The Lumberjack Song

From Academic Kids

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Michael Palin performs The Lumberjack Song

The Lumberjack Song is one of the best-known and popular sketches by the Monty Python's Flying Circus comedy troupe.

The sketch appeared in several forms (on the original television series, film, stage, and LP); each time the sketch started differently. The common theme was a man (originally Michael Palin, in later live versions Eric Idle) who expresses dissatisfaction with his current job, and then announces, "I didn't want to do this job. I wanted to be... a lumberjack!" He proceeds to wax rhapsodic about the life of a lumberjack, "Leaping from tree to tree," etc. He then rips off his shirt to reveal a red flannel shirt, walks over to a stage backed with a conifer forest, and begins to sing about the wonders of being a lumberjack. He is unexpectedly backed up by a large set of male singers, all dressed as Canadian Mounties (several were regular Monty Python performers, while the rest were members of an actual singing troupe, the Fred Tomlinson Singers). As the song continues, the excited lumberjack increasingly reveals cross-dressing tendencies, which confuses the Mounties until they walk off, in disgust.

In 2003, a version of the song was performed at the Concert for George tribute to George Harrison, with Palin in the lead role and Tom Hanks as one of the Mounties.

In Monty Python's Flying Circus (stage version), where the show is performed in French, the song is entitled Le Bcheron (chanson).

The song was translated into German for Monty Pythons Fliegender Zirkus, a special made for German and Austrian television. One significant change is that the phrase "Just like my dear Papa" has been changed to "Sowie mein Onkel Walter" ("Just like my Uncle Walter"), to rhyme with "Bstenhalter", German for "bra".

A line from this song is sung in the musical Spamalot.


...I wanted to be a lumberjack. Leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British  
Columbia...The giant redwood, the larch, the fir, the mighty scots pine. The smell of the fresh-cut timber
The crash of mighty trees! With my best girlie by my side...We'd sing...sing...sing.
I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK,
I sleep all night and I work all day.
He's a lumberjack and he's OK,
He sleeps all night and he works all day.
I cut down trees. I eat my lunch
I go to the lavatory.
On Wednesday I go shopping,
And have buttered scones for tea.
He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
He goes to the lavatory.
On Wednesday he goes shopping,
And has buttered scones for tea.
He's a lumberjack and he's OK,
He sleeps all night and he works all day.
I cut down trees. I skip and jump.
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing
And hang around in bars.
(Mounties, enthusiastically)
He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps
He likes to press wildflo'ers!!
(less enthusiastic)
He puts on womens clothing?
(spoken, hesitantly)
And hangs around... in bars??
(enthusiastically, again)
He's a lumberjack, and he's OK.
He sleeps all night and he works all day.
I cut down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspenders and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie,
Just like my dear Mama.
(Mounties, again starting enthusiastically but tailing off)
He cuts down trees, he wears high heels,
Suspenders...and a bra?...

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