Corny Choruses

bigjonbigjon Shipmate
As an offshoot from the Sneaking non-church music into the church band thread, as suggested by @Eutychus, here's a thread for our fondly-remembered naffest choruses of all time, that we remain amazed ever made it into wide circulation.

My starter is His Banner Over Me Is Love, the twee tune for which made it into Mission Praise with the title Father I Place Into Your Hands, but before that had as its first verse "I am my beloved and He is mine" 3 times each followed by the titular refrain - fair enough, a verse from Song of Songs.

The problem was that subsequent verses of the song took utterly random verses from the bible and repeated them also 3 times with the refrain "And His banner over me is love" each time. One example was "He is the vine and we are the branches And His Banner over me is love"

At the Church Of England Pathfinder Youth Camp I attended, we took this one stage further by singing the strangest bible verses we could come up with, so we had -
"The fat closed over the hilt of the dagger And His Banner over me is love"
"Get out of here you bald-headed man And His Banner over me is love"
"The dog returns to the site of its vomit And His Banner over me is love"
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Comments

  • From the same era “Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart.” Each verse exactly the same excepting the first word, which was sung on a low note and as part of three lead in quavers (half notes for the Americans). Utterly banal.

    Love I the fla flown high from the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart.
    Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart
    For the king is in residence there.

    So let it fly in the sky let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know
    That the king is in residence there.

    Repeat with the words joy and peace.

    (Seeking the vomit emoji)
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Cathscats wrote: »
    From the same era “Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart.” Each verse exactly the same excepting the first word, which was sung on a low note and as part of three lead in quavers (half notes for the Americans). Utterly banal.

    Love I the fla flown high from the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart.
    Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart
    For the king is in residence there.

    So let it fly in the sky let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know
    That the king is in residence there.

    Repeat with the words joy and peace.

    (Seeking the vomit emoji)

    Ah yes, and all of a sudden the earworm that is Psalty and his Singalong Songbook rises unbidden from the depths of my suppressed memory -

    I've got that Joy Joy Joy Joy
    down in my heart (Wheeeare?)
    down in my heart (Wheeeare?)
    down in my heart
    I've got that Joy Joy Joy Joy
    down in my heart (Wheeeare?)
    down in my heart to stay
  • Dreadful things are surfacing from the depths of my unconscious...

    If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!
    If you're happy and you know it, {perform any number of idiotic movements]...
    If you're happy and you know it, (like you'd be unaware, I suppose?)
    Then your face will surely show it, (bullshit)
    If you're happy and you know it,
    [Do another series of damn stupid motions].

    To provide context: I was young and in the depths of clinical depression, and being publicly singled out at a Baptist summer camp weekend for not doing all the bloody motions. And I hadn't the cojones yet to say, "I'm bloody miserable, you jackasses!"
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Don't have a face like a coffee-pot (coffee-pot)
    Coffee-pots are long and thin ...

    (Prepares to be thrown to the sharks ...)
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Don't have a face like a coffee-pot (coffee-pot)
    Coffee-pots are long and thin ...

    (Prepares to be thrown to the sharks ...)

    I’d managed to block that on and now it’s coming back to me. NOOOO,

    I hope the sharks are ravenous.
  • Eutychus wrote: »

    Oh, gag me with a spoon!
  • In my house, the baby-change song is If You’re Nappy and You Know it (for the benefit of North American shippies: a nappy is the British word for a diaper. We also have Pharrell Williams’ hit Nappy – clap your hands if you know that nappiness is the truth.)

    Back on topic, the chorus I found the most banal was Kendrick’s I’m special. In my mind it shall forever be the Ralph Wiggum song.
  • Worse still, I've known charismatic preachers who have extemporised unprepared sermons around some of these songs ...

    Bigjon, I'll sue.

    You've opened up memories I've tried to suppress ...
  • I think that If I were a butterfly hasn't quite died yet ...
  • How about Deep and Wide?
  • Eutychus wrote: »

    Oh, gag me with a spoon!

    I forgot to mention that's from the move Josie and the Pussycats and the character is the stereotypical Dumb Blonde. The way she's surprised when she drops her sponge each time she claps her hands gets me every time.
  • I was taught by my grandmother:

    I am H A P P Y
    I am H A P P Y
    I know I am
    I'm sure I am
    I am H A P P Y

    Sounds innocuous and not really religious until you get to the verse

    I am S A V E D
    I am S A V E D
    I know I am
    I'm sure I am
    I am S A V E D

    Then there must surely be a special place for collection choruses such as:

    Dropping, Dropping
    hear the pennies fall
    every one for Jesus
    He shall have them all.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited November 5
    bigjon wrote: »
    Cathscats wrote: »
    From the same era “Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart.” Each verse exactly the same excepting the first word, which was sung on a low note and as part of three lead in quavers (half notes for the Americans). Utterly banal.

