USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘beer’
Musical

99 Bottles of Coke

BACKGROUND:

The following song was sung by young children (kindergarten-middle school) in the Bay Area of California, traditionally on long car trips or bus rides. The song was often sung ironically to bother other members of the vehicle due to its obnoxiously long and repetitive manor. According to this source, the song often wouldn’t last more than 5-6 verses before someone would get mad and demand the song cease. The song is also known for using the word “beer” in place of “coke”. According to this source, the reason for the change to coke was due to fear of getting in trouble from teachers or parents for singing about consuming alcohol as a minor.

THE SONG:

99 bottles of coke on the wall, 99 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of coke on the wall.

98 bottles of coke on the wall, 98 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 97 bottles of coke on the wall.

97 bottles of coke on the wall, 97 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 96 bottles of coke on the wall.

96 bottles of coke on the wall, 96 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 95 bottles of coke on the wall.

95 bottles of coke on the wall, 95 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 94 bottles of coke on the wall.

94 bottles of coke on the wall, 94 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 93 bottles of coke on the wall.

93 bottles of coke on the wall, 93 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 92 bottles of coke on the wall.

92 bottles of coke on the wall, 92 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 91 bottles of coke on the wall.

91 bottles of coke on the wall, 91 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 90 bottles of coke on the wall.

90 bottles of coke on the wall, 90 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 89 bottles of coke on the wall.

89 bottles of coke on the wall, 89 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 88 bottles of coke on the wall.

88 bottles of coke on the wall, 88 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 87 bottles of coke on the wall.

87 bottles of coke on the wall, 87 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 86 bottles of coke on the wall.

86 bottles of coke on the wall, 86 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 85 bottles of coke on the wall.

85 bottles of coke on the wall, 85 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 84 bottles of coke on the wall.

84 bottles of coke on the wall, 84 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 83 bottles of coke on the wall.

83 bottles of coke on the wall, 83 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 82 bottles of coke on the wall.

82 bottles of coke on the wall, 82 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 81 bottles of coke on the wall.

81 bottles of coke on the wall, 81 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 80 bottles of coke on the wall.

80 bottles of coke on the wall, 80 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 79 bottles of coke on the wall.

79 bottles of coke on the wall, 79 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 78 bottles of coke on the wall.

78 bottles of coke on the wall, 78 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 77 bottles of coke on the wall.

77 bottles of coke on the wall, 77 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 76 bottles of coke on the wall.

76 bottles of coke on the wall, 76 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 75 bottles of coke on the wall.

75 bottles of coke on the wall, 75 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 74 bottles of coke on the wall.

74 bottles of coke on the wall, 74 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 73 bottles of coke on the wall.

73 bottles of coke on the wall, 73 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 72 bottles of coke on the wall.

72 bottles of coke on the wall, 72 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 71 bottles of coke on the wall.

71 bottles of coke on the wall, 71 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 70 bottles of coke on the wall.

70 bottles of coke on the wall, 70 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 69 bottles of coke on the wall.

69 bottles of coke on the wall, 69 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 68 bottles of coke on the wall.

68 bottles of coke on the wall, 68 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 67 bottles of coke on the wall.

67 bottles of coke on the wall, 67 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 66 bottles of coke on the wall.

66 bottles of coke on the wall, 66 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 65 bottles of coke on the wall.

65 bottles of coke on the wall, 65 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 64 bottles of coke on the wall.

64 bottles of coke on the wall, 64 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 63 bottles of coke on the wall.

63 bottles of coke on the wall, 63 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 62 bottles of coke on the wall.

62 bottles of coke on the wall, 62 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 61 bottles of coke on the wall.

61 bottles of coke on the wall, 61 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 60 bottles of coke on the wall.

60 bottles of coke on the wall, 60 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 59 bottles of coke on the wall.

59 bottles of coke on the wall, 59 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 58 bottles of coke on the wall.

58 bottles of coke on the wall, 58 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 57 bottles of coke on the wall.

57 bottles of coke on the wall, 57 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 56 bottles of coke on the wall.

56 bottles of coke on the wall, 56 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 55 bottles of coke on the wall.

55 bottles of coke on the wall, 55 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 54 bottles of coke on the wall.

