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Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)

Related thread:
'(and the) Little one said, roll over' (3)


GUEST,joyfulisa 10 Sep 21 - 06:47 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 21 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 21 - 09:15 PM
RTim 10 Sep 21 - 10:12 PM
JHW 11 Sep 21 - 05:41 AM
GUEST 11 Sep 21 - 08:59 AM
Senoufou 11 Sep 21 - 11:28 AM
Steve Shaw 11 Sep 21 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,joyfulisa 11 Sep 21 - 04:45 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Sep 21 - 07:32 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 21 - 08:05 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Sep 21 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 21 - 08:21 PM
Joe Offer 11 Sep 21 - 08:45 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Sep 21 - 09:05 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 21 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Roissey 12 Sep 21 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 12:19 PM
Reinhard 12 Sep 21 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Rossey 12 Sep 21 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Rossey 13 Sep 21 - 08:11 AM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Sep 21 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Rossey 13 Sep 21 - 10:57 AM
GUEST 13 Sep 21 - 08:02 PM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 21 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Rossey 14 Sep 21 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Rossey 14 Sep 21 - 06:31 AM
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Subject: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: GUEST,joyfulisa
Date: 10 Sep 21 - 06:47 PM

Hi,
I'm trying to verify if the children's counting song "Roll Over" (sometimes called "Ten in the Bed" or "Five in the Bed") is in the Public Domain. All I've found is that the children's book is based on the "traditional song." I cannot locate any source info on the song (could be a chant?) at all.

There were 10 (or 5) in the bed
And the little one said
"Roll over! Roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out

There were 4 in the bed...etc

Sharon, Lois & Bram had a version in which they sang, "and they gave a little scream and they gave a little shout: Please remember to tie a knot in your pajamas, Single beds were only meant for one!" (two, three, four, five, etc)

I've seen it noted as "traditional" and even "PD" but it is not listed on PDInfo.org.
Are there other good sites to use to verify songs in the PD?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 21 - 08:45 PM

Thread #11190   Message #82044
Posted By: Night Owl
27-May-99 - 12:36 AM
Thread Name: Counting Songs
Subject: ADD: Ten in the Bed - Roll Over

Not sure of the name of this song but....
    " There were ten in the bed; and the little one said; Roll Over, Roll Over;
    So they all rolled over; And one fell out;

    There were nine in the bed; And the little one said; Roll Over, Roll Over;
    So they all rolled over...." etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 21 - 09:15 PM

Hi -
Songs like this are always hard to track down, because they're sung so often and rarely with attribution. I found the entire song at https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=128

THERE WERE TEN IN A BED
Children's Song

There were ten in a bed*
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were nine in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were eight in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were seven in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were six in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were five in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were four in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were three in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There were two in a bed
And the little one said
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over
And one fell out.

There was one in a bed
And the little one said
"Good night!"



Alternate ending:

There was one in the bed
And the little one said,
"Alone at last!"


Also in Sing Out! Magazine, Volume 11, No. 3, Summer 1961 (page 9)

Same lyrics as above, with this last verse:
    Now there's one in the bed,
    and the little one said,
    "Good night!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: RTim
Date: 10 Sep 21 - 10:12 PM

Why is this thread here...The song is so common...and really not worth very much attention...Sorry!

Tim Radford (Not being in anyway elitist!!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: JHW
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 05:41 AM

Don't remember ever getting to a last verse but was the purpose just amusement or to learn numbers? I'm not going to search but do other languages have equivalents? Multilingual people may know.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 08:59 AM

It has its roots in "Shortnin' Bread."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Senoufou
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 11:28 AM

We sang this in the Brownies in the fifties. Like 'Ten Green Bottles Hanging On The Wall' I always found it a bit tedious, but liked the little one at the end saying, "Goodnight!"
So it's been around for at least seventy years! (So have I!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 12:38 PM

We sang it in the fifties too. It's folklore!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: GUEST,joyfulisa
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 04:45 PM

Hi, all,

Thanks for the tidbits. I'm trying to verify that the song is in the public domain - hence my quest for its origins.