    Love I the fla flown high from the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart,
    From the castle of my heart.
    Love is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart
    For the king is in residence there.

    So let it fly in the sky let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    Let the whole world know
    So let it fly in the sky, let the whole world know
    That the king is in residence there.

    Repeat with the words joy and peace.

    (Seeking the vomit emoji)

    Ah yes, and all of a sudden the earworm that is Psalty and his Singalong Songbook rises unbidden from the depths of my suppressed memory -

    So Psalty was a thing? I only encountered him once, when some neighbours took me to their Pentecostal church for the Christmas pageant. As I recall, the musical production was called Psalty's Christmas Calamity, but I can't for the life of me remember what the nature of the calamity was, or how Psalty rose to the occassion. Just that Psalty was some sort of an non-human creature, I think, played by a guy in a yellow costume.

    I believe that that event was also the one and only place I have ever heard Give Me That Old Time Religion, which, to get with the theme of the thread, struck me as a really stupid song. I mean, I get that you don't wanna get bogged down in intellectual arguments and counterarguments for belief, but "It was good enough grandma" seems to be taking things a little far in the other direction.

    (The neighbours were otherwise nice people, as far as neighbours go. The old man helped me retrieve my pet rabbit from the bushes once.)

  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I was taught by my grandmother:

    I am H A P P Y
    I am H A P P Y
    I know I am
    I'm sure I am
    I am H A P P Y

    Sounds innocuous and not really religious until you get to the verse

    I am S A V E D
    I am S A V E D
    I know I am
    I'm sure I am
    I am S A V E D

    Our University Christian Union - like most - was a member of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (now the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship). We rather prided ourselves on our Good Evangelical Theology (over against the "Liberal" Student Christian Movement and the "woolly" MethSoc and AngSoc. The Catholics, of course, were beyond the pale).

    Anyway, our version went:

    I'm S O U N D
    I'm S O U N D
    I know I am
    I'm sure I am
    I'm IVF, you see!

    Hmmm ...

  • stetson wrote: »
    I believe that that event was also the one and only place I have ever heard Give Me That Old Time Religion, which, to get with the theme of the thread, struck me as a really stupid song. I mean, I get that you don't wanna get bogged down in intellectual arguments and counterarguments for belief, but "It was good enough grandma" seems to be taking things a little far in the other direction.

    Someone (maybe Joseph Campbell?) added some hilarious verses to that song. One was, "We will worship like the Druids,/ drinking strange fermented fluids,/ running naked through the wuids,/ and it's good enough for me!"

  • I think that If I were a butterfly hasn't quite died yet ...

    I LOVE that song.
    And I’m the most miserable git to ever miserable.
  • I should like to nominate..ooh, about a hundred million songs.
    But I’ll start with...

    Your love is a-MAZ-ING, for the second verse.
    Your love is surprising
    I can feel is rising
    All the joy that’s growing deep inside of me
    Every time I see you
    All your goodness shines through
    I can feel this god song
    Rising up in me

    Fnarrrr fnarrrrrr fnarrrr.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
    With faces all aglow,
    Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
    Where heavenly breezes blow,
    Turn, turn your back on doubting
    Looking to the sky,
    Climb, climb up sunshine mountain
    You and I!

    Showing my age now, but I remember my Sunday school at a little chapel singing the above, I am HAPPY and I Know It, plus Jesus Bids Us Shine, Joshua at the Battle of Jericho and Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, all sung with actions.
  • I think that If I were a butterfly hasn't quite died yet ...

    I LOVE that song.
    And I’m the most miserable git to ever miserable.

    Me too. Me and my girls (12 and 14) still sing it to each other. Elder even made a home-made octopus costume and boogied in it with the other (younger) kids in front of church not so long ago. It's been a bit of a thing.

    In a Crusader class a million years ago, we learnt 'Thhhheeeeee fruitsofthSpiritarelovejoypeace (BIG INHALE) patiencegoodnesskindness, faithfullnessgentlenessselfcontrol, forsuchthereisnolaw'. Lots of council estate kids in inner Manchester now know that song. I hope Mr and Mrs Maycock are looking down approvingly.

    As a means to test bullshit religion, I know no better.
  • Thinking of Crusaders ... does "304 and 305 and 304 again" ring any bells?
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    @Jemima the 9th I can never understand how people sing that with a straight face.

    Likewise Matt Redman's Wedding Night, viz.:

    When the music fades,
    All is stripped away,
    And I simply come ...
  • I may have posted this before, as it has been locked in my memory since I was four or five at the Infant School and will probably be one of the last things to go:

    Over the sea there are little brown children
    Mothers and fathers and babies dear
    They have not heard of the father in Heaven
    They have not heard that God is near
    Swift send the message over the water
    Telling the children that God is near
    .