54 bottles of coke on the wall, 54 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 53 bottles of coke on the wall.

53 bottles of coke on the wall, 53 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 52 bottles of coke on the wall.

52 bottles of coke on the wall, 52 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 51 bottles of coke on the wall.

51 bottles of coke on the wall, 51 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 50 bottles of coke on the wall.

50 bottles of coke on the wall, 50 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 49 bottles of coke on the wall.

49 bottles of coke on the wall, 49 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 48 bottles of coke on the wall.

48 bottles of coke on the wall, 48 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 47 bottles of coke on the wall.

47 bottles of coke on the wall, 47 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 46 bottles of coke on the wall.

46 bottles of coke on the wall, 46 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 45 bottles of coke on the wall.

45 bottles of coke on the wall, 45 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 44 bottles of coke on the wall.

44 bottles of coke on the wall, 44 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 43 bottles of coke on the wall.

43 bottles of coke on the wall, 43 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 42 bottles of coke on the wall.

42 bottles of coke on the wall, 42 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 41 bottles of coke on the wall.

41 bottles of coke on the wall, 41 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 40 bottles of coke on the wall.

40 bottles of coke on the wall, 40 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 39 bottles of coke on the wall.

39 bottles of coke on the wall, 39 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 38 bottles of coke on the wall.

38 bottles of coke on the wall, 38 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 37 bottles of coke on the wall.

37 bottles of coke on the wall, 37 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 36 bottles of coke on the wall.

36 bottles of coke on the wall, 36 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 35 bottles of coke on the wall.

35 bottles of coke on the wall, 35 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 34 bottles of coke on the wall.

34 bottles of coke on the wall, 34 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 33 bottles of coke on the wall.

33 bottles of coke on the wall, 33 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 32 bottles of coke on the wall.

32 bottles of coke on the wall, 32 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 31 bottles of coke on the wall.

31 bottles of coke on the wall, 31 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 30 bottles of coke on the wall.

30 bottles of coke on the wall, 30 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 29 bottles of coke on the wall.

29 bottles of coke on the wall, 29 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 28 bottles of coke on the wall.

28 bottles of coke on the wall, 28 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 27 bottles of coke on the wall.

27 bottles of coke on the wall, 27 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 26 bottles of coke on the wall.

26 bottles of coke on the wall, 26 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 25 bottles of coke on the wall.

25 bottles of coke on the wall, 25 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 24 bottles of coke on the wall.

24 bottles of coke on the wall, 24 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 23 bottles of coke on the wall.

23 bottles of coke on the wall, 23 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 22 bottles of coke on the wall.

22 bottles of coke on the wall, 22 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 21 bottles of coke on the wall.

21 bottles of coke on the wall, 21 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 20 bottles of coke on the wall.

20 bottles of coke on the wall, 20 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 19 bottles of coke on the wall.

19 bottles of coke on the wall, 19 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 18 bottles of coke on the wall.

18 bottles of coke on the wall, 18 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 17 bottles of coke on the wall.

17 bottles of coke on the wall, 17 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 16 bottles of coke on the wall.

16 bottles of coke on the wall, 16 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 15 bottles of coke on the wall.

15 bottles of coke on the wall, 15 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 14 bottles of coke on the wall.

14 bottles of coke on the wall, 14 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 13 bottles of coke on the wall.

13 bottles of coke on the wall, 13 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 12 bottles of coke on the wall.

12 bottles of coke on the wall, 12 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 11 bottles of coke on the wall.

11 bottles of coke on the wall, 11 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 10 bottles of coke on the wall.

10 bottles of coke on the wall, 10 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 9 bottles of coke on the wall.

9 bottles of coke on the wall, 9 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 8 bottles of coke on the wall.

8 bottles of coke on the wall, 8 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 7 bottles of coke on the wall.

7 bottles of coke on the wall, 7 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 6 bottles of coke on the wall.

6 bottles of coke on the wall, 6 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 5 bottles of coke on the wall.

5 bottles of coke on the wall, 5 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 4 bottles of coke on the wall.

4 bottles of coke on the wall, 4 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 3 bottles of coke on the wall.

3 bottles of coke on the wall, 3 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 2 bottles of coke on the wall.

2 bottles of coke on the wall, 2 bottles of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, 1 bottle of coke on the wall.

