[Ads-l] Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am

Stanton McCandlish smccandlish at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 9 10:53:18 UTC 2020

There's a longer version of this rhyme that I remember from around 7th
grade (I'm in my 50s now):

Wham, bam
Thank you ma'am
Hot damn
Slammin' ham

It's from the song "Back Door Man" (1975) by Black Oak Arkansas. I did a
little bit of digging around, and this seems to be unrelated to the Willie
Dixon song of the same title (first recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1960, and
later by The Doors, among others). Dixon's was hardly the first to use term
"back door man" to refer to a man sleeping with someone else's wife; it's a
blues motif with a long history (and pre-dates the anal-sex meaning of
"back door", I think).

Another variant of the chorus in the BAO song goes:

Wham, bam
Thank you ma'am
Hot damn
Back door man

Anyway, I would not be surprised if "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" pre-dates
BAO's 1975 track, though I think that was probably the vector of its
introduction into general pop culture.

Stanton McCandlish
McCandlish Consulting
5400 Foothill Blvd Suite B
Oakland CA 94601-5516

+1 415 234 3992


On Fri, May 8, 2020 at 5:03 PM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>

> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wham,_bam,_thank_you_ma'am <
> https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wham,_bam,_thank_you_ma'am>
> Denoting swift, formulaic, and unromantic sexual intercourse.
> https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wham%20bam%20thank%20you%20maam
> <
> https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wham%20bam%20thank%20you%20maam
> >
> Mostly the same meaning.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZnZtqDehY <
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZnZtqDehY>
> Plan With Me: Project Based Learning
> A sequence starts at 24:10, in which the YouTuber finds the book she wants
> at the top of the list on her first try and exclaims, “Bam! Wham, bam,
> thank you, ma’am!”
> She seems either unaware of the expression or just lets it roll off as a
> rhyme while her brain is engaged on something else. The video has 38K views
> at this point.
> Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
> Formerly of Seattle, WA
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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