    It came back to life when I heard the Tannahill Weavers, who play an instrumental piece called The Carronside Set that is surely too close to its tune to be a coincidence. Thinking about it, its message might be reversed now. But that's another discussion.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Talking of old time religion, anyone familiar with Woody Guthrie (and others) singing Ezekiel Saw the Wheel? Song, singer, the whole band - sound completely off their faces.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited November 5
    Ricardus wrote: »
    @Jemima the 9th I can never understand how people sing that with a straight face.

    Likewise Matt Redman's Wedding Night, viz.:

    When the music fades,
    All is stripped away,
    And I simply come ...
    Not a chorus, but a nineteenth century hymn that has understandably dropped out of churches' repertoires these days. It includes the theologically worthy lines, but lines a modern congregation could not, alas, sing with a straight face,
    "Behold the Bridegroom cometh
    in the middle of the night,
    And blest is he whose loins are girt,
    whose lamp is burning bright;"


    Less suggestive, but still fairly bizarre, and this one is a chorus, and likewise, founded in worthy theology, there is a chorus with this immortal line. I have to admit I've only seen it in books. I've never heard it sung,
    "Pierce my ear Lord ... "
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited November 5
    Contra the soccer moms, one of the advantages of living in a hypersexualized culture is that school officials today are probably savvy enough not to give lyrics like these to middle school kids for singing. The part beginning at 0:40 was pretty much the comedic highlight of the paraliturgy for us.

  • Ricardus wrote: »
    @Jemima the 9th I can never understand how people sing that with a straight face.
    Same here, I’m afraid. We never could. (And it must be 35+ years since I thought of that song.)

    I’ll admit that most of the choruses mentioned here are unfamiliar to me. But I’m a little surprised no one has mentioned “Pass It On (It Only Takes a Spark).” That’s another one we never could get through with a straight face.

  • Firenze wrote: »
    Talking of old time religion, anyone familiar with Woody Guthrie (and others) singing Ezekiel Saw the Wheel? Song, singer, the whole band - sound completely off their faces.

    I had to look this up to make sense of its origin, and have concluded that, Ezekiel being a prophet and all, he had a vision foretelling the development of the epicyclic gearbox, and what with all the supernatural stuff going on with it, he actually must have seen the very first automatic transmission. If he and Elijah had got together they'd have had an amazing chariot between them. I'm really grateful to you and Woody Guthrie for helping to uncover this important historical fact.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    Talking of old time religion, anyone familiar with Woody Guthrie (and others) singing Ezekiel Saw the Wheel? Song, singer, the whole band - sound completely off their faces.

    I had to look this up to make sense of its origin, and have concluded that, Ezekiel being a prophet and all, he had a vision foretelling the development of the epicyclic gearbox, and what with all the supernatural stuff going on with it, he actually must have seen the very first automatic transmission. If he and Elijah had got together they'd have had an amazing chariot between them. I'm really grateful to you and Woody Guthrie for helping to uncover this important historical fact.

    FWIW, Vaughan Williams wrote an anthem called 'A vision of aeroplanes' based on that passage in Ezekiel.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Not a chorus, but a nineteenth century hymn that has understandably dropped out of churches' repertoires these days. It includes the theologically worthy lines, but lines a modern congregation could not, alas, sing with a straight face,
    "Behold the Bridegroom cometh
    in the middle of the night,
    And blest is he whose loins are girt,
    whose lamp is burning bright;"

    Actually not a 19th century hymn but a translation/paraphrase of a text from the Great Horologion (so probably late 8th century), made by an English priest Gerard Moultrie. The full text can be found at number 3 in The English Hymnal, just before another fine Advent hymn, Great God, what do I see and hear!.
  • Yeah that’s a standard hymn for Eastern Orthodox Holy Monday. As I recall, the original means something like “blessed is that servant whom he shall find watching.”
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Be that as it may, @TheOrganist have you ever encountered its being sung in recent times?

    The calibre of the ideas that it expresses means that modern English usage should make it a prime candidate for a new translation. Preferably that should be to the same metre (DCM). Then it will still fit the MacFarren tune and 2nd Mode Melody which I think is the tune the English Hymnal prefers.

    Is there anyone out there with access to the Greek text, knowledge of Byzantine Greek, songwriting ability, and sufficient sensitivity to modern English language of the street sufficient to avoid the clangers who could have a go?
  • SirPalomidesSirPalomides Shipmate
    edited November 6
    There are several English language translations out there- the issue is, they do not fit to Western ideas of meter. A lot of Byzantine hymns are written to fit the rhythm of a previous “model melody” so they do not look like what we would normally recognize as poetry. That is, they are prose poems.

