Do Your Ears Hang Low?

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"Do Your Ears Hang Low?"
Roud 15472
Language English
Recorded by Barney, Kinky Friedman

"Do Your Ears Hang Low?" is a children's song that is often sung in schools and at camps. The melody of this song was partially taken from another: "Turkey in the Straw." Various theories exist concerning the origin of the lyrics, but no conclusive evidence seems to exist. A common belief is that the lyrics refer to the ears of a hound dog.

Various versions with alternative lyrics exist; the earliest known version is "Do Your Balls Hang Low",[1] listed in the Roud Folk Song Index under a separate number, 10259. Other versions printed shortly afterwards would suggest that this a rather rude wartime soldiers' song that has made its way into other circles: rugby singing, campfire singing. The original lyric version is also in the Roud Folk Song Index under number 15472.

Lyrics[edit]

The following lyrics are from one particular variant of the song:

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie 'em in a knot?
Can you tie 'em in a bow?
Can you throw 'em o'er your shoulder
Like a continental [or regimental] soldier
Do your ears hang low?


Do your ears stand high?
Do they reach up to the sky?
Do they droop when they are wet?
Do they stiffen when they're dry?
Can you summon o'er your neighbor
With a minimum of labor?
Do your ears stand high?


Do your ears flip-flop?
Can you use them as a mop?
Are they stringy at the bottom?
Are they curly at the top?
Can you use them for a swatter?
Can you use them for a blotter?
Do your ears flip-flop?


Do your ears stick out?
Can you waggle them about?
Can you flap them up and down
As you fly around the town?
Can you shut them up for sure
When you hear an awful bore?
Do your ears stick out?


Do your ears give snacks?
Are they all filled up with wax?
Do you eat it in the morning
Do you eat it in the bath?
Do you eat it with a scone
Or do you eat it on its own?
Do your ears give snacks?


Recorded versions[edit]

  • Sharon, Lois & Bram on Stay Tuned (album) 1987
  • Barney on Barney's Favorites 1993, Barney's Greatest Hits 2000
  • Kinky Friedman on Live From Uranus 2003
  • Øystein Sunde in a Norwegian variant called Hvis dine ører henger ned (If your ears hang down) on Det året det var så bratt 1971
  • A version of the song was recorded for the Kidsongs video "A Day with the Animals" in 1986, and is often thought to be referring to a basset hound (as the music video featured such). The song was later released for the home video market and in music CD format.
  • A version was used on the Play School album There's A Bear In There.
  • A Hip Hop version of the melody is used in the Jibbs' song "Chain Hang Low".

Parody in popular culture[edit]

The tune is frequently heard being played on ice cream van PA speakers in America.

Other common parodies of the song substitute the word "ears" with slang words for testicles ("balls"), where in Australia it is the old folk version, pubic hair, or breasts.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Drinking songs
  2. ^ Dundes, Alan (1997). From Game to War and Other Psychoanalytic Essays on Folklore. University Press of Kentucky. 

External links[edit]