My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean

"My Bonnie lies over the ocean" is a traditional Scottish folk song that remains popular in Western culture.[1]

HistoryEdit

Although the song's origin is uncertain, its original subject could possibly be Charles Edward Stuart ('Bonnie Prince Charlie'):[2] after the defeat of the Prince at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and his subsequent exile, his Jacobite supporters could have sung this song or one like it in his honour; and thanks to the ambiguity of the term "Bonnie", which can refer to a woman as well as to a man, they could pretend it was a love song.

The English traditional singing group The Watersons, on their 1975 album "For Pence and Spicy Ale" sing a song from the English tradition called "My Barney Lies over the Ocean" which has a slightly different melody and is said to be an antecedent. In the liner notes for the song, the musicologist A. L. Lloyd says about "My Barney": "A stage song favoured by Irish comedians from the 1860s on. During the 1880s, apparently on American university campuses, close harmony groups remade it into the better-known—and even more preposterous—'My Bonny Lies over the Ocean'. Watersons had this from Bob Davenport who learnt it from a Frank Quinn 78."[3]

In 1881, under the duo of pseudonyms H.J. Fuller and J.T. Wood, Charles E. Pratt published sheet music for "Bring Back My Bonnie to Me".[4][5][6] Theodore Raph in his 1964 book American Song Treasury: 100 Favorites, writes that people were requesting the song at sheet music stores in the 1870s, and Pratt was convinced to publish a version of it under the pseudonyms, and the song became a big hit, especially popular with college singing groups but also popular for all group singing situations.[5]

LyricsEdit

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
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

O blow ye winds over the ocean
o blow ye winds over the sea
O blow ye winds over the ocean
and bring back my Bonnie to me

Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me, to me
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

Last night as I lay on my pillow
Last night as I lay on my bed
Last night as I lay on my pillow
I dreamt that my Bonnie was dead

Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me, to me
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

The winds have blown over the ocean
The winds have blown over the sea
The winds have blown over the ocean
And brought back my Bonnie to me

Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me, to me
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

ParodiesEdit

There are numerous variations and parodies of the song. Many of these are a result of the song being sung often to children and being a common campfire song for organizations[7] such as the Boy Scouts.[8] These campfire versions are occasionally accompanied by interactive movements,[9] such as sitting down or standing up every time a word that begins with the letter "b" is sung[citation needed].

My Bonnie leaned over the gas tank,
The height of its contents to see,
I lit a small match to assist her,
O Bring back my Bonnie to me.

Repeat chorus

Last night as I lay on my pillow,
Last night as I lay on my bed,
I stuck my feet out of the window,
In the morning the neighbors were dead.

Repeat chorus

Oh, Dory swam over the ocean,
Oh, Dory swam over the sea,
Oh, Dory swam over the ocean,
Now Dory has swum back to me.

Repeat chorus

My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,
My Bonnie Lies over the Sea,
My Daddy laid over my Mommy,
And that is how I came to be.

Repeat chorus

My mother, she drowned in the bathtub,
My father, he died from his gin,
My sister she choked on her chocolate,
My stars, what a fix I am in.

Repeat chorus

I tried making beer in the bathtub,
I tried making synthetic gin,
I tried making fudge for a living,
Now look at the shape that I'm in.

Repeat chorus


There are Guiding Kids Version of the song.

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...


We watched her sail over the ocean
we watched her sail out to the sea
For many a-month we’ll be waiting
So, bring back my Bonnie to me...
 

All of my friends are sailing along
The boat makes us music we’ll sing along
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me


O blow ye winds over the ocean
o blow ye winds over the sea
O blow ye winds over the ocean
and bring back my bonnie to me


All of my friends are sailing along
The boat makes us music we’ll sing along
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me


All of my friends are sailing along
The boat makes us music we’ll sing along
Bring back, bring back
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me
Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me