Aside from PDInfo, are there other sites that have catalogs of songs in the PD that I might check?

As I've seen many songs listed as PD that were not actually in the PD, how is anyone to know when it is safe to declare "PD" for a song for which you cannot find the origin, and it is at least 70 years old? (That doesn't automatically qualify any song, generally). Just because no one found the source--is that enough to go on? (Frankly, the songs listed as PD that are not would have been easily identified had the list creator done any simple research at all, so that hardly seems likely to be enough).

@Tim Radford, I understand it doesn't warrant much of your attention, but I'm curating/publishing a list of "common" songs that are safely in the PD, so it does warrant my getting it right.

@Guest who suggested it was rooted in "Shortenin' Bread"--can you explain? I'm not hearing a connection with the melody.

Thanks for any more insight.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 07:32 PM

I didn't glean much of a connection either.

I checked with Mrs Steve, who was brought up in a completely different part of the country to me, and she knew the song too (we sang it lustily together this evening when I mentioned it. Be grateful you weren't there). It might be a trivial kiddies' song, but if it's widespread and goes back a long way, in my book that makes it folklore!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 08:05 PM

Most of my "singing career" has involved singing for kids, mostly 12-year-olds or thereabouts. A song like this wouldn't appeal to them - they're too sophisticated.

But a few times recently, I've been asked to sing for four-year-olds, and entirely different audience. My four-year-old repertoire is a bit limited, but I was able to come up with a couple of half-hour concerts. I hadn't thought of this song, but it would be about right for four-year-olds. Guess that's why it doesn't appeal to Tim.   ;-)


Joyfulisa, I did the copyright research for the Rise Again Songbook, and it was a tough job. I worked with the copyright guy from our publisher, Hal Leonard, and he had the final say-so. My job was to give him evidence of the earliest publication date, or to find publisher information or contact the songwriter for permission if the song was still covered by copyright. Hal Leonard has rights to bajillions of songs, so I didn't have to bother with many of the 1200 songs in our book. He liked the work that I did, so it felt good to be appreciated by a well-known publisher.

I guess what I do to find if a song is in the public domain, is to look for the earliest published version of a song. Google books and archive.org can help a lot with that. For years the cutoff date for public domain was frozen at 1923, but that date has slowly been moving forward in recent years. You're pretty safe with anything up to 1930 now.

The Wikipedia article on Public Domain is pretty good.

Wikipedia: Ten in the Bed - 1988 Storybook


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 08:11 PM

I'm planning on singing it to my five-year-old grandson. That would be about the right target!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 08:21 PM

This one is well and truly in the Public Domain category. A nursery counting song, sung many generations in numerous territories with no known originator. It is reproduced on many sites in Public Domain status, and official teaching packages, and has no copyright, (though people can claim on their own musical arrangements). Ten in the Bed/Roll over, absolutely fits this site as a folk/counting song.
    Wish I could agree. But unless I can find a printed version of the song before 1930 or so, I can't verify that this song is in the Public Domain.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 08:45 PM

Your grandson is a year too old, Steve, but I bet he'll love it. But remember that even five-year-olds are getting to be too cool for little kids' stuff, so don't push it too hard. As long as he's not required to like it, he'll like it.

I'm guessing that this song is not all that old. I can't find any reference to it prior to 1980, but neither can I find anyone who claims a copyright on the song. The most interesting reference to the song that I found, was in a book titled Games, Rhymes, and Wordplay of London Children by N. G. N. Kelsey, Janet E. Alton, J. D. A. Widdowson · 2019. Also note the Opie reference (2001) - the Opies are divinely inspired.

