Bottles on the wall

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Jun 27 18:25:58 UTC 2004

The British version of the song is:

Ten green bottles, hangin' on the wall
Ten green bottles, hangin' on the wall
And if one green bottle should accident'ly fall
There'd be nine green bottles hangin' on the wall.

At least, I assume it's pan-British, since it's the only version of the song I
ever heard growing up.  Maybe it would be more honest to describe it as the
'English' version.

Anyway, the numbers of bottles can be altered to almost anything depending on
how long you want your song to be, but the default version is ten, and there's
never any beer involved.

The tune is clearly different from the tune of the American version, since the
metre is different, but it's actually very similar in style.  It's also used in
the same contexts:  primarily camp-fire singing, but also in other situations
where a lot of people are together with limited other stimuli and have to amuse
themselves, like on school 'bus trips.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

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