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Song Parodies -> "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald"

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

Because last Friday's two smooshes, of doing "Major-General" to "Supercal..." , and of doing "Supercal..." to "Major-General" , were received favorably, here are a couple more Big Fourteens (i. e., two Big Sevens smooshed).

Pacing note: "iron" is another of those lovely "fielder's choice" words, for which dictionaries allow either one syllable or two. And nothing says that you have to stick with the same choice throughout. ;)

A boat sank down, below
'Midst the gales: November
High winds made rough seas; the water, rile   [1]
If only they'd had one more day
They could have docked in Whitefish Bay
And waited, till the storm passed, for a while

Ore, iron: ferry; terms, they give her
At Cleveland: payment, when deliver
Bad news for the steel mill
The Captain's at the wheel, still
But standing in a grave, dark, dank
When the ship hit bottom of the tank
The storm struck them from ev'ry flank
The day Fitzgerald sank

So bye-bye, Ed Fitzgerald, deep, lie
Those poor sailors couldn't bail her; failure: fast enough, dry
But them brave, bold boys not blinkin'; no "Captain Bligh"   [2]
Thinkin' this'll be the day that they die
This'll be the way that they die

Did you see the clouds above?
And do storm-force winds give mighty shove?
Did the forecast tell you so?
Do seas, ship, heave? Boat, rock and roll?
Can "Mayday" call, 'haps, save your soul?   [3]
"Help! Can you reach me? Any chance, soon, show?"

Well, the pride of US, was this ship
From some mill, Wisconsin, start the trip
They sailed off for this "cruise"
But they bring 'long with 'em, bad news!
They were the largest freighter on the Lake
With a darned good Captain who'd brook no mistake
And crew knew how, each move, to make
Until skies opened wide

They had been singin'
"Aye, aye, 'cross the water, let's fly
"Get this freighter to the gate or won't get laid (at least, try)
"Let's make some noise, we're feelin' frisky and spry"
And singin' "This mill, let's offload its supply
"Then, for rest of night, we can lie"

Now, for ten days, quite a happy gang
Till that night, heard as the ship's bell rang
But that's not how 'twas s'posed to be
When the weather changed, with a shift of wind
From the North, cause sorrow; no one grinned
It was cold and raised up quite a sea

Oh, and while the wind was howling 'round
The wires made a tattling sound
The Captain was concerned
'Twas too late: home, return
And as water broke above the rail
Athwart, get too much wind to sail   [4]
The crashing surges, try to bail
That day, a new course, tried

Wind was stingin'
"My, my, looks like plan's gone awry
"Put the pedal to the metal; some place, settle and tie
"November's witch is gettin' b*tchy and sly"
Bad thing: abysmal is ther plight, can't deny
"Kiss our dismal asses good-bye"

Helter skelter: need to find some shelter
'Spite freezing rain, 'neath their raincoats, swelter
Some place that's safe, and find it fast....
The dawn came late; breakfast, pass
Come afternoon, met a new airmass
Hurricane-force are the west winds, as they blast   [5]

Supper, came time; 'most complete, their doom
All the sailors prayed: not sea, entomb
Superior's expanse?
Oh, bet they'd rather be in France!
As the sailors tried, their ship, to save
At 7, hatchway, main, did cave
The Captain, one last good-bye, gave
Then spray: a huge, thick wave

They started sinkin'
"May-day, is there help on the way?
"We're in trouble; on the double, come, or bubbles, display"
Them good old buoys were winkin' colored array
Sea, drinkin'; ev'rything in mass disarray
Wished they'd never got underway

Oh, and there they were, by storm, surprised
They could have split up or capsized
And no sign: loving God, did send
But live on: sons and daughters, faces, names
Poor wives turned into widowed dames
'Cause water, like the Devil, claimed their men

Oh, as Lake Huron roils in rage
Super-ior's grief, can't assuage
Such strangely icy Hell
Their fate: forever, dwell
From Michi-gan steam rises, day and night
Its bays and islands: sports' delight
But those great men: staff, an awful plight
Gone gray: Fitzgerald's light

