Cows Don't Fly

Recorded by Iona Opie back in the 1950s in the UK:

As I sat under the apple tree
a birdie sent his love to me
and as I wiped it from my eye
I said "thank goodness cows can't fly!


This morphed into one that was current in the States by the end of the 60s:

Birdy, birdy, in the sky
dropped some whitewash in my eye
I don't worry, I don't cry
I'm just glad that cows don't fly!"


Several variations of the American version go around, more recent ones being somewhat more explicit and often leaving out the cow part altogether:

Birdy, birdy in the sky
Why'd you do that in my eye?
Looks like ice cream, tastes like spit
Oh my god - it's birdy s--t!


Generally speaking, these songs and rhymes don't get dirtier or more explicit as time goes by (often, in fact, it's the other way around) It's interesting that the American versions are not just dirtier, but much more simplistic than the British version - was it "dumbed down" as it crossed the pond? And how strange is it that I'm even talking about dumbing down a poop joke to begin with?

9 comments:

  1. This one I learned as a camp song which had many different parts. I'll put down what I can remember. It did have an order to it, and different little story songs would be added or dropped depending on who was singing it.

    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be nuts like us
    Silly and foolish all day long
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy

    A farmer had a chickie that wouldn't lay an egg
    so he poured hot water up and down the chickies leg
    the chickie cried and the cried begged the chickie laid a hard boiled egg

    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be nuts like us
    Silly and foolish all day long
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy

    A man wore a pair of combination underwear
    he wore nine months without a care
    he wore nine months without exaggeration
    cause he couldn't take them off cause he lost the combination

    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be nuts like us
    Silly and foolish all day long
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy

    Birdie birdie in the sky
    dropped white wash in my eye
    Should I laugh or should I cry
    Gee I'm glad that cows don't fly

    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be nuts like us
    Silly and foolish all day long
    Boom Boom ain't it great to be crazy

    A horise and a flea and three blind mice
    were sitting on a ???? shooting dice
    The horsie got up and sat on the flea
    whoops said the flea theres a horsie on me.

    The chorus would repeat, there were other ones as well, but those are the only ones I really remember.

    The tune isn't from any song that I know, but it's rather simplistic.

    New York/ between 1984-1988

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  2. Oops I noticed an error here, and I remembered a line.

    Corrected: A farmer had a chickie that wouldn't lay an egg
    so he poured hot water up and down the chickies leg
    the chickie cried and the chickie begged the chickie laid a hard boiled egg

    Also in this one,
    A horise and a flea and three blind mice
    were sitting on a ???? shooting dice
    The horsie got up and sat on the flea
    whoops said the flea theres a horsie on me.

    ??? should be tombstone.

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  3. Not tomstone but fence. They were sitting on a fence shooting dice.

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  4. Not tomstone but fence. They were sitting on a fence shooting dice.

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  5. Not tomstone but fence. They were sitting on a fence shooting dice.

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  6. Minor variation:

    Birdy birdie in the sky
    Why did you turdee in my eye?
    I'm so glad that cows don't fly
    Birdy birdy in the sky

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  7. The version I learnt in London in the 1950's was
    Dirty birdie flying high
    dropping ammo from the sky
    Angry farmer wiping his eye
    thanking god that cows can't fly

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  8. "Birdie, Birdie in the sky,
    Why'd you do that in my eye?
    Boy-o-Boy I'm glad elephants don't fly.

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  9. A little birdie flying by
    Dropped an egg?? into my eye
    I didn't laugh, I didn't cry
    I just thanked god that cows don't fly

    Late 70s Victoria BC "Egg" makes no sense but I'm pretty sure we did say "egg" and we understood this meant "shit".
    But it might have been some other word?

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PLEASE tell us where and when you heard your version (ie, "Chicago, early 1950s). And please be aware that the information may end up in a book sooner or later.