The online resource for students of English as a second or foreign  language

 

 

TRADITIONAL SONGS FROM ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRIES

Traditional songs from Britain, Australia and America. Most of these make great songs for English as a second or foreign language (EFL / ESL) classes.

Songs: BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO (Daisy, Daisy); CAMPTON RACES;  CHRISTMAS SONGS; CLEMENTINE;  COCKLES AND MUSSELSGOD BLESS AMERICA; HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD;  HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOESHOME ON THE RANGE;  HOME SWEET HOME;  HOT CROSS BUNS;   IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT;  IN OUR PRETTY GARDEN GREEN;  IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY;  IT'S RAINING, IT'S POURING;  JOHN BROWN'S BODY;  KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN;  MICHAEL FINNEGAN;  MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT;  MORNING HAS BROKEN;  MY BONNIE LIES OVER THE OCEAN;  NURSERY RHYMES; SHE'LL BE COMING ROUND THE MOUNTAIN;  SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT;   TEN GREEN BOTTLES;  TEN IN A BED; TINKER, TAILOR;  THE BIG SHIP SAILS ON THE ALLY-ALLY-OH; THIS OLD MAN (Knick-Knack Paddywhack);  TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN, SPORT;  WALTZING MATILDA;  WE SHALL OVERCOME;  YANKEE DOODLE.

 

THE BIG SHIP SAILS ON THE ALLY-ALLY-OH

 

The big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh, the ally-ally-oh, the ally-ally-oh,

Oh, the big ship sails on the ally-ally-oh, on the last day of September.

 

The captain said it will never, never do, never, never do, never, never do,

The captain said it will never, never do, on the last day of September.

 

The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea, the bottom of the sea, the bottom of the sea,

The big ship sank to the bottom of the sea, on the last day of September.

 

We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea,

We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea, on the last day of September.

 

TEN IN A BED

There were ten in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were nine in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were eight in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were seven in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were six in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were five in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were four in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were three in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were two in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There was one in a bed
And the little one said
"Good night!"

 

BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO (DAISY, DAISY)

Daisy, Daisy, give me you answer true.
I'm half-crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage;
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
of a bicycle built for two.

Henry, Henry, here is your answer true;
I'm not crazy over the likes of you.
If YOU can't afford a carriage, forget about the marriage;
'Cause I won't be jammed, I won't be crammed
on a bicycle built for two.

 

MICHAEL FINNEGAN

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan,
He grew whiskers on his chinnigin,
The wind came around and blew them in again,
Poor old Michael Finnegan,
begin again.

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan,
He got drunk through drinking ginnigin,
Thus he wasted all his tinnigin,
Poor old Michael Finnegan,
begin again.

. . . He kicked up and awful din again,
Because they said he must not sin again, . . .
. . . He went fishing with a pin again,
Caught a fish and dropped it in again, . . .
. . . Climbed a tree and barked his shin again,
Took off several yards of skin again, . . .
. . . He grew fat and then grew thin again,
Then he died and had to begin again, . . .

 

KNEES UP MOTHER BROWN

There came a girl from France
Who didn't know how to dance
The only thing that she could do
Was knees up Mother Brown

Oh, knees up Mother Brown
Knees up Mother Brown
Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown

Oh, hopping on one foot
Hopping on one foot
Hopping, hopping, never stopping
Hopping on one foot

Oh, knees up Mother Brown
Knees up Mother Brown
Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown

Oh, prancing up and down
Prancing up and down
Prancing, prancing, never dancing
Prancing up and down

Oh, knees up Mother Brown
Knees up Mother Brown
Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown

And whirling round and round
Whirling round and round
Whirling, whirling, never twirling
Whirling round and round

Oh, knees up Mother Brown
Knees up Mother Brown
Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown

Oh, knees up Mother Brown
Knees up Mother Brown
Knees up, knees up, never let the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown

 

COCKLES and MUSSELS

In Dublin's fair city
Where girls are so pretty
'Twas there I first met with
Sweet Molly Malone

She drove a wheelbarrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

Alive, alive-o
Alive, alive-o
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

