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Bawdy Song

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There was a girl named Lulu
She lived quite a ways from town, very far
I bought her a car
Then I bought her a truck
First I taught her how to drive
Then I taught her how to...
Bang away my Lulu!
Bang away good and strong
Bang away my Lulu
Bang away good and strong
What will I do for a bang away
When my Lulu's dead and gone?

A song or poem which includes ribaldry for purposes of bonding and general letting-off-steam. May also be called a Barrack-room Ballad, a Rugby Song or a Hash Hymn. The level of ribaldry may range from mere Double Entendre to the kind of explicit lyrics that send Moral Guardians into conniptions.

Such songs are sometimes used as a Curse Cut Short, a character will be singing a well-known bawdy song and cut off a split-second before actually singing anything obscene. Including snatches of bawdy songs in a scene indicates that characters are becoming relaxed and uninhibited (at the very least). If the song happens to be something as explicit as "The Good Ship Venus" or "Barnacle Bill the Sailor," they are probably way past just "relaxed".

An unseen incident of the singing of a bawdy song may be used to indicate that someone was drunk and disorderly or otherwise "out of order", especially if children, nuns or The Vicar happened to be present. Allusion to the vicar knowing such a song is a deliberate example of incongruity. Rick the Vic from Hellblazer probably knows them all.

In order to indicate that an older character is a "bad influence" on children, a child may sing a bawdy song after visiting him/her. In such cases the chosen song is usually one of the less explicit examples, "Roll Me Over in the Clover," for example.

Many bawdy songs are themselves trope-laden, being replete with stereotyped characters, "wardrobe malfunctions", slapstick and cliches. Many are also examples of pastiche and parody or possibly Fan Fic, being set to the tune of "real" folk songs, pop songs etc.: for example, "Irian Jaya" to the tune of "Mull of Kintyre," "Masturbation" to "Alouette", "Incest Is Best" and "Bestiality's Best" both to the tune of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport". Sometimes even national anthems ("Life Presents a Dismal Picture" to "Deutschland Über Alles" and "Ou Est La Papier" to "La Marseillaise"). Prisoners at Colditz Castle in World War II had a lot of creative fun re-writing the German national anthem; the mildest version they came up with was "Deutschland, Deutschland Ünter Alles".

These are often... in fact, almost always... sung when the character doing the singing is totally plastered. A Horny Bard will always have several of these on hand to show off their musical (and sexual) talents.

For professional musician's songs with sexual themes, see Intercourse with You. Compare the Sound Off, which is similar in that it can be quite rude and is typically a piece of oral tradition, but is somewhat less musical. A Limerick is a short poetic form that also often can have a bawdy theme.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Hellblazer, John Constantine frequently sings these when drunk or sentimental, for example, during a The Books of Magic crossover, he was singing "The Good Ship Venus" but cut off suddenly at the sight of the still-underage Tim Hunter. On the occasion of his Forgotten Birthday he was singing "The Woodpecker's Hole" while relieving himself in an alley, breaking off as he realised he'd pissed on The Phantom Stranger's boots.
  • Subverted in Evan Dorkin's Fun With Milk & Cheese, in the renaissance fair episode, which has Milk and Cheese singing their "Lusty Drinking Song":
  • Part of one is sung by the Rat Queens.
    And the old wizard fumbled in the gloom, As he reached out for his trusty broom
    But he was in for a vulgar shock, When he firmly gripped his horse's cock, OHHHHHHH!
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: During the Golden Age Etta Candy's Beta Kappa sorority was full of feminine frat girls who loved beating up Nazis and singing bawdy songs about their sexual desire for men.

    Fan Works 
  • There's a Doctor Who fanfic in which the Doctor's asked what the rudest song he knows is — apparently, it's "a toss-up between 'The Lonely Little Academy Girl' and 'Och Aye! 'Tis Rassilon's Mighty Firm Rod'" (the latter of which apparently runs to about fifty-four verses).
  • Athena Prime's Knights of the Old Republic epic fanfic mentions a bawdy song called "The Starship Venus". Allronix, in her KOTOR fic, provides some of the lyrics.
  • In Rising Star (an adaption of Sonic the Hedgehog 2), Sonic suggests Tails should sing something during their trip through Casino Night Zone. As it's revealed, Tails spent too much time hanging out behind the local bar...
  • "Galdwyn was a Shieldmaiden", in The Lord of the Rings fandom.
  • The Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic People in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (the pairing is Lt. Jee/Zuko). Zuko's crew sings a song called "The Balls of Captain Zhao" set to the tune of "The Girls from Ba Sing Se". Sadly, the song's full lyrics are never given (though this just might make the song funnier), but they allegedly describe a made-up incident in which Zhao got his balls cut off and cooked into soup by a Water Tribe woman. Zhao is not a fan of this song.
  • In The Legend of Total Drama Island, the Muskies sing several such songs after dinner during the camping challenge, including "Barnacle Bill the Sailor". They would even have sung "The Good Ship Venus" if enough of them had known the words.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager parody The Voyorgy Conspiracy, in revenge for being given a Creepy Physical, B'Elanna Torres reprograms the Doctor to sing the Klingon drinking song "My Bat'leth Is Bigger Than Yours" during an opera performance for the crew.
  • In Time Turned Back Harry and his friends manage to convince every male student in first through fifth year to sing "A Wizard's Staff Has a Knob on the End" as a flash mob.
  • In Mare Genius, the Mane 6 get high on liniment and sing Discworld's The Hedgehog Song
  • Vow of Nudity: The shamelessly-sexist shanty Haara's opponent (and his watching crewmates) sings during a musical duel in Skies of the Damned.
  • In Not another Sorting the Sorting Hat once interrupted Harry's private time with Hermione by singing "The Slytherin's Snake is Long and Dexterous, Quite, Quite So".