Hands were wringin'
Woe, grow, to Ontario, go:
All Lake Erie's waters weary, down, they drearily flow
Still, iron boats float, as the mariners know:
Ore, bringin'; whistlin' as seas, plyin' although --
Knowin' what cruel Fate can bestow

Old musty hall; bell rang for crews
As they eulogized unhappy news
For each man, chimed, times twenty-nine
They became part of sailor's lore
All remembered gales, Novembers yore
In cathedral, unto Heaven, souls, consign

And in Detroit, the widows wept
Friends, fam'ly cried, as their loss, accept
Of all, kind words were spoken
And no one's spirit broken
But the thing that I admire best:
The boats still sail from East and West
Despite the vast pain, on, they pressed
Job, stay, though crewmen died

On boats, they're singin'
"Hie, hie, souls to Heaven on high
"Though the Ed Fitz sank, and dead, sits on sea-bed, 'Quits': not I"
And those five Great Lakes, still sailin', rainy or dry
Workin', even though they've no idea why:
People: some still live, and some die

Legend livin'
"Hail, hail, died: November's first gale
"Gitchie Gumee'd do it to me, too, but crew, true, must sail"
From Chipp'wa, down, their story never grows stale
Singin', "Honor them; remember their tale"

[1] Talk about being caught between Scylla and Charybdis -- appropriate metaphor for sailors, eh? ;) -- or between a rock and a hard place! Could use "hostile" , e. g.. "Were the sea's conditions too hostile", but the dictionary says that the long "i" pronunciation (to rhyme with the corresponding line to come, and to syl-match TOS "smile") is chiefly British. But it also says that "rile" is chiefly North American, a variant of "roil". Well, being on the west side of The Pond, TT went with en-US.

[2] British Admiral, captain of HMS Bounty, subject of a 1789 mutiny depicted in numerous books and movies. *These* sailors remained faithful to the end. Besides, rough, cold water is a far less pleasant escape than the shores of Tahiti. ;)

[3] "SOS" - commonly thought to be an acronym for "Save our souls" (or "Save our ship"), but actually, among International Morse Code letters, chosen arbitrarily as being easy to transmit and difficult to mistake. SOS is the telegraphic distress signal only; the oral equivalent is "Mayday". Nothing to do with any month; phonetic spelling of French "M'aidez!" or "M'aider!" = "Help me!"

[4] "Athwart" (nautical) -- at a right angle to the ship or to its course. ("Athwart, get..". = "The quartet")

[5] TT has always given D McL the benefit of the doubt, assuming that "hurricane (west wind)" was being used as a metaphor, or (loosely, if not improperly) as a generic indicator of the strength of the wind. *As all of us know*, actual hurricanes can form and feed only over very warm tropical or sub-tropical waters. Movement over land, or over cold water, weakens them rapidly. No true hurricane could form or survive over a lake on the US-Canadian border, whose average *highest* annual water temperature is 55F / 13C -- and it would have to cross a thousand miles of land, or a mountain range and some other cold lakes, to get there from the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. (Mangling words is fun; misusing them is poor writing.)

The storm was actually the result of a cutoff low, formed by interaction with a Canadian frontal -- oh, heck. It just wasn't a hurricane, that's all. :-D

© 2010 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Voting Results

Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 4.8
Overall Rating: 4.8

Total Votes: 13

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   0
 5   13

User Comments

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Michael Pacholek - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Oh, wow, you did do it both ways. Is it wrong that I found some of these lines funny? This was even better than the other way around.
Patrick - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Mike is right, this could have been a great original song on the subject. I like the two originals today much better than Supercali or Major General, and I know them much better. Captain (actually Lieutenant) Bligh was one of the great seamen of his time. His voyage, without charts, in an open life boat, after the mutiny, is one of the most outstanding feats of navigation in the history of sailing. His insistence on discipline and cleanliness kept his sailors healthy in an age of scurvy and disease. This is one of the most remarkable feats in the history of song parody writing. Leo Keogh's "Search for the Man from Nantucket" is my vote for the best parody on this site. You have made a most worthy contribution to Pie baking and Fitzgerald wrecking.
TJC - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment

, my what a parody guy
Naaah!  *REBOOT*

Shocked--NOT--Tommy Turtle's our 'Spock'
Plays chess--3D--with his 'odies
Now with 'smooshing' he rocks
A polymath--who ewe know carnal things groks
He's AIR's Jock-o'-Schlock n' Doc-o'-Mock 'Bach'!

