM on February 9, 2012


While I was at I searched JSTOR some more and here's another article about circular songs that mentions the phrase.

More Circular Tales
Wayland D. Hand
Western Folklore , Vol. 13, No. 2/3 (1954), pp. 130-134
Published by: Western States Folklore Society
Article Stable URL: http://0-www.jstor.org.libcat.widener.edu/stable/1520591

quotes this song

I love Lulu, I love Lulu, I love Lulu darling.
Second verse same as the first.
I love Lulu, I love Lulu, I love Lulu darling.
Third verse same as the first, etc.

The song was remembered by a woman who grew up in Los Angeles.

So maybe it's originally from children's songs.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:33 AM on February 9, 2012


Oh the URL for the article should be this: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1520591

I forgot to take the proxy info out.
posted by interplanetjanet at 11:35 AM on February 9, 2012


trivirgata, all the sources interplanetjanet cited are US sources. (Marion Hargrove, despite his more-frequently-a-lady-name, was a dude most famous for his comic novel about the Army, See Here, Private Hargrove!, which was made into a movie starring Robert Walker.)

At what point did the phrase cross over from Vaudeville/music halls/literature to pop music as we understand it today

Assumes facts not in evidence. I think you see it in Hargrove's comic novel and a beauty expert's column and in social anthropologists' documentation of children's playground songs and games because it originated in the playground songs and games, not in literature or on the stage.

If it were a well-established UK music halls thing, I think we'd be able to find a UK source earlier than Noone.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:59 AM on February 9, 2012


Although it is possible that it was used in the UK too. The sources I'm searching may be US-centric. Google news archive has some non-US papers but most of its sources are from the US.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:45 AM on February 10, 2012


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