-Joe-



It's in the 1973 Folksinger's Wordbook

1964 Folkways Album Children's Activity songs, by Johnny Richardson.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 09:05 PM

1980s? We were singing it in the fifties, Joe! Until I saw this thread I hadn't even thought about it for sixty years (for which I'm grateful). I'd say that we shouldn't worry about copyright and all that. But, dammit, I'm no legal eagle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten in the Bed)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 21 - 10:12 PM

It is, indeed, fit for the PreK/K age group, and they've loved it for as long as I've been teaching (since the 80's)--all 10 verses of it!
Someone else in this thread recalled singing it at camp some 70 years ago. I suppose that qualifies as a "timeless classic"--of sorts. :)

@Joe Offer--thank you so much for the extra dive. I'm also conscientious about publishing anything I can't verify. I'd say there's a difference b/t singing it to/with a group and publishing it as being in the PD. (Think of how many times people placed "Happy Birthday" on that PD list prematurely!) Having had a song removed from my original list by an Australian publisher ("Kookaburra"--a song I recalled from camp in the 60s) I am aware that there are folks out there just waiting for me to publish something wrong... I can't afford a "gotcha" moment!

Also, Joe, THANK YOU for your earnest work on Rise Again! Wonderful, incredible resource.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Roissey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 06:40 AM

Nursery song sites list the song as dating back to at least the early 20th century - where they source that from is unclear. It is now reproduced as a standard in books, legally published works all over the world, and adapted in many different ways. Even the staid BBC reproduce the words on one of their webpages as a recommended nursery action song. I can find at least one definite intertextual quote reference from the nursery lyric in a 1969 newspaper article and a possible performance based on the title in a 1945 Scout show.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 07:55 AM

I've found one printed version with music from 1961 in a book called, Sing Out, it was also recorded on a folk album by Johnny Richardson in 1959, they have it under the title of Roll Over' but it is exactly the same well known kids song. I'll see if I can find anymore.. but definitely back to the 50's now and before.

https://archive.org/details/sim_sing-out_summer-1961_11_3/page/n7/mode/2up?q=%22so+they+all+rolled+over%22


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 08:25 AM

This is from a 1959 album, though this edition says 1964.   It was clearly classed as a trad. folk song, and published for folkies.   So ha! To the guy who felt this song didn't fit into the Mudcat remit, for being too simple a kids song and obvious! There is actually a hidden tale to find of its origins.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7rO3n9dP5k


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 12:19 PM

There is an adult American variant, Nine Men in a Boarding House Bed,   I can't read music so don't know how close the melody is to the children's song. I can find this in an intercollegiate Outing Club Association lyric book from 1932, A 1946, published edition apparently lists it as Trad. Anon.               
https://musescore.com/user/35619057/scores/6859050


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: Reinhard
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 12:58 PM

Johnny Richardson's album "Childrens's Songs" was originally released in 1959 as the Folkways 10" album FC 7036. It was reissued in 1964 as a 12" album, Folkways FC 7678.

The album's booklet noted:
Roll Over is a cute version of the number songs children are so fond of. This one, not only has the repetition that children like in this type of song, but has a special punch line which makes it more effective. He got this song from a friend's six-year old boy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 04:02 PM

Thanks Reinhard,   I should have said that although the Richardson release may have gone out in 1959, the label says 1958 for (C) production. Another group on the same Folkways label the Harvesters, recorded it on a 1961 release 'Pastures of Plenty' (recorded in Summer 1959).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 05:12 PM

Ten in the Bed was certainly also being performed by Kids in the UK, as well as America. Before the Folkways American recordings even appeared.

Weston Point parents see display of pupils' work
The programme commenced with a rhyme given by Class 2 infants and called Ten In a bed, followed by a poem called The Doctor. The children from Class 1 and 2 then gave a varied programme consisting of ...

Published: Thursday 17 July 1958
Newspaper: Runcorn Weekly News
County: Cheshire, England


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 12 Sep 21 - 07:32 PM

Here is a satire pastiche from May 1939,
The Stick
by Fitchburg State Teachers College

Page -6-

There were three men in bed and the middle man said, "Roll over." So they all rolled over and Dick Kelliher fell out.

This is a 1945 report of a Scouts concert... . Ten in a Bed.” illustrated the 3rd Ballymena (West Church) Scouts’ idea of solving the housing problem.