Again, sir, BRAVO!
Ann Hammond - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Andy P - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Wow, must have taken a lot of hours to knock today's two out. Absolutely superb - and only 5 footnotes on such a long song! Number 6 could have been Gitch(i)e Gumee - had to Wiki that one, but I presume most Americans would already know it.
Christie Marie M - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Now Lightfoot's gone McLean this time! Another Lighfootian Pie of a parody in America! Love both songs from the Big 7. Hopefully I get mine done by Friday so we could post together that same day. Well, we'll just have to play by ear I guess. Here's an American Pie of 5's, hope they don't get "wrecked" along the way! ;)
Old Man Ribber - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
No American Pie - Blinded By The Light mix, eh? Go for've delivered the goods on everything else. If there is ever a Nobel Prize for Wretched Excess Of Talent And Skill, send me a postcard from Oslo! (Magnificent job!) ;D
Vice-Admiral Bligh - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
@ Patrick: Customarily, any officer who is commanding a ship is referred to as "Captain", regardless of whether their actual rank is lower, as you pointed out, or higher (Commodore or Commander, etc.) Just a tradition.

@Andy P: "Gitchie Gumee" is in TOS. Looks like you've not done TOS yet, and understand TOS wasn't a big hit in the UK. ...In smooshing, one pretty much has to assume that readers KbothTOSs, else one ends up explaining each of the entire songs. Now you know, so you can take a shot at it. ;)
Smooshie, Lend Me Your Comb - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Fabulosity... TMGLTM, but "good old buoys" is definitely a fave :)
Andy P - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
V-A B: You're right, I haven't done it. I've only heard the song once before, and that was quite a while back when I Youtube'd it to go along with a parody. I'll give it another go later on, when I catch your second of the day (did this one first because I know the OS very, very well). I'll see if I get any ideas for it - I don't remember it being a particularly horrendous song. I had an idea for Paper Roses by Marie Osmond a while back, but gave it up after about 30 seconds of listening to it.
Tommy Turtle - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Michael Pacholek: Of course it's not wrong! Yes, *both* deal with gloomy stories (APIe is very peppy in the middle, but the beginning and the end, and the underlying story, are quite dismal), but this *is* a pardoy site, where we all try to show how clever and witty we can be, right? ;) ... Thanks for the very kind v/c -- see reply to your comment at the other one about doing both songs both ways -- O ye of little faith! :-D ... seriously, thanks.

Patrick: IIUC, Bligh took it way too far -- even the British court-martial assumed something must be off-base when a long-tested crew with honorable service records felt compelled to mutiny. ... And yes, you've mentioned your fave song of the site before, and TT agreed with you then, so to save you some keystrokes, it's not required to repeat that comment in the future.. :) :) ;)
    Agree that Bligh pulled off a miracle by making it back. Thanks for v/c.

TJC: Wow, I don't think your endline will ever be surpassed -- in a comment OR a parody! Thanks! :-D

Ann Hammond: Thankssssssssssssssss!

Andy P: Well, as the intro said, the impulse to do them didn't even arrive until Friday night, seeing the favorable reception of the other two -- but you're right, not the easiest nor fastest this writer's ever done. .. and doubt most Americans would know of the Native American name of the lake without this song.;)
    Sorry for the small number of footnotes -- will do better on Wednesday, I *promise*! (EVERYONE: If Wednesday's have too many footnotes, blame Andy, heh heh! ;)

Christie Marie M: Thanks for the slice of Five-pie! Looking forward to your next B7, regardless of what day -- but there will be only one 7 from here on Friday; the other post is a non-7. Love to have the company!

Old Man Ribber: I think they'd need to change that title to "Wretched Waste... " :-D .... Thought you might like that little bit of red herring, although TBH, hadn't planned to do these when that reply was made last Friday - see reply to Andy P, above. So it was sincere at the time. (Cripes, starting to sound like a politician! ;) Thanks for the vote and very kind words.