    Films — Animation 
  • Surprisingly (or not, depending on how you see the movie), Coraline has one in the form of Other Spink and Other Forcible's stage play, in which they argue over whether the ass or the boobs are more important when seducing men.
    A big-bottomed sea witch may bob through the waves,
    And hope to lead sailors astray.
    But a true ocean goddess
    Must fill out her bodice
    To present an alluring display.
  • The 2007 film version of Beowulf has the Geats singing songs of this sort.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A film parodying British sex comedies of the 1970s is titled Eskimo Nell after the most notorious bawdy song of them all.
  • The famous whistling scene in The Bridge on the River Kwai is an attempt to get "Hitler Has Only Got One Ball" past the radar. The song is called the "Colonel Bogey March" and has been a favorite for adding smutty lyrics to since 1914. It was supposedly inspired by an officer who whistled the first two notes instead of shouting "fore" on the golf course, so the song was insulting even when given its original title. Or not, considering that a "bogey" then, was what we today call a "par". Being called a scratch-player is probably NOT an insult anywhere.
    • "Colonel Bogey March" inspired a Call-Back of sorts about a decade after Bridge On The River Kwai was released when the Smothers Brothers did a comedic performance of the South African marching tune "Marching to Pretoria" in which they briefly stopped the song to discuss their favorite marching songs. They briefly reference "Colonel Bogey" (which they mistakenly call "March of the River Kwai") and note that you could never sing it because it was all whistling...then surmise that the song's lyrics must have been dirty, which is why they had to be whistled instead. Then, when they start singing again, one of them shifts to whistling just as their improvised lyrics are getting really naughty, prompting the audience to laugh.
  • Mondain from The Chorus, being the resident Delinquent, loves singing these in the face of the teachers. Maxence almost kicks him to the punishment room, before cheerful music teacher Mathieu notices his baritone would be great for his choir.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap had songs such as "Big Bottom," "Sex Farm," and "Lick My Love Pump" (the latter played without lyrics). Nigel sits down at a piano and plays something that sounds vaguely classical. He explains it's a kind of cross between Mozart and Bach. It's only at this point that he reveals the title is "Lick My Love Pump". This is, of course, a reference to Mozart's canon "Lick Me in the Arse". Yes, that's the translation of the title.
  • Charlie Chaplin is to sing one as part of a musical act in Modern Times... only he loses the paper on which the lyrics are written, and has to use pantomime and gibberish. He brings the house down.
  • The Jukebox Musical Oh! What a Lovely War included a version of the folk song "Christmas Day In The Cookhouse" where the dirty rhyming words are blatantly dodged.
  • In the 2010 Robin Hood movie, there is a scene in which a lute-playing member of the Merry Men starts to sing this song:
    Blessed be my darling
    I loves you all to bits
    I'll climb up to your chamber
    And over your mountainous —
  • The Wicker Man (1973):
    • The customers at a pub engage in a lusty rendition of "The Landlord's Daughter", to the annoyance of the straightlaced protagonist and the amusement of Willow, the Really Gets Around daughter of the pub's landlord. As Christopher Lee said in the DVD Commentary, it's a good song for when you've got a pint in your hand.
    • The full version of "The Tinker of Rye" (sung by Diane Cilento and Lee himself) might count as an example even if it doesn't sound like one, less bawdy and more reliant on subtle Double Entendres.
    • In contrast, "Gently Johnny" is sweet, gentle, and romantic, but by far the most explicit song in the movie.
  • A Jolly Bad Fellow: After being drugged by Professor Bowles-Ottery, Dr. Brass is arrested while dancing drunkenly through a graveyard without his trousers and singing a risqué song. Only the last few lines are actually, so there is nothing too objectionable, but the style of song is unmistakable.

