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Song Parodies -> "Wreck of the 'William Bligh'"

Original Song Title:

"Sloop John B"

 (MP3)
Original Performer:

Beach Boys

Parody Song Title:

"Wreck of the 'William Bligh'"

Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

My research indicates "The Wreck of the John B" was an old maritime folk song, which may have first appeared in print as a partial lyric in a 1917 novel. The Beach Boys had a big hit with it in the 1960's, most likely because of their marvelous arrangement, rather than anything particularly profound in the lyrics. Of course, by the mid-sixties, "the worst trip I've ever been on" would take on a particular meaning not related to malfunctioning toilets on the cruise liner. Jimmy Rogers and The Kingston Trio also recorded this song, though in a more calypso style. I uncovered a forgotten verse that was considered too risqué for Top 40 radio. Together, this gives me poetic license to set my own number of verses. Feel free to use which ever arrangement suits you. Add echoes if you like.
We boarded the "William Bligh"
My cloned seamen and I
Sailed the waves in search of a welcoming shore
A tropical strand
A place we could land
Unpack our gear and start training for war

High on the "Bill Bligh's" mast
Our battle flag is unfurled
If we control the sea lanes then we'll rule the world
The crew is well drilled
And if we don't get killed
My dreams of conquest will soon be fulfilled

A crew of seventy three
Who looked a whole lot like me
And shared my ambitions as well as the shape of my nose
A whale swam in sight
Unusually white
The lookout shouted "Port bow, there she blows!"

Break out the harpoon gun!
Put your backs to the oars
We'll sell this guy for a million when we reach Japan
A prize from the sea
A delicacy (Yum! Yum!)
Ten tons of sushi in little tin cans

I picked up my glass and spied
Lashed to the monster's side
A wooden leg and a bundle of waterlogged bones
I ordered "Retreat!"
"We'll all be dead meat"
"Reverse direction, and set course for home!"

The whale came about and then
He Jonah'ed a couple of men
The rest of the sailors were quaking in fear of their fate
"Dump all excess weight
Before it's too late!"
They grabbed their captain, gave me the heave-ho

They sailed into history
The "William Bligh" without me
A two hundred year old whale hard on their stern
A rescue boat came.
In hopes of shifting the blame,
I said "Call me Ishmael" (But that's not my name)

They call me "Ishmael", but that's not my name.
The chorus in the Beach Boy's version is repetitive, it is also a bit more accentuated than the verses. The folk singers tend to sing verse and chorus with the same accentuation. I think this fits my version better. Actually we were sailing to Gilligan's Island, when I needed a rhyme for "nose".

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Voting Results

 
Pacing: 4.2
How Funny: 4.6
Overall Rating: 4.6

Total Votes: 5

Voting Breakdown

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User Comments

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Old Man Ribber - November 15, 2010 - Report this comment
Patrick - Fanciful, with many unexpected turns! A fine job! ;D
AFW - November 15, 2010 - Report this comment
Interesting tale and parody...is this fictional? I know of the ship "The Bounty" in the mutiny of..commanded by William Bligh...but not familiar with a ship called, "William Bligh"
John Barry - November 15, 2010 - Report this comment
A delightful nautical conflation.
Patrick - November 16, 2010 - Report this comment
Totally fictional. I've a long running story line in my parodies of the misfortunes of a wannabe world ruler who plans a campaign of conquest using soldiers cloned from his own DNA. William Bligh, whatever his faults as a diplomat, was one of the great sailors of all time. I had just seen a rerun of "The Bounty" starring Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. Hence the name of the ship. One of the local rerun channels has shown "Moby Dick" several times in the past few months. Seventy three men in the crew is from a song called "Ride, Captain, Ride". At first I visualized the crew running across Gilligan's Island and being seduced by Ginger, Maryanne, and Mrs Howell (and maybe the men folk, too, this being the modern era of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". But I needed a rhyme for "nose" and the storyline suddenly changed. That sort of thing happens in my life all the time, and could certainly happen to a crew of cloned mercenary sailors who find a sudden opportunity to score some money. Glad you all liked the song. Hope a certain nauTTical writer from this site sees it some day.
Michael Pacholek - January 29, 2011 - Report this comment
Sorry it took me so long to find this one, but I am rather partial to songs about bad sea voyages. You made 73 clones of yourself? I guess you didn't listen to Admiral Ricky Nelson: "You can't please everyone, so you GOT to please yourself." You didn't, and found yourself adrift... but this parody is right on course.
Patrick - February 04, 2011 - Report this comment
The sailors, being of my genes, did what I would have done. "Sauve qui peut" as the French say. They talk kinda funny, you know. Glad you liked it. Look for my TSA song under the name "Phred Phlips"

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