USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘bottles’
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. 

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Water Bottle Toxins

Click here for video.

“So whenever I bring a water bottle onto the car I almost always forget it there. My dad says that after you leave it in the sun and the bottle heats up, you’ll get cancerous toxins in the water and he would never let me drink it and would always force me to pour it out in front of him.”

The belief that water bottles leach toxins into the water that they hold is not a novel one.  I have heard this health belief from many other people in the United States. Generally, the usual concern is due to BPA (bisphenol-A), which is said to interfere with natural hormone regulation. My high school chemistry teacher believed strongly in this health belief and spent one of his lectures demonstrating how it is possible for BPA to leach from a plastic water bottle into the water it holds. As a precaution, he was often seen with a metal water bottle.

However, this is my first time hearing about possible toxins causing cancer. I think this plays into a cultural fear of carcinogens, especially within the food manufacturing sector, and combines it with our health beliefs about plastic water bottles.  None of my foreign relatives share this health belief, which leads to me to believe that it is mostly a belief shared by those in the US or specifically health and environmentally-conscious California. This health belief most likely stems from the fear of “chemicals” that seems to run rampant in our society. It is a fear of the unknown. We don’t know how water bottles are made and how the substances used in manufacturing them interact with our day-to-day usages, so we tend to assume the worst.

Furthermore, water is a life-giving substance to humans and the idea of vessels used to hold it “betraying” us and leaching something poisonous into it has a certain appeal to it. This health belief has been largely debunked in scientific literature: while plastic water bottles do leach BPA, the amount leached is so negligible that one would be more likely to die of water poisoning before the BPA levels would reach any significant level.

See:
Schmid, P., Kohler, M., Meierhofer, R., Luzi, S., Wegelin, M. “Does the reuse of PET bottles during solar water disinfection pose a health risk due to the migration of plasticisers and other chemicals into the water?” Water Research. 4 Sep. 2008, Volume 42, Issue 20: 5054-5060.

ACC. “The Safety of Polythylene Teraphthalate (PET).” PlasticsInfo.Org. American Chemistry Council, 1 Jan. 2007. Web. 13 Nov. 2009. <http://www.plasticsinfo.org/s_plasticsinfo/sec_generic.asp?CID=657&DID=2605>

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