  • In A.N. Wilson's The Vicar of Sorrows, an evangelical lady suggests to the vicar that modern, upbeat hymns would be better for the Easter procession than the traditional hymn he always uses. He responds that if they ditch the traditional hymn, then they can sing "Eskimo Nell" for all he cares. This leads to the lady, who has never heard of this song, asking various other parishioners about it and whether it would be a good song to sing in the Easter parade, spreading scandal about the vicar's morals and mental health. Eventually she finds a copy of the lyrics in a book of erotic poetry from the library; given that she is a self-appointed moral guardian, the look on her face as she read it can only be imagined!
  • Discworld:
    • Two of Nanny Ogg's favorite tunes are "The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered at All" (mostly known as "the Hedgehog Song") and "A Wizard's Staff Has a Knob on the End".
      • Fans have of course written their own lyrics to Nanny Ogg's songs, some of which were printed in the aptly named fanzine The Wizard's Knob. You really don't want to read them. This creativity on the part of the fans led to a priceless dedication in the UK edition of Witches Abroad: "To all those people — and why not? — who, after the publication of Wyrd Sisters, deluged the author with their version of the words of 'The Hedgehog Song'. Deary deary me..."
      • When sections appear in the books, they take the form of an Orphaned Punchline:
        ...with a giraffe, if you stand on a stool, but the hedgehog can never be buggered at all!
      • A version of "A Wizard's Staff" appears on the From the Discworld CD (words by Heather Wood, music by Dave Greenslade). The full lyrics (only some of which are used on the CD) can be found on her website. She also wrote a version of "The Hedgehog Song", to be sung to the tune of "Bonnie Dundee".
    • In Going Postal, a drunken banker is described as singing "the sort of song that is hilarious to rugby players and anyone under the age of eleven".
    • There was also the song "All The Little Angels (How Do They Rise Up)", a marching song from the novel Night Watch, and described as the best kind of song for old soldiers — sentimental, with dirty bits.
    • Pratchett deconstructs this kind of song in Monstrous Regiment, including a scene where the squad of female soldiers criticize the numerous Double Entendre-laden songs treating as humorous a man seducing a woman and then abandoning her when she's pregnant. The actual song honoring their division is a subversion; a girl trips while carrying a cheese and her bodice comes undone, so the soldier steals the cheese.
      It's in May, it's about sex.
    • Then there's this from Eric: "— vestal virgins, Came down from Heliodeliphilodelphiboschromenos, And when the ball was over, There were —" which alludes to "The Ball of Kerrymuir". Google at your leisure, preferably at home. The verse in question, the only clean one in the entire (extremely long) song:
      Four and twenty virgins
      Came down from Inverness,
      And when the ball was over
      There were four and twenty less.
    • Soul Music gives a mention to "Gathering Rhubarb" as a " you can snigger along to...". While there are no lyrics given in the book, the Cosgrove Hall animated adaptation did include it. The version used in the actual production is cut short, but it can be heard in full (and with transcribed lyrics) here.
    • Guards! Guards! mentions, "Lord Vetinari seldom had balls. There was a popular song about it, in fact."
    • The Shepherd's Crown (Wait, isn't the Tiffany Aching series for children?!) has the old soldiers sing:
    Ar-sol, ar-sol, a soldier's life for me!
    For King, for King, for King and Constabulary,
    We wee, we wee, we weaken the enemies,
    For they don't want it up 'em, don't want it up 'em, don't want it up and over!
  • There's a passing mention in The Once and Future King of an old song about an Old King seeing with each verse more and more of a fair maiden. We only hear the (heavily-accented) first verse:
    Whe-an Wold King-Cole / was a / wakkin doon-t'street,
    H-e / saw a-lovely laid-y a / steppin-in-a-puddle.
    She-a lifted hup-er-skeat
    For to
    Hop acrorst ter middle,
    An ee / saw her / an-kel.
    Wasn't that a fuddle?
    Ee could'ernt elp it, / ee Ad to.
  • In the Sven Hassel novels the songs "I Was Born And Brought Up In A Brothel" and "The Girl Who Made Love To Electricity" are mentioned several times, fortunately (?) without lyrics.
  • Eve Forward's book Anamist has a song sung by a sailing crew that apparently describes "various obscene things that could be done with most of the trading races."
  • The Dune series has the slightly bawdy song that is not explicitly given a title in the series, focusing mainly on prostitution:
    The Galacian girls will do it for pearls,
    And the Arrakeen do it for water!
    But if you desire dames like consuming flames,
    Try a Caladanin daughter!
  • The Wheel of Time (The Dragon Reborn, to be precise) has a song about an easy girl from Lugard sung in a rowdy Illianer tavern. The beginning is given and sounds rather innocent, but the rest, not given by Jordan, mightily embarrasses Perrin who takes some time to understand what precisely is this song about.
    A Lugard girl, she came to town, to see what she could see.
    With a wink of her eye, and a smile on her lip,
    she snagged a boy or three, or three.
  • Danilo Thann, a bard from Forgotten Realms novels by Elaine Cunningham, used to sing these as a part of his Upper-Class Twit image and even wrote some himself. The books include a few fragments of the "Ballad of the Zhentish Raiders" who "kill off all the women / For they much prefer the sheep" and "Elminster's Jest" (see its full lyrics).
  • In Diane Duane's Star Trek novels:
    • In The Wounded Sky, a "bawdy ballad about the (improbable) offspring of the marriage between an Altasa and a Vulcan" is mentioned.
      Oh I was the strangest kiddie that you ever have seen
      My mother, she was orange and my father, he was green...
    • In that same book, we learn that "the filthiest spacers' song" that Captain Kirk knows is called "The Weird-Looking Thing With All The Eyes And The Asteroid-Miner's Daughter".
    • In Honor Blade, a Rihannsu song called "The High Queen's Bastard Daughter" is mentioned twice, but no lyrics are given.
  • In the Castings Trilogy there's one that details the relative merits of girls from different cities. Ash, the son of a pair of folk singers, notes that he learned the song as a child and it took him years to realize just what it was that "the fellows all agree" about girls from Turvite.
  • Thomas Pynchon's books are full of these. It's one of his most notable stylistic tendencies. Gravity's Rainbow actually contains a bawdy song entitled "Bawdy Song".
  • In The Mathematics of Magic by L. Sprague deCamp and Fletcher Pratt, Harold Shea and his companions are captured by The Blatant Beast, and it demands that they recite an epic poem that it hasn't heard before as their ransom for release. The only problem is that the only lengthy poem any of them knows by heart, that the Beast hasn't already heard, is The Ballad of Eskimo Nell.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe has Venusian expert Benny Summerfield reveal that the "Venusian lullaby" the Doctor sings to Aggedor in the Peladon stories is actually "one of the most bawdy rhymes in the known universe". The Doctor replies "Venusian is a language as dead as dead can be. If I say it's a lullaby, it's a lullaby."
  • In Dream Park, Gamers keep each others' spirits up while trekking around the Gaming areas with hearty renditions of the likes of "Cats on the Rooftops", the dirtiest verses of "That Real Old Time Religion", and (of course!) "The Ballad of Eskimo Nell". In its sequel The Barsoom Project, a modest Gamer bribes another not to finish singing the latter in mixed company; the bribe-giver's brother promptly starts singing "Kafoozalem" instead.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, any song that is a favorite of King Robert is probably bawdy. The lyrics aren't always disclosed, but they have titles like "Her Little Flower", "Milady's Supper", "Meggett Was a Merry Maid," "Six Maids in a Pool", and "When Willum's Wife Was Wet". Among the songs whose lyrics are disclosed is "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," which is kind of exactly what it sounds like (but it may also be in-universe political satire). "The Dornishman's Wife" is just as explicit, with references to the Dornish weapon of choice, the "spear".
