Donielle Flynn

Doni got a selfie with Joel-Gene. Look out for those tongue twister song lyrics!

Celebrate 5 songs with tongue-twister lyrics from the WCSX classic rock library (plus a bonus) in honor of National Tongue Twister Day!

“Betty bought some bitter butter but it made her batter bitter. So she bought some better butter and it made her batter better.” That is one of my all-time go-to tongue-twisters. There’s also the classic, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” OH! AND! “Sally sells seashells by the seashore.” Trying saying any of these three times fast.  I speak for a living and they are a challenge for me. lol  what are the tongue twisters you remember from your childhood?

When it comes to songs with tongue twister lyrics, I noticed a common theme: STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS.  In researching the inspiration behind these songs, most authors made reference to this concept.  In the case of Billy Joel, he wrote the lyrics before the music which is why he explains that the song has no melody.

I loved tongue twisters when I was a child.  I still find them interesting.  Tongue twisters are verbal challenges… and so are these song lyrics.  From Aerosmith to R.E.M.: can you say them three times fast?

5 Songs with Tongue-Twister Lyrics

  • "Mama Kin" - Aerosmith

    “Steven Tyler came up with the lyrics using a technique he often used in his early years. He would take some Tuinal pills and scat out sounds into a recorder while Joe Perry played guitar. Tyler would then listen to the playback and add real words to the scat sounds.” – Songfacts

    It ain’t easy, livin’ like a gypsy
    Tell ya, honey, how I feel
    I’ve been dreaming
    Floatin’ down stream and
    Losin’ touch with all that is real
    Whole earth lover, keepin’ under cover
    Never knowin’ where ya been
    You’ve been fadin’, always out paradin’
    Keepin’ touch with Mama Kin

  • "We Didn't Start The Fire" - Billy Joel

    Billy Joel has admitted in interviews that he doesn’t love performing this song live because he has a hard time remembering the words… justifiably.

    Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
    South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

    Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
    North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

    Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
    Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”

    Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
    Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

  • "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Fell Fine)" - R.E.M.

    In an interview with Q Magazine, Michael Stipe said of this song, “The words come from everywhere. I’m extremely aware of everything around me, whether I am in a sleeping state, awake, dream state, or just in day-to-day life. There’s a part in ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ that came from a dream where I was at Lester Bangs’ birthday party and I was the only person there whose initials weren’t L.B. So there was Lenny Bruce, Leonid Brezhnev, Leonard Bernstein… So that ended up in the song along with a lot of stuff I’d seen when I was flipping TV channels. It’s a collection of streams of consciousness.”

    Six o’clock, T.V. hour, don’t get caught in foreign tower
    Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn
    Lock him in uniform, book burning, bloodletting
    Every motive escalate, automotive incinerate
    Light a candle, light a motive, step down, step down
    Watch your heel crush, crush, uh oh
    This means no fear, cavalier, renegade and steering clear
    A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies
    Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline

  • "Black Betty" - Ram Jam

    The song is a traditional blues song.  Led Belly did it 1949 and it was well received.  Ram Jam put their spin on it in 1977.  It was their only hit, but the song definitely jams.

    Black Betty had a child, bam-ba-lam
    The damn thing gone wild, bam-ba-lam
    She said, “I’m worryin’ outta mind”, bam-ba-lam
    The damn thing gone blind, bam-ba-lam
    I said, oh, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam
    Whoa, Black Betty, bam-ba-lam

  • "Subterranean Homesick Blues" - Bob Dylan

    Tongue twister lyrics seem to have a common theme: stream of consciousness.

    Johnny’s in the basement
    Mixing up the medicine
    I’m on the pavement
    Thinking about the government
    The man in the trench coat
    Badge out, laid off
    Says he’s got a bad cough
    Wants to get it paid off
    Look out kid
    It’s somethin’ you did
    God knows when
    But you’re doing it again

  • "One Week" - Barenaked Ladies

    I think this song is SO FUN… but I’ll never sing it at a karaoke night.

    You try to match wits, you try to hold me but I bust through
    Gonna make a break and take a fake
    I’d like a stinking aching shake
    I like vanilla, it’s the finest of the flavors
    Gotta see the show, ’cause then you’ll know
    The vertigo is gonna grow
    ‘Cause it’s so dangerous, you’ll have to sign a waiver

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