She was a fishmonger
But sure 'twas no wonder
For so were her mother
And father before

They drove their wheelbarrows
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

Alive, alive-o
Alive, alive-o
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

She died of a fever
And nothing could save her
And that was the end of
Poor Molly Malone

Her ghost wheels a barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

Alive, alive-o
Alive, alive-o
Crying, "Cockles and mussels,
Alive, alive-o"

 

HEAD, SHOULDERS, KNEES AND TOES

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
And Eye and ears, and a mouth and a nose.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

[Touch the appropriate body part each time it's mentioned. Second time: don't say the word 'head' aloud, but still touch it. Each verse thereafter, add another body part that you touch but don't mention aloud.]

 

MY BONNIE LIES OVER THE OCEAN

My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
My Bonnie lies over the sea,
My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
Oh bring back my Bonnie to me.
Bring back, bring back,
Oh bring back my Bonnie to me, to me; [x2]

 

IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT

If you're happy and you know it
Clap your hands (x2)
If you're happy and you know it
And you really want to show it
If you're happy and you know it
Clap your hands

If you're happy and you know it
...nod your head...
...stamp your feet...
...shout hello...
...do all four...

 

SHE'LL BE COMING ROUND THE MOUNTAIN

She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes
She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes
She'll be coming round the mountain,
She'll be coming round the mountain,
She'll be coming round the mountain
When she comes

She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes
She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes
She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses,
She'll be driving six white horses
When she comes

Oh, we'll all go out to meet her
When she comes
Oh, we'll all go out to meet her
When she comes
Oh, we'll all go out to meet her,
We'll all go out to meet her,
We'll all go out to meet her
When she comes

She'll be wearing red pyjamas
When she comes
She'll be wearing red pyjamas
When she comes
She'll be wearing red pyjamas,
She'll be wearing red pyjamas,
She'll be wearing red pyjamas
When she comes

She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes
She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes
She will have to sleep with Grandma,
She'll have to sleep with Grandma,
She will have to sleep with Grandma
When she comes

 

IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY

It's a long way to Tipperary
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tipperary
To the sweetest girl I know,
Goodbye Piccadilly
Farewell Leicester Square
It's a long long way to Tipperary
But my heart's right there.

 

CLEMENTINE

In a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine,
Lived a miner, forty-niner, and his daughter Clementine.

CHORUS
Oh my darling, Oh my darling,
Oh my darling Clementine,
You are lost and gone forever,
dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Light she was, and like a fairy,
and her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes without topses,
sandals were for Clementine.

Drove she ducklings to the water
every morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
fell into the foaming brine.

Ruby lips above the water,
blowing bubbles soft and fine,
Alas for me! I was no swimmer,
so I lost my Clementine.

In a churchyard near the canyon,
where the myrtle doth entwine,
There grow roses and other posies,
fertilized by Clementine.

Then the miner, forty-niner,
soon began to peak and pine,
Thought he oughter join his daughter,
now he's with his Clementine.

In my dreams she still doth haunt me,
robed in garments soaked in brine,
While in life I used to hug her,
now she's dead I draw the line.

How I missed her, how I missed her,
how I missed my Clementine,
Until I kissed her little sister,
and forgot my Clementine.

Now ye Scouts all heed the warning
to this tragic tale of mine,
Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
would have saved my Clementine.

 

SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT

CHORUS
Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot, comin' for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see,
Comin' for to carry me home;
A band of angels coming after me,
Comin' for to carry me home.

If you get to heaven before I do,
Comin' for to carry me home;
Just tell all my friends that I'm a coming too,
Comin' for to carry me home.

I'm sometimes up and sometimes down,
Comin' for to carry me home;
But still my soul feels heavenly bound,
Comin' for to carry me home.

I've never been to heaven, but I've been told,
Comin' for to carry me home;
That the streets in heaven are paved with gold,
Comin' for to carry me home.

 

HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD

He's got the whole world in his hands; [Repeat 4x]

He's got the wind and the rain in his hands; [Repeat 3x]
He's got the whole world in his hands.

