Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

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Children in a Japanese elementary school singing the song.

"Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" is a children's song sung to the tune of the traditional folksong "There is a Tavern in the Town" [1]

Description[edit]

There is generally only one verse with lyrics similar to those below. The second line repeats the first line both in words and in melody, the third line has a rising tone, and the fourth line repeats the first two. Children might dance while they sing the song, and to touch their head, shoulders, knees and toes in sequence while singing each word.

Lyrics[edit]

The following lyrics are taken from the children's music database of the NIEHS:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
and eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

An expanded version of the song contains a second verse with the lyrics "Neck, elbows, hips and feet, hips and feet",[2] while another version (with the melody of "London Bridge Is Falling Down") uses "Ankles, elbows, feet, and seat".[3] The third line may be replaced by "Turn around and jump in the air."

Other extended versions have the lyrics:

Heads and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes
Heads and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes
And eyes and ears
And nose and mouth
Heads and shoulders knees and toes
Knees and toes

Feet and tummies arms and chins
Arms and chins
Feet and tummies arms and chins
Arms and chins
And eyes and ears
And mouth and shins
Feet and tummies arms and chins
Arms and chins

Hands and fingers legs and lips
Legs and lips
Hands and fingers legs and lips
Legs and lips
And eyes and ears
And mouth and hips
Hands and fingers legs and lips
Legs and lips
Repeat the first verse

Another way additional verses are sung is by omitting the first word sung in the previous verse, and, instead, touching their head, shoulders, knees or toes, without actually saying the word. The last verse consists of no actual singing, just touching what would have been sung or put them back in and sing it much faster.

The song has been documented as early as 1961.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "E. Henry David Music Publishers". E. Henry David. Retrieved 2013-11-28. 
  2. ^ "Head Shoulders Knees And Toes Lyrics Learning Station". Lyricsbay.com. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Lyrics and Music". Kids.niehs.nih.gov. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  4. ^ Witte Austin, Dorothy. "Troubadour Pleases Playground Audiences". Milwaukee Journal, July 18, 1961, Part 2-p. 6. Retrieved on July 3, 2014.

External links[edit]