Lyrics We Totally Didn’t Get As Kids

getty

No way

Remember all those innocent nursery rhymes you sang as a kid? How about those cute pop numbers that soared high on the music charts? Well, what you were singing back then might not have been as sweet as you thought.

Here's to that aha moment that defines adulthood: When you realize your favorite song as a kid was actually super raunchy and incredibly creepy. We'll blow your mind with this list of lyrics you didn't get when you were younger—but will totally understand now.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring”

There’s no denying it, this children’s song is quite catchy: “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring.” Who doesn’t look out the window on a rainy day and quietly hum this familiar tune?

But, while this tune is singable, it’s also pretty disturbing. Take this line for example: “He bumps his head on top of the bed and couldn’t get up in the morning.” Well, that sounds like a concussion and possibly even death. Yikes. Doesn’t sound so sing-songy now, does it?

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary”

This old nursery rhyme dating back many centuries seems to be about growing a garden, right?

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockleshells, and pretty maids all in a row.”

Well, that’s what they wanted you to believe as a kid. However, this childhood favorite has a darker past. MentalFloss.com states silverbells and cockleshells are ancient “torture devices” that Queen Mary I of England used on her victims. Ouch!

"London Bridge is falling down"

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”

Singing about a bridge collapsing is probably in poor taste, but we were kids, what did we know? According to Cracked.com, this tune is even more haunting. Apparently, it goes back to a time when bodies of dead children were found entombed in large structures (one of which was a bridge). The song, along with the game of holding hands like an arch and crashing down to capture a child once the song is over, all relates to this very point in history.

“Rub-a-dub-dub”

Three men in a tub? What could go wrong here? This song is already a little vulgar, but as a kid it was probably more funny than anything.

“Rub-a-dub-dub, Three men in a tub. And who do you think they were? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker.”

But, this playful tune might not be as funny as it seems. This song is actually about men spying on women in the tub, says The Sun. The original version of this song included three maids in the tub, but both versions include the line: “Twas enough to make a man stare.” The butcher, baker, and candlestick maker might have a lawsuit on their hands.

“A Whole New World”

Who didn’t love watching the movie Aladdin? And, singing along to all of those Disney jams, like “A Whole New World” brings back some serious nostalgia. But, is this song as honest as it seems?

The Thought Catalog says “no.” In fact, the website believes Aladdin’s motive to show Jasmine a new world (on his “magic carpet”) is much more sexual than anything. And, with lyrics like “indescribable feeling,” “soaring, tumbling, freewheeling“ and “hold your breath it gets better,” it’s hard to argue otherwise.

“Jack and Jill”

This nursery rhyme seems innocent enough. Just two kids going to fetch some water up a big hill.

“Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.”

Well, apparently England has a legend that says it’s about two adults who were having an affair up on that hill, not kids doing their daily chores. Bow chicka wow wow.

“Ring Around the Rosey”

This ancient song has been a favorite among youngsters for generations. And, why wouldn’t it be? It’s an easy one to sing.

“Ring around the rosey, pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

But, The Sun says this tune has a morbid side, dating back to the Great Plague. The word rosey relates to a symptom (rosey rash) and posies were used to help “ward off the smell of the disease.” Those with the plague fell down right before they died.

“Rock-a-bye baby”

This is a sweet lullaby almost every mother sings to her child. Its soothing rhythm can pretty much guarantee your baby will fall fast asleep. “Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock”

So far so good. However, it quickly moves into something darker: “When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down will come baby, cradle and all.”

So, what exactly is going on here? Smosh.com explains there are a couple beliefs. The first refers to Native Americans rocking “their babies in cradles suspended from tree branches.” The second idea considers the tree to be the pregnant mother and her contractions (that is “the wind blowing”) leads to her water breaking (ahem, the bough). The cradle and all here supposedly means “the placenta.”

"Jimmy Crack Corn"

It might not come as a huge surprise that this oldie-but-goodie deals with slavery (it does talk about a man’s master after all): “Jimmy crack corn and I don't care, Jimmy crack corn and I don't care, Jimmy crack corn and I don't care, My master's gone away.”

But, according to Cracked.com, this song has a slight twist. It’s about a slave who had to shoo flies away from his master, but one day, a “blue-tail fly” bit the master, and he fell off his horse and died. “Well the pony jumped, he start, he pitch, he threw my master in the ditch.He died and the jury wondered why, the verdict was the blue-tail fly.”

Happy ending?

“Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater”

What could go wrong with a guy who enjoys pumpkins? Well, when that guy uses it to hide a body there’s a problem. It could be that the man, named Peter, apparently found his wife cheating and killed her. He then put her body inside a pumpkin to hide the evidence.

“Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater, had a wife and couldn’t keep her; He put her in a pumpkin shell, and there he kept her very well.” 

Don't you feel all warm and cozy inside?

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.