  • Referenced a couple of times in the Redwall series, but Narrative Profanity Filter blocks most of them. The only one we see is more Gorn, when Blaggut and Slipp consider "Slaughter of the Crew of the Rusty Chain" an appropriate song to sing in front of children.
  • Between Silk and Cyanide. During World War II SOE was using a code based on a poem memorized by an agent. Given that most agents used commonly known poems that they remembered from school, Leo Marks encouraged his code section to make up their own poems to increase security, which got him in trouble with his superiors when someone came across some female decoders writing a dirty ditty about General De Gaulle. Later another superior is unamused when he finds a limerick Marks had written about woman of his acquaintance in The Oldest Profession; Marks quickly assures the officer that the poem was not meant for agents.
  • A group of soldiers sing "Roll Me Over in the Clover" at the end of The Naked and the Dead.
  • In Wolves of the Calla in the Dark Tower series, during the party after the gunslingers arrive, the Calla Bryn Sturgis folk sing a song in their own dialect that the gunslingers can't understand, but Eddie guesses that it's a bawdy song from the people's laughter.
  • Ironically, the well-known "Nantucket" limerick is actually a parody of a much older limerick from The Princeton Tiger in 1902 which isn't dirty at all, but has pretty much been forgotten:
    There once was a man from Nantucket
    Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
    But his daughter, named Nan,
    Ran away with a man
    And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
  • Prince Roger has a scene in which a group of thoroughly inebriated space marines sing a song about someone called "Three-Ball Pete".
  • The Cinder Spires: Retired marine Ferus leads a taproom in a rousing chorus of a ditty known as "Farmer's Long Pickle". The contents of the lyrics are not divulged, beyond that thinking up new verses is a favored pastime on ships, that the best verses have been handed down for generations, and hearing one verse is enough to make Gwendolyn embarrassed, morally outraged and slightly queasy.
  • RCN, a troupe of mummers sings one at the wake for Daniel's Uncle Stacy, a swashbuckling sailor in his own right. It includes one of the very few F-bombs in the series.
  • Most of the chapter headers of Alexis Carew: The Queen's Pardon consist of a stanza from a sea shanty about the events of the book, including at two points a Last-Second Word Swap of "oooooh" for respectively "cock" and "fuck". In the epilogue the admirals are scandalized by it, but Queen Annalise finds it hilarious.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. While in the shower McCarthy sings, A Bisexual Built for Two (a pun on the Daisy Bell lyrics "A bicycle built for two"). Anthony Boucher has the same in The Quest for Saint Aquin where it's A Spacesuit Built for Two.
  • In addition to the quote at the top of the article, Heinlein's short story "The Green Hills of Earth" has old blind Rhysling, the Singer of the Spaceways, as the protagonist. Some of his songs, while not quoted, are referred to as "unfit for publication in a family magazine" by the narrator. A Spacesuit Built For Two is mentioned, so that might be one.
  • The Rocketeers Have Shaggy Ears by Keith Bennett was a sci-fi story written in the 1950's, so he couldn't provide the rest of the lyrics over than the title, only assuring audiences that the ribald Space Marine song was not fit for print.
  • The Name of the Wind: Kvothe gets back at his university nemesis Ambrose Jakis by composing and publicly performing the song "Jackass, Jackass". It becomes quite popular in town with its simple, catchy tune and ribald lyrics about a donkey who wants to become an arcanist.
    "He's a well-bred ass, you can see it in his stride! And for a copper penny he will let you take a ride!"
  • Able Team. In "Amazon Slaughter", the Indian tribe the team have allied themselves with are singing in their own language as they sail down the Amazon. Carl Lyons asks for a translation, but is told the song doesn't make much sense in English.
    "It's about women drinking...drinking too much and wanting the men to lie down with them, but the men drink too much and can't get up, so women get no love."
    Lyons laughed. "Yeah, it makes sense in English."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", a humorous song describing a sexual tryst between the eponymous bear and maiden.
  • In an episode of Hi-de-Hi!, there is panic at the news that Old Partridge, the Punch-and-Judy man who hates children, is singing "Eskimo Nell" in front of the dear ickle kiddiwinks.
  • In an episode of Dad's Army, there is reference to Godfrey singing a song about a monk while in the pub.
    Captain Mainwaring: Well, at least it was a religious song.
    Private Frazer: (rolls eyes meaningfully) It wuznai' rrreligious!
  • Monty Python had a few of these, such as "Sit on My Face" (to the tune of "Sing as We Go"). And the more explicit "Not Noel Coward Song".
  • And "Anything Goes" — the "Anything Goes" by Cole Porter, that is.
  • In The Goodies episode "Wacky Wales", the Goodies realise that the Druids who are about to sacrifice them are, in fact, a rugby team when they start singing "If I Was the Marrying Kind".
  • Blackadder:
    • The episode "Beer" mentions a couple of songs that might be these: the unheard "I'm Merlin the Happy Pig" and the unnamed partly-heard song about a goblin.
    • Edmund's goblin song. Think about it: the "nosey-wose" is a certain something found between men's legs, and the "feet" are two certain somethings on each side of it... And, of course, "Isn't the goblin (gobbling) sweet?" - "YES!!!"
    • Plus one that definitely is:
      Queenie: And [Melchett was] singing a song about a girl who possessed something called a "dickie di-do".
      Edmund: It's a lovely old hymn, isn't it.
      • Interestingly safe, as, unless you'd actually heard the song you wouldn't know for sure what a ''dickie di-do'' was. It's exactly as bad as you might suspect — the following is a relatively tame verse;
        It took a coal miner,
        To find her vagina,
        for the hairs on her dickie-di-do hung down to her knees.
    • Another song that is merely referred to in the fourth season is apparently called "I May Be a Tiny Chimney Sweep but I've Got an Enormous Brush".
  • Jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke made a film called The Boy with the Big Horn which for some reason had to be renamed on release in the UK...
  • When Hans, a Nazi, is trapped in a POW camp in 'Allo 'Allo! he "proves" he's British by beginning to sing "Hitler has only got one ball" before he's interrupted.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? parodies this with the Irish Drinking Song game. Sometimes it fails to be a parody.
  • Period drama Upstairs Downstairs has one of these, and it's Diegetic Soundtrack Usage, at that! In her music hall act, Sarah performs the stately march of the opening theme as a rollicking Bawdy Song, "What Are We Going to Do with Uncle Arthur?" (The complete lyrics are here.)
    What are we going to do with Uncle Arthur?
    A blinking stallion, is Uncle Arthur.
    When he goes a-strolling in the park,
    Watch your step, girls, especially after dark.
    Any old skirt's a flirt to Uncle Arthur,
    He's over eighty, but how he can run!
    "Give us a kiss, my dear," he'd say,
    And tickle you up the boom-di-ay,
    And say it was just an 'armless bit of fun.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • In season three, Joxer sings a bawdy version of his theme song, accompanied by an entire brothel. "Just check out my shoe size", indeed.
    • Also, Gabrielle's little ditty in "Fins, Femmes, and Gems".
  • Parodied on The Gillies Report with a 'politically correct' version of The Good Ship Venus. The first verse went:
    'Twas on the conventionally powered ship Venus,
    By Christ you should've seen us!
    The figurehead
    Wasn't made of lead
    And wasn't shaped like anything in particular!