1 bottle of coke on the wall, 1 bottle of coke.

Take one down and pass it around, no more bottles of coke on the wall.

No more bottles of coke on the wall, no more bottles of coke. 

Go to the store and buy some more, 99 bottles of coke on the wall.

 

MY THOUGHTS:

I too sang a variation of this song on long car trips, typically in elementary school on the way to a field trip. I love that a fear of getting in trouble caused a lyric change from the version you normally hear, “99 Bottles of Beer”. I think that its humorous intentions of getting on someone’s nerves makes sense for the young demographic that this song was performed by.

For an adapted, published version of this folk song, see:

Williams, Zane. “99 Bottles – Zane Williams.” YouTube, 14 May 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVjCag8XoHQ. 

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Oktoberfest

About the Interviewed: Julian is a senior at Calabasas High School. He’s passionate about Oboe Performance and Theatre. At 18 years of age, Julian is also my younger brother. He generally identifies as Caucasian American, but like myself, he has a close ethnic lineage tracing back to Germany and Ireland.

I asked Julian about Oktoberfest and our family history of celebrating it.

Julian: “I like Oktoberfest. It’s fun. It’s not a day like most people think – it’s like two and a half weeks. In Germany, people celebrate for a long time.”

I ask Julian if he remembers what Oktoberfest is about.

Julian: “It’s just a festival – I think. It was the marriage festival for German King [King Ludwig I] in the early 1800’s. It was so fun that people never stopped celebrating it. There’s a lot of music and dancing. And beer. (laughs)”

I ask Julian what Oktoberfest means to him.

Julian: “It means booze! (laughs) I’m joking, I’m kidding. It’s when grandma and grandpa [our mom's side] and all of Dad’s friends come over here. We have a party. And I get a glass.”

Since we both turned thirteen, our parents give us a glass each year so that we don’t feel left out during the annual party. It’s not a lot of beer, but it’s meant to keep us cheerful.

I ask Julian why our family celebrates Oktoberfest like we do.

Julian: “Well, it’s more like a get-together. Our grandparents all came from Germany, so it’s a fun way to celebrate our heritage. Yeah it’s just fun, I guess. It’s about celebrating family and friends. I mean, it’s the only time other than Christmas when we’re all here together.”

“We only celebrate it for a day, but it’s a unique sorta celebration.”

Summary

My family celebrates the German Festival of Oktoberfest once a year by throwing an annual house party. Though it’s not celebrated in the *authentic* German way, it’s meant to be a fun way of touching our heritage.

Oktoberfest isn’t that complex of a festival; it’s not steeped in religious tradition, but it carries a sort of nationalistic pride. My parents are both second-generation German folk, meaning their parents came from the motherland. My parents were raised observing Germanic traditions and to them, this is a way of giving back. My family celebrates Oktoberfest the same way others celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Mardi Gras, but we do it with the idea of uniting both family and friends.

 

Contagious
Customs
Folk medicine
Legends
Protection

Beer before, liquor never sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.

Liquor before beer you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor never sicker.

My informant stated that he learned this lesson the wrong way. He stated that one night in high school he was doing multiple beer bongs and then took shots of liquor after. He stated that by the end of the night he was in the worse pain of his life from vomiting. His friend soon came over to him and stated that he did not follow the golden rule: “Liqour before beer, your in the clear. Beer before liquor never sicker.” Ever since then, my informant states on nights he knows he is drinking, he will take a shot first and then drink whatever he wants after.

My informant also states that he now tells this to all of his friends. When I asked him if there is any scientific proof of this claim, he stated that there was none that he knew of. He also states that he has heard some people say the opposite way, that “beer before liquor, you in the clear, liquor before beer, never sicker.” He however states that all of his friends follow his variation.

This is an interesting “urban legend,” as it deals with a popular practice in drinking alcohol socially. What is interesting is that this folklore is spread through experience and there is in fact no scientific proof that this is true. Some ideas of where this came from is that liquor is much more potent than beer, thus have liquor layer your stomach before beer may been a good way to protect one’s stomach. Either way, the people that follow this legend, believe whole heartedly as it in their mind prevents a horrible night. Whether or not it is a placebo effect, or if it actually works is up to the believer.

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