He's got the sun and the moon . . .
He's got the little bitty baby . . .
He's got you and me brother . . .
He's got everybody here . . .

 

MORNING HAS BROKEN

Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dew fall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God's re-creation of the new day.

Cool the gray clouds roll, peaking the mountains,
Gull in her free flight, swooping the skies.
Praise for the mystery, misting the morning,
Behind the shadow, waiting to shine.

I am the sunrise, warming the heavens,
Spilling my warm glow over the earth.
Praise for the brightness of this new morning,
Filling my spirit with Your great love.

Mine is a turning, mine is a new life,
Mine is a journey closer to You.
Praise for the sweet glimpse, caught in a moment,
Joy breathing deeply, dancing in flight.

 

IT'S RAINING, IT'S POURING

It's raining, it's pouring;
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and he
Bumped his head
And he couldn't get up in the morning.

 

IN OUR PRETTY GARDEN GREEN

This is how we plant a bean,
In our garden, in our garden,
This is how we plant a bean,
In our pretty garden green.
('Dig' a hole in the ground)

Now we plant it with our foot,
In our garden, in our garden,
Now we plant it with our foot,
In our pretty garden green.
(While standing, 'plant' bean with foot)

Now we plant it with our hand,
In our garden, in our garden,
Now we plant it with our hand,
In our pretty garden green.
(Kneel down and 'plant' bean with hand)

Now we plant it with our elbow,
In our garden, in our garden,
Now we plant it with our elbow,
In our pretty garden green.
(Crouch down and 'plant' bean with elbow)

Now we plant it with our knee,
In our garden, in our garden,
Now we plant it with our knee,
In our pretty garden green.
(While kneeling, 'plant' bean with knee)

Now we plant it with our chin,
In our garden, in our garden,
Now we plant it with our chin,
In our pretty garden green.
(On all fours, 'plant' bean with chin)

 

TINKER, TAILOR

Lady, lady on the sea-shore,
She has children one to four,
The eldest one is twenty-four,
Then she shall marry a
Tinker, tailor, Soldier, sailor,
Rich man, poor man,
Beggar-man, thief.


MICHAEL ROW THE BOAT

Michael, row the boat ashore, Alleluia
Michael, row the boat ashore, Alleluia.

Sister, help to trim the sail,
Sister, help to trim the sail,

Brother, lend a helping hand,
Brother, lend a helping hand,

Jordan's river is deep and wide,
Milk and honey on the other side.

 

THIS OLD MAN
(Knick-Knack Paddywhack)

This old man, he played one,
He played knick-knack on my thumb;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played two,
He played knick-knack on my shoe;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played three,
He played knick-knack on my knee;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played four,
He played knick-knack on my door;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played five,
He played knick-knack on my hive;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played six,
He played knick-knack on my sticks;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played seven,
He played knick-knack up in Heaven;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played eight,
He played knick-knack on my gate;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played nine,
He played knick-knack on my spine;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

This old man, he played ten,
He played knick-knack once again;
Knick-knack paddywhack,
Give a dog a bone,
This old man came rolling home.

 

WALTZING MATILDA

Once a jolly swagman camped beside a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he sat and waited while his billy boiled,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?

CHORUS
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And he sang as he sat and waited while his billy boiled,
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

Down came a jumpbuck to drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he stowed that jumback in his tuckerbag,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

Up came the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred
Down came the troopers - one, two, three,
"Where's that jolly jumpbuck you've got in your tuckerbag?
You'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me"

Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong,
"You'll never take me alive!", said he.
And his ghost may be heard as you pass beside that billabong,
"Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?"

 

TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN, SPORT

An old Australian Stockman was lying, dying, but he gets himself up on one elbow, and he calls to his station hands and says . . .

"I'm going, Blue; so this you gotta do,
I'm not gonna pull through, Blue, so this you gotta do..."

CHORUS
Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down. [Repeat.]

Let me wombats go loose, Bruce,
let me wombats go loose.
They're of no further use, Bruce,
so let me wombats go lose.