    [The third verse:]
    The ship's dog name was Big Balls'
    Though no one knew exactly why he was called that.
    There was nothing remarkable about the size of his knackers,
    And the name was gratuitous and offensive.
  • A few lines of different bawdy songs will appear on M*A*S*H every once in a while, most notably one Colonel Potter (a WWII vet) sings:
    Potter: Oh, I love to go swimmin'
    With bow-legged women
    And swim between their legs!
    And swim between—
    (shuts up as Father Mulcahy enters)
  • Fran asks Bernard to sing one of these in Black Books because he is Irish. He refuses, so she attempts one herself, in a very bad Irish accent.
    Oh, Eamonn, Danny, dear,
    I miss the Galway Bay,
    And I'll sing for all I've got!
    And a riddle-diddle Dublin,
    And a riddle-diddle Donegal!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • In "The Starfighters", the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus attempt to follow up their academy hymn with a performance of "The Mademoiselle from Armentières" (a/k/a "Hinky Dinky Parlez-vous").
    • Not the last time a choir of Tom Servos have tried to sneak a bawdy song into the show. In "Quest of the Delta Knights", the Sir Thomas Neville Servo Consort of the Middle-Ages-Just-After-the-Plague Singers follow up their "Aire on a Delta Knight" with one.
      Servo: Oi, mates, let's 'ave a dirty one!
      Girl-Servo: Right!
      Servo, Servo, Servo and Girl-Servo: Oh, I love to mush me buckles in me missus' pigeon pie,
      I love to pop me mashy out and let the bullets fly!
      But most of all, I love to take me scriffer by the hand,
      And deedily-die me jacksies on me dickers, they be grand!
      I love to take me pencil out and scribe into the snow
      A couple o'dozen limericks as dirty as I know...
  • Frasier: Frasier and Niles:
    Well, some boys go to college
    But we think they're all wussies
    'Cause they get all the knowledge
    And we get all the...umpta, umpta, umpta...
  • In Bottom, Richie sings this version of The Sailor's Hornpipe:
    Do your balls hang low?
    Can you swing 'em to and fro?
    Can you tie 'em in a knot?
    Can you tie 'em in a bow?
    Do you get a funny feeling when they're hanging from the ceiling?
    Oh you'll never be a sailor if your balls hang low!
  • In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and its sequels, the gladiators have a song called "My Cock Rages On". This is apparently the only song they know.
  • The Witcher (2019): Jaskier performs "The Fishmonger's Daughter" at Pavetta of Cintra's engagement party.
    Oh fishmonger, oh fishmonger,
    Come quell your daughter's hunger
    To pull on my horn
    As it rises in the morn
    For it's naught but bad luck
    To f*ck with a puck
    Lest your grandkid be born
    A hairy young faun
    Bleating and braying all day, hey ho
    The fishmonger's daughter, ba ba
  • One Piece (2023); Buggy starts singing one about Nami in an effort to get the Straw Hats to like him more.
    Oh, there once was a girl with tangerine hair,
    Stole my map and left me stranded somewhere!
    Truly a crafty and crooked young lass,
    But you can't deny she had a spectacular—
    (Zoro drops his head in a barrel)
    —OWWW! God, right on my nose!

