The Banana Song

Today’s theme in my life was “The Banana Song”, or “The Name Game”.    You know, the song that was ingrained in to your head as soon as you could talk.  The rhyme that embarrassed you when your mom subbed for your kindergarten class and decided that using the well-known name game would be a good ice breaker.  The song that came back in your highschool years when your friends tried to find all of the names that would result in an explicit song (to all Chucks out there, I am very sorry that this song was ever invented).

If you are completely and utterly lost on what I am talking about, let me explain.  If you know exactly what I am talking about, let me give you a refresher and history.

A verse can be created for any name, with X as the name and X−1 as the name without the first consonant sound (if it begins with a consonant), as follows:

(X), (X), bo-b(X−1)
Banana-fana fo-f(X−1)

If the name starts with a vowel or vowel sound, the “b” “f” or “m” is inserted in front of the name.

And if the name starts with a b, f, or m, that sound simply is not repeated. (For example: Billy becomes “Billy Billy bo-illy“; Fred becomes “banana fana fo-red“; Marsha becomes “fee fi mo-arsha“.)

So, for the name Hannah, it would be “Hannah, Hannah, bo-banana Banana-fana fo-fanna Fee-fi-mo-manna Hannah”.   Or for the name “Bart”…..okay, never mind.

The song was originally created by Shirley Ellis with Lincoln Chase was released in late 1964 (the same year that the World’s Fair was held in New York). Shirley was a singer/songwriter and Lincoln was Shirley’s manager, record producer, and songwriting partner.   Don’t ask me why the children’s name game was number 3 on the billboard top 100 in 1965.  I guess that we just really liked rhyming??  Now, what I was wondering was how someone would think of such a song.  According to the all-truthful Wikipedia, “Ellis told Melody Maker magazine that the song was based on a game she played as a child.”.  Since the original ’64 released, she re-released the record in 2 more albums, and many other artists have shared rhyming with the world using the song.

So, to all of you highly educated people of the internet: find a really simple thing that you learned in pre-school and put it into a song.  Oh, and don’t forget to let people change the song to fit themselves, people are self-indulgent. 

***DISCLAIMER/IDEA OF HOW TO GET YOUR MOTHER TO WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP: Playing the game with names such as Alice, Dallas, Tucker, Chuck, Buck, Huck, Bart, Art, Marty, Mitch, Rich, Richie, Maggie, Ruby, or, in British English, Danny or Annie, results in profanity or rude language soap in mouth.***


3 thoughts on “The Banana Song

  1. I can’t believe you kids turned that fun little song into a perverted, naughty thing. Remember singing that for hours in the back seat of the car as we tried to keep Elly from screaming all the way home?!

  2. Great article, I don’t think I could carry a tune in a bag but this sounds like fun. I’m very impressed with your writting skills.

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