In modern cultureEdit

  • The Fletcher brothers filmed this song in DeForest Phonofilm, part of their Song Car-Tunes series, released 15 September 1925, and notable as the first film to use the ‘follow the bouncing ball’ technique.[10][11]
  • Arthur Housman's drunken character merrily sings this song in the Laurel & Hardy 1932 short Scram! whilst pouring liquor into a jug.
  • In the Woody Woodpecker 1944 cartoon The Beach Nut, this song is sung by Woody and by Wally Walrus.
  • My Bunny Lies Over The Sea, a short Bugs Bunny cartoon film whose title parodies the song, was released by Warner Brothers in 1948.[12]
  • In the Abbott and Costello film The Naughty Nineties (June 20, 1945), Costello auditions for Captain Sam's riverboat show by singing "My Bonnie". Behind him, Abbott shouts directions to the stage crew in setting up a backdrop curtain ("Move it to the left", "Lower", "Higher", "Lift up the right leg", etc.) Oblivious to this, Costello thinks Abbott is directing him and follows his every command, moving to the left, singing higher, lower, and so forth.
  • The song plays a prominent role in the I Love Lucy episode "The Quiz Show" (first aired November 10, 1951).
  • Alexa Kenin's character sings it in Honkytonk Man (1982), including the parody verse "My Bonnie has tuberculosis..."
  • Duane Eddy hit the US Top 30 and UK Top 15 in 1960 with an instrumental rock and roll version titled "Bonnie Came Back"
  • A rock n' roll arrangement of the song, entitled just 'My Bonnie', was recorded in 1961 by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, peaking at #5 on the Hit Parade in West Germany. (The 'Beat Brothers' were actually The Beatles – record executives felt their not-yet-famous real name was too phonetically similar to a German obscenity – and the recording was re-released on the Anthology 1 compilation album in 1995.) The Beatles had built a core following in their hometown Liverpool and when customers at a local record shop kept asking its owner Brian Epstein to order the record he went to see them perform and signed them to a management contract and helped them become world famous.[13]
  • Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album On the Sentimental Side (1962).
  • In the 1965 comic story by Carl Barks The Phantom of Notre Duck, Scrooge McDuck installs an electronic door opener for his money bin that only opens to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" played on a special fife.
  • In the 1985 Indonesian film Kesempatan dalam Kesempitan (id), in which the song was sung in a jazz tune.
  • Episode 13 of Season 1 of the television series Murder, She Wrote (1985) is entitled "My Johnny Lies Over The Sea"
  • An arrangement by Laura Smith with The Chieftans on their album Fire in the Kitchen (1998) proved popular.
  • Episode 17 of Season 15 (My Big Fat Geek Wedding) of the television series The Simpsons (2004) uses "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean" with a scene of Principal Skinner.
  • On December 20, 2011, JibJab released a video about the year 2011 in review with a song called "2011, Buh-Bye", to the tune of the title song.[14]
  • On March 14,2011, In the sixteenth episode of season 7 of House MD entitled Out of the Chute, Dr. Gregory House has his patient Lane (Chad Faust) recite "My Bonnie Lives over the Ocean" to help diagnose a neurological disorder that ultimately lead to Lane's heart problem.
  • Laura Wright recorded a version, featured on her album The Last Rose (2011)
  • MTV's Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa had the character Billy (Jackson Nicoll) and the Grandpa (Johnny Knoxville) decide to enter Billy as a girl into a girls beauty pageant and perform the song with a dance in one of the rounds.
  • In How I Met Your Mother (season 6, episode 10), Barney Stinson and Marshall Eriksen sing "My Blitzy Lies Over the Ocean" in reference to the "Blitz phenomenon" by which the "Blitzed" person misses all the amazing events at a party (they occur after the Blitz abandons the party).
  • In The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, the main characters sing a song based on this one called "My Diamonds Lie over the Ocean."
  • In 2012 Hollie Steel starred and sang "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean"[15] in the 55 minute musical docudrama, Children on the Titanic[16] available on Amazon Video.[17]
  • Ray Charles recorded an R&B arrangement of the song in 1958 for Atlantic Records.
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, Fergus Reid can be heard singing the song, between his gunfire, during the assault on Deathshead's compound.
  • In 1939 it was a popular song among English air crews with the chorus changed to "Bring back, bring back, O bring back my bomber and me" [1]

Survival songEdit

Refugees aboard the Dunera ship "learned from their British warders" this song's tune and, in response to maltreatment, including to their luggage, they composed and sang "regularly on board the ship" “My luggage went into the ocean, My luggage went into the sea, My luggage was thrown in the ocean, Oh, bring back my luggage to me![18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lars Christian Lundholm (2013). My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean for Piano and Trumpet. ISBN 9781300741497. ... This traditional and popular Scottish folk song relates to the Battle of Culloden in 1746 after which Prince Charles Edward Stuart was exiled.
  2. ^ Herman Finer (1956). Governments of greater European powers: a comparative study of the governments and political culture of Great Britain, France, Germany, and the Soviet Union, Volume 1. Holt. p. 178.
  3. ^ The Watersons, "For Pence and Spicy Ale", Topic Records, catalogue no. 12TS265, 1975, UK
  4. ^ Burton, Jack. The blue book of Tin Pan Alley: a human interest encyclopedia of American popular music, Volume 1, p. 9, 47 (1965)
  5. ^ a b Raph, Theodore. The American song treasury: 100 favorites, pp. 201–03 (1964)
  6. ^ Herder, Ronald. 500 best-loved song lyrics, p. 231 (1998)
  7. ^ "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean". ScoutSongs.com. ..pillow ... gas tank/match ... gin ...
  8. ^ "Campfire Song Book - Audience participation songs". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  9. ^ "Songs - Campfire Sing-a-longs". right leg, left leg, stand up, sit down
  10. ^ John Grant (2001). Masters of Animation. Watson–Guptill. ISBN 0-8230-3041-5.
  11. ^ IMDb entry
  12. ^ Warner Brothers (1948) My Bunny Lies Over The Sea on IMDb; Animation, Short, Comedy
  13. ^ Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles As Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-514105-4.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2011-12-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Amazon.com 10 song 34 minute album from BB5 Records Ltd. available as mp3 download. Retrieved 20 June 2012
  16. ^ website for "Children on the Titanic" accessed 11 August 2013.
  17. ^ Amazon listing for "Children on the Titanic" accessed 26 December 2014
  18. ^ Sephen Gabriel Rosenberg (12 December 2015). "HMT Dunera: the scandal and the salvation". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 8 March 2020.