  • Folk Music, full stop. In the words of Granny Weatherwax:
    Granny: I knows all about folk songs. Hah! You think you're listenin' to a nice song about... about cuckoos and fiddlers and nightingales and whatnot, and then it turns out to be about... about something else entirely.
    • A favourite band of Pratchett's, Steeleye Span, are believed to have influenced much of this. The Span took old generally English folk tunes and gave them a folk-rock treatment; Drink Down The Moon is, on the face of it, only about cuckoos and ornithological phenomena. But listen carefully.
  • The comic folk song "Bastity Chelt" is a mild version of a bawdy song, but some of the transpositions are hilarious. Anybody for "Unpick your lock" becoming "Unlick your pock"?
  • Filk music as well since it's the bastard child of Folk Music and sci-fi fandom. The now-infamous song "Banned from Argo" by Leslie Fish is an example.
  • In real life, many songs by The Who have astonishingly risque lyrics ("Pictures of Lily", "Squeeze Box", "Mary Ann with the Shaky Hands" to name but three...) Although in all fairness, "Squeeze Box" is — according to Pete Townshend — a perfectly clean song about a woman who owns an accordion, written to sound like an extended Double Entendre.
  • hide's live-only song "Natural Born Onanist". Fits here since it seems to have been live-only: it was never released as a studio recording.
  • "Sally", by The Police is about a blow up doll ordered from "a special magazine".
  • X Japan has a fair amount of these. Of course there's Orgasm, then there is Stab Me In The Back which is man on man Intercourse with You and Bawdy Song, Standing Sex, and White Poem I, though White Poem is an Obligatory Bondage Song celebrating masochism... all of these are obviously Intercourse with You, but when performed live...
  • Jethro Tull:
    • "Hunting Girl" deliberately weds the ancient traditions of bawdy folk songs with modern rock and roll.
    • "Kissing Willie" is even less subtle.
      Nice girl but a bad girl's better.
      Me and Willie just can't help coming when she calls.
  • Samantha Fox's songs are definitely this trope. The titles of her songs might be enough to clarify.
  • AC/DC
  • The ending of The Decemberists' "Chimbley Sweep" made listeners do a bit of a double take, as it took at least five listens to figure out this was a bawdy song.
    • Let's not forget "A Cautionary Song" either...
    • Or "Billy Liar." "Decked by a Japanese Geisha with a garland of pearls," indeed.
    • Come to think of it, The Tain is pretty bawdy at times too. Fuck it, let's just say Colin Meloy has a dirty mind.
    • Seriously. Let's not forget the loquacious euphemisms scattered all throughout the Hazards of Love. "Here we died our little deaths," "bent to brush our blushing knees," "Margaret heaves a sigh, her hands clasped to her thigh," "I was wedded and it whetted my thirst..." Need we go on?
    • Meloy is pretty much the king of eloquent sex references. He manages to put them in just about every song, somehow making a melancholy tune about two gay prostitutes sound like poetry.
  • Nick Cave' Easy Money is a narrative about a male prostitute. The lyric "He kissed me on the mouth / His hands they headed south / And my cheek it burned" is too subtle for some to completely give it away.
  • Probably the songs Dropkick Murphys are best known for, including "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced" and "The Spicy McHaggis Jig" ("Spicy was big, burly, and strong / His pipes were gigantic and so was his schlong / From city to city, running around / Always looking for chicks over four hundred pounds.")
  • Kevin Bloody Wilson. Go and look him up on YouTube.
  • "Zombie Prostitute" and "Cantina", both by Voltaire and neither safe for work.
  • There is a famous bawdy parody of Cole Porter's "You're the Top," including such lines as, "You're the burning heat of a bridal suite in use."
  • Then there is (are?) "Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy" by Thomas D'Urfey in six volumes, first published between 1698 and 1720. This is a collection of songs, a rather large proportion of which are quite bawdy. Ed McCurdy mined them for much of the contents of his records (LPs) for bawdy songs on the Electra label, starting with "When Dalliance Was In Flower (and Maidens Lost Their Heads)", in three volumes, followed by "Son of Dalliance", and others. The books have been reprinted at least twice, once in 1876 and again in 1959 (in a limited edition). They now seem to be available as print-on-demand books.
  • The Sex Pistols' "Friggin' In The Riggin'" which is perhaps the best-known version of the old song "The Good Ship Venus."
  • There are loads of bawdy songs from older times; many were "catches" - rounds which, when all the parts were added in, had dirty lyrics start to pop out of otherwise clean verses. Others were just blatantly filthy; still others were "clean"-ish when explained, such as My Man John.
  • Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is filled with bawdy song, much as the original text was.
  • Any number of rap songs, infamously. (Not all are this, but many are—matter of fact, there's a whole subgenre called Dirty Rap, where sexually explicit lyrics dominate.)
  • Anti-Nowhere League's "So What?" (famously covered by Metallica).
  • Jonathan Coulton's "First of May." The whole song is basically about how spring is here, so it's warm enough to have sex outdoors. The narrator and his girlfriend go to a park and have sex with everyone they meet there.
    • Beautifully Subverted Rhyme - the expected word would be "Love," to rhyme to "grass below you, sky above".
  • The Captain's Wife's Lament. Sea-men everywhere.
  • Ivor Biggun does a great number of these including such gems as "Cue for a Song" which purports to be a traditional Bawdy Song about an old pool player who loses his balls on a cold and wintry night.
  • This was the entire point of Tommy Lee's side project Methods of Mayhem.
  • Khia's "My Neck, My Back (Lick It)".
  • Da Vinci's Notebook: My Enormous Penis Go on, guess what it's about.
  • The Poxy Boggards sing so many of them they've come out with an album full of them, entitled "Bawdy Parts".
  • David Allan Coe, with some help by Shel Silverstein penned and recorded two albums, Underground Album and Nothing Sacred, which largely consisted of these songs. "Little Susie Shallow-Throat" and "(I Love) Itty-Bitty Titties" are two of the songs, to provide an example.
  • Mojo Nixon has several, most notoriously "Tie My Pecker to My Leg."
  • Sir Reginald Pikedevant, steampunk enthusiast, has a nice little number extolling the virtues of his Marvellous Organ.
  • Frank Zappa also has his fair share of bawdy songs and tracks: "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" (Joe's Garage), "I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth" (Zappa in New York), "Let's Make The Water Turn Black" (about two people he knew in high school who collected urine and boogers) (We're Only in It for the Money), "Do You Like My New Car?" (about a band member and a groupie) (Fillmore East, June 1971), "Penis Dimension" (200 Motels), "Dirty Love", "Dinah-Moe Humm" (Over-Nite Sensation), "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes", "Bobby Brown Goes Down", "Jewish Princess", "Jones' Crusher"(Sheik Yerbouti), "Ms. Pinky" (about a sex doll) (Zoot Allures), "G-Spot Tornado" (The Yellow Shark),...
  • Big Black has an entire album devoted to the subject: Songs About Fucking.
  • Deep Purple has "Knocking at Your Back Door". It is not about a house.
  • Dreamtale's "Secret Door," a song about anal sex done in epic Power Metal style.
  • Karen Finley's "Tales of Taboo". (Warning: extremely NSFW)
  • "Ballad of Lydia Pinkham", which proclaims her vegetable compound's supposed "cures" for everything from infertility to penis size.
  • Eminem's "FACK", a song about Slim having sex with a girl who shoves a gerbil up his ass. Widely considered to be the worst song he ever wrote. He himself claims he was on Ambien when he wrote it.
  • tool: While the band is no stranger to sexual and scatalogical metaphors, their Hidden Track on Salival, "Maynard's Dick," is obviously just a silly bit of fluff. If lyrics that implore you to "slide a mile six inches at a time on Maynard's dick" don't clue you in, the closing chorus of burping and farting noises are a clear signal not to take it seriously.
  • Guns N' Roses have many sexual songs, but "Cornchucker" (NSFW lyrics!), only performed once, is an extreme case.

