99 bottles of sprite on the wall

99 bottles of sprite

You take one down

Pass it around

98 bottles of sprite on the wall

(Song repeats until there are no bottles left)

Talia Fiance is in the sixth grade and often rides the school bus to school and fieldtrips. During these bus rides, the children often break out in song, with a few students eagerly leading the chant until ultimately almost everyone is singing. She cannot pinpoint exactly when she learned this song, but she noted that it is obviously derived from the traditional folk song “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” On the bus rides to and from school, there is no adult supervision (with the exception of the driver), and hence the children have no censorship on their songs. However, on field trips, there are often teachers and parent liaisons, and these individuals discouraged Talia’s peers from singing about beer. Instead, they mandated that they sing about soda and suggested punishment to those who would not adapt to the new lyrics.

While this song does not have any profound meaning to the informant, the adults’ desire to modify the lyrics is indicative of increasing restrictions on what children hear and say. As technology consistently improves, children are gaining more access to media and folklore beyond what they learn in school or from their parents; hence, parents are becoming more concerned with monitoring kids’ behavior. In this case, the children were originally singing a harmless song, but the adults deemed it inappropriate for them to be singing freely about alcoholic beverages.

The song “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” always presents an interesting dynamic amongst the kids. It is known as an annoying and demanding song, and the kids rarely reach the end (when there are no bottles left). Likewise, the song presents an element of humor, because the leaders of the song are aware of the nuisance that the song presents to zthe bus driver (or to the other adults). The song is somewhat empowering, because simply starting the song implies that about fifteen minutes of obnoxious melodic pattern may ensue. Yet, the song rarely gets past about 75 bottles, as the singers get tired and pressure the medley to end.