Lyrics by Randy Rogel
Music: "William Tell Overture" by Giacomo Puccini
(Version which aired on Animaniacs; differences from the song originally released on the album "Animaniacs Variety Pack" are footnoted0, as are a few clarifications)
Heigh-ho, do you know
The names of the US residents
Who then became the presidents
And got a view from the White House loo
Of Pennsylvania Avenue?
George Washington was the first you see
He once chopped down a cherry tree
President number two would be
John Adams and then number three
Tom Jefferson stayed up to write
The Declaration late at night1
So he and his wife had a great big fight
And she made him sleep on the couch all night
James Madison never had a son
And he fought the War of 1812
James Monroe's colossal nose
Was bigger than Pinocchio's
John Quincy Adams was number six
And it's Andrew Jackson's butt he kicks
So Jackson learns to play politics
Next time he's the one the country picks
Martin Van Buren, number eight
For a one-term shot as Chief of State
William Harrison, how do you praise?
That guy was dead in thirty days
John Tyler, he liked country folk
And after him came President Polk
Zachary Taylor liked to smoke
His breath killed friends whenever he spoke
Eighteen-fifty, really nifty
Millard Fillmore's in
Young and fierce was Franklin Pierce
The man without a chin
Follows next a period spannin'
Four long years with James Buchanan
Then the South starts shootin' cannon
And we've got a Civil War --
A war, a war, a war down south in Dixie2
Up to bat comes old Abe Lincoln
There's a guy who's really thinkin'
Kept the United States from shrinkin'
Saved the ship of state from sinkin'
Andrew Johnson's next
He had some slight defects
Congress each would impeach
And so the country now elects
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Who would scream and rave and rant
While drinkin' whiskey, although risky
'Cause he'd spill it on his pants
And the Democrats would gloat
But they're all amazed when Rutherford Hayes
Wins by just one vote3
James Garfield someone really hated
'Cause he was assassinated
Chester Arthur gets instated
Four years later he was traded
For Grover Cleveland, really fat
Elected twice as a Democrat
Then Benjamin Harrison4; after that
It's William McKinley up at bat
Teddy Roosevelt charged up San Juan Hill
And President Taft, he got the bill
In 1913, Woodrow Wil...
son takes us into World War I5
Warren Harding; next in line
It's Calvin Coolidge, he does fine6
And then in 1929
The market crashes and we find
It's Herbert Hoover's big debut
He gets the blame and loses to
Franklin Roosevelt, president who
Helped us win in World War II
Harry Truman, weird little human
Serves two terms and when he's done
It's Eisenhower who's got the power
From '53 to '61
John Kennedy had Camelot
Then Lyndon Johnson took his spot7
Richard Nixon, he gets caught
And Gerald Ford fell down a lot
Jimmy Carter liked campaign trips
And Ronald Reagan's speeches' scripts
All came from famous movie clips
And President Bush said "read my lips"
Now in Washington, DC
There's Democrats and the GOP
But the ones in charge are plain to see:
The Clintons, Bill and Hillary8
The next president to lead the way
Well, it just might be yourself one day
Then the press'll distort everything you say
So jump in your plane and fly away
0 Where the hell was this song when I was in elementary school learning about the presidents?
1 Originally erroneously stated that Jefferson stayed up all night to write the Constitution. Oops.
2 This line sung like the obvious line from "Dixie". Back to Puccini with the next verse.
3 One vote in the Electoral College, of course. One popular vote would've been just too mind-boggling.
4 Inasmuch as Harrison can be said to have served "after" Cleveland, since he served between Cleveland's two non-consecutive terms.
5 Of course, WWI didn't start until 1914, and the US didn't enter until 1917, but Wilson took office for his first term in 1913. So it's accurate, sort of.
6 The lines originally were: "Warren Harding, he does fine / It's Calvin Coolidge next in line" -- but considering that Watergate, Iran-contra, Whitewater, and Paula Jones/Monica Lewinsky all together barely measure up to the corruption of Harding's presidency (and needing 3 presidents and 30 years to match up with one president's deeds of just over 2 years), it's hard to say that he "did fine". Hence the edit.
7 Original lines: "John F. Kennedy, he gets shot / So Lyndon Johnson takes his spot". Probably judged to be a little too callous for Saturday morning cartoon time, even though in an earlier verse, the highlight of Garfield's presidency was his own assassination. Zee censors is shtrange peoples.
8 Original lines: "But the one in charge is plain to see: / It's Clinton, first name Hillary". Judged to be a little too editorial, methinks.