  • The Howard Stern Show has a whole bunch of these about Robin Quivers. A notable one is "I Want Robin's Bunghole" to the tune of "Welcome to The Jungle".
  • A fairly mild verse or two of one of these these (well, compared to some of the others) is used in the radio play All Is Calm. Since everything else in the play is based off of actual historical text from the time period, which is the very beginning of World War One, it's probably legit, but surrounded by all the other Christmas hymns and accounts of trench life it's one of the funniest moments in the entire thing. The loud Christmas songs drowning out the dirty bits of each verse don't help either.
  • A skit in I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again parodying Listen With Mother (a BBC children's show) presented a song by an Irish folk group. The show's host, appalled at the song's increasingly-bawdy lyrics, finally cleared the group out of the studio by reminding them that the pubs had just opened (at which point they suddenly stampeded off).
  • On Round the Horne there was Kenneth Williams' character of Rambling Syd Rumpo, an itinerant folk singer of questionable old English ballads packed with double entendre and general murkiness.

  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan's classic play, The School for Scandal (1777) features one of these. It sounds mild today, naturally, due to changing language and values.
    Verse: Here's to the charmer whose dimples we prize; Now to the maid who has none, sir; Here's to the girl with a pair of blue eyes, And here's to the nymph with but one, sir.
    Chorus: Let the toast pass, Drink to the lass, I warrant she'll prove an excuse for a glass!
  • Sheridan also wrote a poem titled the Geranium which is kind of similar to the Pratchett rhubarb example. In both cases, the plant the woman is interested in is likely something else.
  • In the Australian musical "A Man's Gotta Do What A Man's Gotta Do", the character Muzza recounts his teenage years via masturbation with "The Wanking" (It was free/It was fun/It was more than I'd been banking on)
  • In Hamlet, after Ophelia goes insane, she starts singing these.
  • In Othello, Desdemona's "Willow Tree" song, though not bawdy by today's standards, would have been considered a bit risque in Elizabethan times due to its subject matter.
  • Speaking of Shakespeare, the Elizabethan bawdy song "Watkin's Ale" (That's just the tune, you pervs) became so popular that "a tale of Watkin's ale" was used to denote the entire genre.
  • In a sort of meta-example, the song 'Oom Pah-Pah' from the musical Oliver! both refers to this kind of song and is a very mild example itself.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan of all people manage to slip one of these in to Princess Ida as Cyril (plastered and in drag while infiltrating a womens university) sings to an audience of startled students and teachers. Surprisingly this isn't the incident that actually gets him found out either.
  • And then there's the infamous Earl of Rochester and his 1673 ode to a Signior Dildo.
  • Swedish poet and famous songwriter Carl-Michael Bellman wrote copious amounts of these songs. As well as incredibly emotional and touching songs and often songs were one turns into the other.
  • In Leonard Bernstein's opera A Quiet Place, one of the characters has a psychotic episode where he starts cheerfully singing about how he had "sexy intercourse" with his sister and they "used to do it all the time" and they're Not Blood Siblings and so on.