    Here’s a translation of the Bridegroom hymn: Behold the bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is that servant whom he shall find watching. Unworthy is he whom he shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, o my soul, lest you be found asleep, lest you be given up to death and be shut out from the kingdom. But rather rouse yourself and cry, Holy, Holy, Holy are you, our God. Through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.

    So take that and rewrite it to fit some 18th century English pub song and you’ll have a winner.
  • The consensus behind the scenes is that you'll all be freer to say exactly what you think about Corny Choruses and related subjects in Hell. Hold onto your hats and get your asbestos undies on ...

    Alan
    Ship of Fools Admin
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Oh God.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    @Jemima the 9th I can never understand how people sing that with a straight face.

    Likewise Matt Redman's Wedding Night, viz.:

    When the music fades,
    All is stripped away,
    And I simply come ...

    😂
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Admittedly, playing a porn soundtrack bow-chicka-wa-wa over anything that Redman has written would probably improve it.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited November 6
    I rather like 'Ezekiel Saw De Wheel' (well, the tune, anyhow), so here's a slightly less lunatic version by Louis Armstrong:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=4xzQdN5uoNE

    I loathe 'I'm H-A-P-P-Y etc.'. If you sing it really slooooooooooowly, it becomes a most mournful Dirge.....
    :cry:
  • I rather like 'Ezekiel Saw De Wheel' (well, the tune, anyhow), so here's a slightly less lunatic version by Louis Armstrong:
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=4xzQdN5uoNE

    I loathe 'I'm H-A-P-P-Y etc.'. If you sing it really slooooooooooowly, it becomes a most mournful Dirge.....
    :cry:

    Do you remember Surgical Spirit?
  • I love the story of the all boys boarding school that had a visiting preacher from a local church. He was a youth worker who believed the way to get through to young people was by playing the guitar so, halfway through, he started singing them a song based on the reading - the parable of the Wedding Banquet. Chapel had to be abandoned when he tried to get them to sing the chorus: "I cannot come".
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    I'm just so bloody disappointed that at our new 'liberal' evangelical church 'In Christ Alone' was sung. The wrath of Martin and Mrs. Wife wasn't satisfied.
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    I'm just so bloody disappointed that at our new 'liberal' evangelical church 'In Christ Alone' was sung. The wrath of Martin and Mrs. Wife wasn't satisfied.

    Not Corny though, is it? Just theologically not to your liking.

    A modern candidate for the coveted Corny Chorus accolade is the mangled metaphor that is My Lighthouse - if "I will follow you" I'm going to come a cropper on the cliff-face pretty quickly, and I've yet to meet the lighthouse that could "carry me safe to sho-o-o-o-o-o-ore"
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    I'm just so bloody disappointed that at our new 'liberal' evangelical church 'In Christ Alone' was sung. The wrath of Martin and Mrs. Wife wasn't satisfied.

    I can put up with a passing reference to PSA for the line "no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand".

    Also, Stuart Townend bought me lunch once.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited November 7
    You have clearly been Corrupted ...

    Was that A La Carte at the Ritz or a sarnie from Sainsbury's?
  • It was on ThankYou Music's expense account as I recall...
  • Not from the royalties then? ;

    (devilish snigger)
  • bigjonbigjon Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    I'm just so bloody disappointed that at our new 'liberal' evangelical church 'In Christ Alone' was sung. The wrath of Martin and Mrs. Wife wasn't satisfied.

    I can put up with a passing reference to PSA for the line "no power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand".

    For the ultimate in corniness AND highly dubious atonement theology (Jesus dying for fictional characters), I offer this -

    Batman and Robin,
    Batman and Robin,
    They fight for justice truth and liberty.
    But Lord Jesus, he died for everyone,
    He died for Batman and Robin and me.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @bigjon I'm glad to say that I've never heard that particular monstrosity.

    Would it be a sensible guess to imagine that the perpetrators would be the sort of people who would be particularly horrified to have it suggested to them, that as a relative of mine once said, "there's something suspicious about the relationship between Batman and Robin"?
  • bigjon wrote: »
    A modern candidate for the coveted Corny Chorus accolade is the mangled metaphor that is My Lighthouse - if "I will follow you" I'm going to come a cropper on the cliff-face pretty quickly, and I've yet to meet the lighthouse that could "carry me safe to sho-o-o-o-o-o-ore"

    Ah, they don't write nautical salvation metaphors like they used to in the days of empire.

    "We have an anchor, that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot moooooooove - grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love."

    I don't know if that's corny or not - I thought so as a child, but now I love it.
  • Needs a good brass band behind it, of course.
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