There are hundreds if not thousands of nursery/song books, teaching aids, cd's, Lps where the song is listed as Public Domain/Trad. or not credited as anything at all.   The Copyright Societies list it as such, and as far as can be told, anyone can use it, or make their own claims on arrangements. Apart from nursery use, it is reproduced as a camp/Scout song in many places. There are no traceable claims, that would indicate a copyright issue.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 13 Sep 21 - 08:11 AM

In the UK, Wally Whyton recorded the song on 1962, and 1963 - as Ten in A Bed. This was on all time Children's Favourites LP's - implying that it was already a standard.. he only claims for the arrangement. With the LP and single format, the first inclusion of short children's counting songs on specific Children's/Nursery releases seems to take off - plus their use in sing a long books.   The earliest LP recording I can find so far is the 1958 one. There is not a recording existing or noted anywhere on the Internet for the song 'There Were Nine Men in A Boarding House Bed'. Yet there is sheet music for it.    Ten in the Bed/Roll Over has endless variants, it can be five in the bed, Kittens etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Sep 21 - 10:33 AM

thanks for your research Rossey

Ten in the Bed is a popular subject for picture books. I have 2 picture books illustrated by Penny Dale Ten in the Bed & Ten out of Bed


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 13 Sep 21 - 10:57 AM

Sorry Sandra and others for being the only one to run with this. But Ten.. Roll Over, etc is now a pure children's folk song with no known originator and many worldwide variations. It was said not to be known earlier than the 80's so that set down a challenge to get as early as I can with it without access to full folk libraries.    Yes there are endless picture books, and sing a longs using variations and have been for decades. It is now well and truly a Public Domain work! Though each adaptation may have its own copyright depending on originality.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 21 - 08:02 PM

THank you @Rossey for your deeper dive!


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Subject: ADD : Nine Men Slept in a Boarding House Bed
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 21 - 08:16 PM

Well, this is the earliest printed version I've found so far - 1948.

NINE MEN SLEPT IN A BOARDING HOUSE BED

Nine men slept in a boarding house bed,
    Roll over, roll over.
They all rolled over when anyone said,
    "Roll over, roll over."
One of them thought it would be a good joke,
Not to roll over when anyone spoke,
And in the souffle his neck got broke,'"
    Roll over, roll over.

Eight men slept in a boarding house bed,
    Roll over, (etc. until nobody left)

Thirteen slept in a shelter for six,
One of them thought it would be a good prank
To shove the others against the plank,
But he (she) got thrown in the lake and sank


Source: Song Fest, by Dick and Beth Best, published by the Intercollegiate Outing Club Association/Oliver Durrell Publishers, New York, ©1948 by R.L. Best - Page 95


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 14 Sep 21 - 06:03 AM

Just to clarify Best is the Publisher of the sheet, not the originator of the song. The number of men in a boarding house bed varies hugely and so does the title. Some list it as seven men, eight, nine etc.

I am now even more confused, on this sheet the song --- in a boarding house bed - the 1941 book says it is set to Nuts In May! I can't read music and wouldn't know a crotchet from a hatchet. Anybody got a clue as to what the accompanying music sounds like?

This is the song in 1941, in Let's Plan A Party For All Occasions

https://archive.org/details/letsplanpartyfor00bowe/page/44/mode/2up?q=men+in+a+boarding+house+bed

Here is a modern reproduction of the 1946 Best sheet.

https://musescore.com/user/35619057/scores/6859050

This is the earliest I know of with the words in a songfest songbook of 1938.


https://archive.org/details/1938iocasongfest/page/61/mode/2up?q=men+slept+in+a+boarding+house+bed

I have also found a direct quote from the words reproduced in a 1932 American newspaper, but it is sixteen men..


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Subject: RE: Origins: Roll Over (aka Ten on/in the Bed)
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 14 Sep 21 - 06:31 AM

Sorry I didn't get the clicky right for the 1941 party song book edition.    What is the tune used? I can't read music. It says Nuts in May, but the version I know, would never fit the words used.
https://archive.org/details/letsplanpartyfor00bowe/page/44/mode/2up?q=men+in+a+boarding+house+bed


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