Find Out What The Spaghetti Song Is (aka. "On Top of Spaghetti"), and Where It Came From

(Hint: The Grownups Get All the Credit)

The Spaghetti Song, also famously known as "On Top of Spaghetti" is a children's song popular in summer camps, that is sung to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey.” It was popularized by Tom Glazer (1914-2003), an American folk singer and composer, who included it on an album of children’s songs he recorded in 1963. The song has become an enduring classic, and is still very popular with kids today.

The author is typically identified as either Mr. Glazer or “unknown,” but according to Philip Jackman, at least the first verse was initially composed by the kids who attended the Davie, Florida Elementary School arts and crafts camp in the summer of 1957. Mr. Jackman was one of the kids at that camp, and I must say his story is very interesting and sounds very credible. The lyrics were later published in a local newspaper covering the camp’s events, which would help explain how they might have made their way into the public domain.

No one really seems to know whether or not it was Mr. Glazer who formulated the rest of the song (or if they do, they are not telling), but he clearly gets the credit for making the Spaghetti Song so famous. By the way, even the 1963 recording was reportedly made with the Do-Re-Mi Children’s Chorus. So even though it was apparently children who initially wrote it, and mostly children who sang it on the record that popularized it, it seems that in the end, it was the grownups who got the credit. Sorry Kids! That's pretty much the way it is.

At any rate, here is the traditional version of the entire song:

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be,
And then the next summer,
It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered,
All covered with moss,
And on it grew meatballs,
And tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Whenever you sneeze.

Here is a charming video clip of the song.

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