Vice-Admiral Bligh: Thanks for whipping up those clarifications! A Cat o' Five Tails to you!

Smooshie, Lend Me Your Comb: [ROFL!!! -- *beautiful*! :-) ] I *knew* you'd catch that one! (and sooo glad someone mentioned it.) Your kind v/c Byrnes a permanent place in my plastron. :) :) :)

Andy P The Movie: TT DK most of the Big Seven as a noob; learned Maj-Gen from this site; did the three Bs in the Big 7 without listening to them, as they're particularly horrendous to these ears. .. and "Paper Roses" was done by Anita Bryant in 1960, her best hit, reaching #5 on the charts. Maybe Anita's would be less displeasing? ... if not, just do it from a web lyric. It's not a complicated song. Good luck, Mate -- and get a new puter! We miss you! :)
Old Man Ribber - October 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Vice Admiral Bligh? This damn Yank knows of him! Where is your (Fletcher) Christian charity? We thank thee for thy "Bounty"! ;D
Andy P - October 06, 2010 - Report this comment
Just caught your second from yesterday (very busy at the mo) & commented. PC is now fixed, so don't need a new one. It was something to do with a greased part that had dried out (didn't ask what part it was - he said that he had to change one of the fans, so probably that). It would run hot after about 30 mins and then switch itself off. Once cooled, I could use it again for a short while until it did it again. He told me to stop using it, as it could do some serious damage.
Tommy Turtle - October 06, 2010 - Report this comment
Old Man Ribber: Glad you got your supply of paper towels. ;)

Andy P: There are coolers available for both laptop and desktop computers. Check them out. I sometimes sit my laptop on an icepack (on a towel in the lap). Heat is a horrible enemy of electronics. Also, if a desktop, unplug it (d'oh), open the case, and vacuum out the dust, including all the vents in the case that are probably clogged with dust. You can use a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of small places where you can't put the vacuum; obviously, you don't want to touch the RAM modules (sticks with 200+ gold-plated contacts). The hard drive and CPU (processor) should be sealed well; just don't bump them. It's amazing how much dust collects in these puppies, blocking the flow of cooling air, making the fans work harder and eventually die. That'll be USD $20, please. ;) Thanks for v/c.
Glen S - April 06, 2012 - Report this comment
So smooshed are the songs. Glad you pointed this out, TT. Lots of work and it shows in the spot-on pacing. Nice work elaborating on the story to really fill in AmPie completely. Especially enjoyed 'From the North, cause sorrow; no one grinned', 'And the good old buoys', the 'expanse/France' couplet and 'Gitchie Gumee'd do it to me'. On to the other half.
Tommy Turtle - April 06, 2012 - Report this comment
Glen S, thanks for read/v/c. You've cited a couple of the author's own faves, too. (GMTA?)
Patrick - November 08, 2012 - Report this comment
October 2010, you were sinking the Edmund Fitzgerald. Pacholek and I didn't get to that story until almost a year later. Got one more "Fitz" for the anniversary, or as close as I can get on this site.
Tommy Turtle - November 19, 2012 - Report this comment
Patrick, thanks for the credit.
Peregrin - December 08, 2012 - Report this comment
I liked this better than the other one, and that's saying something! My fave line was "Kiss our dismal asses good-bye".
Tommy Turtle - December 09, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks for the implicitly-doubled compliment!
Meriadoc - December 09, 2012 - Report this comment
The legend lives on of a flippered one in town
With his great takes of all switchy-smooshies...

Several things stood out for me: the keeping and placement of the original 'rock and roll', the good old buoys (heh heh) and 'Gitchie Gumee'd do it to me'.
Tommy Turtle - December 14, 2012 - Report this comment
Meriadoc, I think you have the start of an excellent tribute there! .... not that it would be moi's place to suggest that you do it, of course. ;-D

All three picks were author faves, too. Although we chastise those who keep too much of TOS unchanged, it's a special zing to keep part of it, but in a context that changes the meaning to suit the parody. I've done that elsewhere, but can't remember where ATM. ;) Thanks for taking time to read and comment!

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