Take me koalas back, Jack, take me koalas back.
They live somewhere out on the track, Mac, so take me koalas back.

Watch me wallabies feed, Speed,
watch me wallabies feed,
They're a dangerous breed, Speed,
so watch me wallabies feed.

Keep me cockatoos cool, Curl, keep me cockatoos cool,
Don't go acting the fool, Curl, just keep me cockatoos cool.

Mind me platypus duck, Bill, mind me platypus duck.
Don't let him go running amuck, Bill, mind me platypus duck.

Play your didgeridoo, Lew, play your didgeridoo,
Keep playing 'til I shoot through, Lew, play your didgeridoo.

Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred, ta-n m-e h-i-d-e wh-e-n I'm d-e-a-d
So we tanned his hide, when he died, Clyde,
and that's it hanging on the shed!

 

HOME SWEET HOME

'Mid pleasures and palaces
Though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There's no place like home.
A charm from the skies
Seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro' the world,
Is ne'er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet sweet home,
There's no place like home,
There's no place like home.

I gaze on the moon
As I tread the drear wild,
And feel that my mother
Now thinks of her child;
As she looks on that moon
From our own cottage door,
Thro' the woodbine whose fragrance
Shall cheer me no more.
Home, home, sweet sweet home,
There's no place like home,
There's no place like home.

An exile from home,
Splendour dazzles in vain,
Oh, give me my lowly
Thatched cottage again;
The birds singing gaily,
That came at my call:
Give me them and that
Peace of mind, dearer than all.
Home, home, sweet sweet home,
There's no place like home,
There's no place like home.

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA

God Bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her, and guide her,
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God Bless America, my home sweet home,
God Bless America, my home sweet home,

 

JOHN BROWN'S BODY

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave, 

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave,

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave,

His soul is marching on!

Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! His soul is marching on.

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave, 

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave,

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in his grave,

His soul is marching on!

Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! Glory, glory hallelujah! His soul is marching on ...

 

CAMPTON RACES

De Campptown ladies sing this song,
Doo-da, Doo-da
De Camptown racetrack's two miles long
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the grey

Oh, de long tailed filly and de big black horse,
Doo-da, doo-da
Come to a mud hole and dey all cut across,
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the grey

I went down South with my hat caved in,
Doo-da, doo-da
I came back North with a pocket full of tin
Oh, de doo-da day

Gwine to run all night
Gwine to run all day
I bet my money on a bob-tailed nag
Somebody bet on the grey

 

YANKEE DOODLE

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-riding on a pony
Stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy.

Father and I went down to camp
Along with Captain Gooding
And there we saw the men and boys
As thick as hasty pudding.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

There was Captain Washington
Upon a slapping stallion
A-giving orders to his men
I guess there was a million.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

Yankee Doodle is a tune
That comes in mighty handy,
The enemies all run away,
At Yankee Doodle Dandy!
Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

 

HOME ON THE RANGE

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

CHORUS
Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

 

WE SHALL OVERCOME

We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
we shall overcome some day;
Oh! Deep in my heart I do believe,
we shall overcome some day.

We'll walk hand in hand, . . .
We are not afraid, . . . today . . .
The truth shall make us free . . .
We shall live in peace . . .

 

TEN GREEN BOTTLES

Ten green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Ten green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be nine green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Nine green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Nine green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be eight green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Eight green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Eight green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be seven green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Seven green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Seven green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be six green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Six green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Six green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be five green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Five green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Five green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be four green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Four green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Four green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be three green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Three green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Three green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be two green bottles
Hanging on the wall

Two green bottles
Hanging on the wall
Two green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be one green bottles
Hanging on the wall

One green bottle
Hanging on the wall
One green bottle
Hanging on the wall
If that one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be no green bottles
Hanging on the wall

 

HOT CROSS BUNS

Hot cross buns,
One a penny buns;
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Hot cross buns.

Fresh, sweet buns,
Come and buy my buns;
One a penny,
Two a penny,
Fresh, sweet buns.

Nice, light buns,
Buy my currant buns;
Come and try them,
Then you'll buy them,
Nice, light buns.

 

 

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