How CAN there be a cherry that has no stone?
August 22, 2011 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Can you give me examples of riddle songs, or more information about riddle songs?

As a parent I find myself doing a lot of singing, and I want to expand my repertoire.

I love 'The Riddle Song' and Scarborough Fair.

I would like to learn more songs with impossible things and riddles.... can you tell me what your favorites are, preferably with videos so I can learn the tunes?
posted by bq to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there is The Riddle Song from the musical Flloyd Collins.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:26 PM on August 22, 2011

Just to clarify, are you looking for songs that really don't make sense and are never solved, or songs that have a problem to be solved but we get the answer at the end? For example, there's the Kingston's Trio's "To Morrow", sung here by the Muppets, with captions. The listener figures it out (usually) about halfway through.
posted by Melismata at 2:26 PM on August 22, 2011

Oh I discovered a [***] right before my eyes!
Phil Harris - The Thing (wiki)
posted by phunniemee at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, speaking of whom, how about I Never Harmed An Onion.
posted by Melismata at 2:35 PM on August 22, 2011

Captain Wedderburn is a classic, though it's also a little, er, risque. Great Big Sea does a great version.
posted by Adridne at 2:41 PM on August 22, 2011

Jim Lowe's "The Little Man from Chinatown" is along the lines of "The Thing".
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:10 PM on August 22, 2011

Roger Miller wrote some silly songs that seem to entail the impossible and the cryptic, in a deceptively good-ole-boy style.
posted by Rykey at 3:33 PM on August 22, 2011

Lots of versions of this song but perhaps I'm My Own Grandpa?
posted by adorap0621 at 3:39 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, these are great! I WAS thinking of riddles that have solutions. Now I am super curious about what is in the box.
posted by bq at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2011

You say you like "songs with impossible things"? How about a song that is merely a list of Things That Don't Exist?

(The lyrics are at times hard to understand; the creator says the lyrics are available at­ml but if you go to that page... that page does not exist.)
posted by jef at 7:43 PM on August 22, 2011

Child Ballad archetypes, and songs based on them (see the Variants section of the Wikipedia articles for more lists): Child 1, Riddles Wisely Expounded; 2, The Elfin Knight (parent of Scarborough Fair); Captain Wedderburn's Courtship (I like the Ian and Sylvia recording); 47, Proud Lady Margaret.
posted by nonane at 8:02 PM on August 22, 2011

Well, it's very short but the first thing that popped into my head was St. Ives. Apparently, the answer is not so simple ...
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:22 PM on August 22, 2011

Seven Drunken Nights. The Clancy Brothers version is a classic.
posted by Melismata at 7:26 AM on August 23, 2011

Argh! I think it's the Dubliners, not the Clancy Brothers.
posted by Melismata at 7:29 AM on August 23, 2011

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