    Video Games 
  • The Sims:
    • In the Sims 2 Freetime expansion pack, you can unlock the ability to sing a "Rowdy Folk Song". It's actually just "Row, row, row your boat" in Simlish. Of course, as it's Simlish, it could be incredibly sexually explicit and nobody would know.
    • The Sims Medieval has "Ne'er to Woohoo Again" as one of the songs a Bard character can sing.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Ghost of a Tale has a minstrel for a player character, and naturally one of the songs in his repertoire is one of these. "The Rat with Two Tails" involves a badger queen, her knickers, and a rat with, well, think about it. (One suspects it might be a lot longer than is shown, but Tilo edits for time and decency.)
  • The Sound Off "quote" upon building a Network Node in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is one of these when you think about it:
    ''I don't know but I've been told
    Deirdre's got a Network Node
    Likes to press the on-off switch
    Dig that crazy Gaian witch!
    — Spartan Barracks March (Yes sir!)
    • Similarly the secret project The Cyborg Factory has the following limerick:
      A handsome young Cyborg named Ace,
      Wooed women at every base,
      But once ladies glanced at
      His special enhancement
      They vanished with nary a trace.
      — Barracks Graffiti, Sparta Command
  • In South Park: The Stick of Truth, Jimmy the Bard casts a buff spell by singing a bawdy song about "The Maiden of Stonebury Hollow" ("...who was also Your Mom").
  • Red Dead Redemption II has several of the campfire songs sung by the Van der Linde gang, particularly those sung during celebrations such as after the rescues of Sean MacGuire and Jack Marston, as well as the Ozark folk song "I've Got a Girl/Gal in Berryville" sung by Karen, Tilly, and Mary-Beth while driving the wagon during "Polite Society, Valentine Style".
  • In the Twilight Highlands of World of Warcraft, Alliance players must unite the bickering clans of Wildhammer dwarves, so a wedding between two of the most ardent feuders is planned. For the wedding, the bard enlists the help of the player to write a fitting song for the occasion, which can be "bawdy," "romantic," or "silly." The bawdiest version of the song speaks of the bride's "man-crushing thighs," the groom's "love for [her] chest," and both of them together being "tight."

    Visual Novels 
  • The Heist: Monaco: In one of the premium choices in chapter 13, you can ask your hacker to play a rap with dirty words describing explicit sexual acts after hacking Ansel's cell phone.

    Web Comics 
  • After getting roaring drunk at the funeral of Skull Ridges, Digger apparently tried to teach the hyenas a wombat song of this nature.
    hyena: What was that song she was teaching us, anyway? About the milkmaid and the thrust fault?
  • Longtime troper Hasher Britarse (a.k.a. Britarse) maintains a whole webcomic of these songs here: Britarse's Hash Hymnal
  • Unsounded: In chapter 14, Duane and Lemuel sing a song to the other soldiers in their unit about how Soud girls are better than girls from the other castes. It has everyone laughing. It's also very very dirty.

    Web Original 
  • Anything on (Mostly very desperate attempts at this)
  • The Jack Horntip Collection compiles almost 1600 recordings of people singing what they recall of the folk songs they grew up with (from the military, sports teams, fraternities, gangs, etc.), which are very often these. Sample titles: "The Sexual Life of the Camel," "Are You Going To Get A Hard-on (So Suck Me Off)," "Tit Punctured By a Spoke," and many less printable.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In episode "Deep Space Homer", Homer tries to impress the NASA observers by doing cartwheels while singing a "I once met a man from Nantucket" limerick. He crashes into the wall before he can get to the bawdy part, however.
    • While a rarely-sobered up Barney Gumble manages to cartwheel all the way up through the first verses of the "Major-General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy Operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
    • The same limerick is referred to in another episode:
      "Hey, I once knew a man from Nantucket."
      "Let's just say the stories about him are greatly exaggerated."
  • In a similar vein, there was a Mouseketeers take-off on Tiny Toon Adventures where a wheel would be spun to see who would get the next cartoon.
    Babs: Buster, would you like to lead us in the song?
    Buster: Sure! There once was a man from Nantucket —
    Babs: No, no, the other song!
  • A very popular dirty song to allude to in cartoons, that onenote . Even SpongeBob SquarePants gets in on the act, in the episode where SpongeBob attempts to sing an apology to Squidward onstage at the local opera. He even has his lyrics prepared on a sheet of paper...
    SpongeBob: (clears throat) There once was a man from Nantucket —
    Audience: [horrified gasps]
    SpongeBob: (embarrassed pause) Erm, sorry...
  • Dirty Old Man Iroh of Avatar: The Last Airbender sings a kids' version of this trope while panhandling.
    It's a long, long way to Ba Sing Se
    But the girls in the city they look so pretty
    And they kiss so sweet that you've really got to meet
    The girls from Ba Sing Se!
  • In The Legend of Vox Machina, bard Scanlan Shorthalt's repertoire includes multiple lewd numbers.


Video Example(s):


Clean as a Whistle

Moral Guardian Mary Whitehouse endorses an album of rugby songs, now cleaned up so that the whole family can enjoy them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / Bowdlerise

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