We’ve all sung London Bridge is Falling Down many times in our lives, that’s for sure. It’s fun to sing; it’s catchy; and the Miami Bass Hip Hop Lullabies version has a great funky beat with pounding bass, not to mention a music video! But here’s the scary part…
It’s a nursery rhyme about starving children to death.
You see, a long time ago people believed in a practice called immurement. Basically, a child was trapped in the base of a building, and the rest of structure was built around them. This doomed kid would slowly pass away because there was no food to eat or water to drink. The structure became the child’s tomb, and it was believed that the spirit of child trapped inside for eternity would somehow keep the building from falling down.
Come to think of it, maybe London Bridge is Falling Down is not so scary. If the bridge IS falling down, then maybe there wasn’t a child buried in it after all…
Or maybe that particular child wasn’t too good at their job.
The people who wrote nursery rhymes way back in the 18th century and even earlier were super creative, and we here at Hip Hop Lullabies love to know the often-twisted meanings and dark stories behind lyrics of songs like Baa Baa Black Sheep and Three Blind Mice which seem to be about pretty princesses and adorable animals but are actually surprisingly sinister and shocking!
Back in those days it was dangerous to make fun of or criticize royalty and politicians. You could be put to death just for saying something that offended them. Obviously, it was important to hide the true meaning of your message if you needed to share it with others. Who wants to get their head chopped of anyway?
They kept their heads by hiding the messages they needed to smuggle or communicate in children’s songs! These songs were catchy and sing-songy – kind of like some of your favorite songs or commercial jingles- which made them easy to remember and easier pass on to the next person. And the next… eventually passing on the songs to future generations who would thereby learn about important events in the history of their countries.
Nowadays we remember the songs, but its true meaning is lost on us. Be sure to listen to our Hip Hop Lullabies and Subscribe to this blog to learn the real stories behind the lyrics, as well as other fun facts and terrific tidbits.
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