Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 01-08-2003, 06:52 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 123
Lyrics to Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer"

The Scott Joplin rag, "The Entertainer," has lyrics, and I can't remember or find them. I have no idea if they were part of the original composition, or were added after the fact, but I sang this song in a boys choir about thirty years ago, and Rowlf sang it (with the same words) on an episode of The Muppet Show.

Anybody know them?
#2
Old 01-08-2003, 08:01 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Washington dc
Posts: 16,441
I could not find any lyrics online and I doubt they were part of the original composition. Most likely added later. In any case you might email Perfessor Bill.
#3
Old 01-08-2003, 09:18 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: East Village, Manhattan
Posts: 345
When I was a kid we sang the following, but it's just doggerel (pretty stupid doggerel, too), and I don't know where we got it from:

La la la la la la la la
Hey Mr. Joplin, we're singing your song.
La la la la la la la la
And we're happy to say it's going strong.
La la la la la la la la
The Entertainer's so old it sounds new...

And I'm afraid I forget the rest.
#4
Old 01-08-2003, 09:18 AM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 21,721
Well, you might want to try downloading "Ragtime Jukebox" (it's a free program) from http://beechbrook.com/pte/. There are 50, IIRC, Joplin songs on that. It's a pretty cool program (actually slideshow).
#5
Old 01-08-2003, 09:30 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Baltimore or less
Posts: 3,906
I saw the lyrics once in a book of sheet music, and also got the impression they were added later, by someone other than Joplin.

This is all I remember:

Now the curtain is going up
The entertainer is taking a bow
Does his (dance step?) and sings his song
Even gets the audience to sing along
...
#6
Old 01-08-2003, 10:12 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Per sailor IIRC "The Entertainer" did not originally have lyrics. Any lyrics are after the fact add ons. I have heard it with lyrics and I think there are several versions of lyrics for it.

The popular version heard during the 70's was from

rec.music.ragtime

Quote:
THE ENTERTAINER
(A Rag Time Two-Step)
Music by SCOTT JOPLIN
Words by JOHN BRIMHALL

The book:

Source:
"SCOTT JOPLIN; Arranged for Easy Piano by JOHN BRIMHALL"
Publisher:
Charles Hansen Music & Books, Inc.
1860 Broadway / New York, N.Y. 10023
Copyright:
Copyright (C)1974 by California Music Press, Inc., New York, N.Y.
International Copyright Secured - Made in U.S.A. - All rights reserved
#7
Old 01-08-2003, 01:30 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Potomac
Posts: 32,891
I have a collection of ragtime sheet music at home. I know original Entertainer is in there, I believe it has the version with the lyrics as well. If nobody else can come up with the lyrics, I should be able to email any interested parties. Can't post them here verbatim, you know.
__________________
Why become a fourth Yeti?
#8
Old 01-08-2003, 01:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Gardner MA USA
Posts: 2,417
When Marvin Hamlisch arranged "The Entertainer" for the movie, "The Sting," he (or his lyricist) added lyrics and called the song, "If They Only Could See Me Now."

I know this because I have "The Sting" Songbook sheet music.

Hope this helps.
#9
Old 01-08-2003, 04:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm right here!
Posts: 8,858
Here's what I remember:

Hello ladies and gentlemen.
..........
........
...........
and when we all get together
there's no doubt as to whether
we can sing up a hullabaloooo.


where each dot is a beat I don't remember the words to.

...Or maybe my third grade music teacher just made that all up for some nefarious purpose.
#10
Old 07-17-2011, 07:31 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1
Here are the lyrics that I learned in grade school:

Now the curtain is going up
The entertainer is taking a bow
Does his dance step and sings his song
Even get all the audience to sing along
Yes he knows what he just must do
Knows how to bring down the house when he's through

Last edited by Marley23; 07-17-2011 at 11:32 PM. Reason: shortened song lyrics
#11
Old 07-17-2011, 07:39 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 41,379
It was Milton Berle who sang it with Rowlf on The Muppet Show.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 07-17-2011 at 07:39 PM.
#12
Old 07-17-2011, 08:20 PM
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 39,391
Moving to Cafe Society from GQ.

Please note that this thread is more than seven years old.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
#13
Old 10-24-2011, 05:46 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1
More Lyrics

I remember a bit more... (I was very young when I learned this, about 35 years ago so please forgive any errors)

Now the curtain is going up
The entertainer is taking a bow
Does his dance step and sings his song
Even get all the audience to sing along
Yes he knows just what he must do
Knows how to bring down the house when he's through
Snappy patter and jokes
He knows what pleases the folks
The entertainer the star of the show.

It was in Vaudeville
And he was on the bill
With all the singers, dancers, acrobats and clowns
There was a dog act there
Even a dancing bear
And a comedian who never lets you down
But when he came on
To sing his favourite song
He really wowed them in the cities and the towns
They came from near and far
To see the Vaudeville star
The entertainer.

I hope this helps!

Regards,

Adam

Last edited by adamburr; 10-24-2011 at 05:48 PM.
#14
Old 10-24-2011, 06:03 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Moving to Cafe Society from GQ.

Please note that this thread is more than seven years old.
Pish-posh. Ragtime is over a hundred.
#15
Old 10-24-2011, 08:04 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,599
..when I hit the stage, the crowd goes into a rage...

Also - ...they'd be so proud of me in my hometown...

That's what I remember; I had the sheet music as well.

UT

Last edited by UntouchedTakeaway; 10-24-2011 at 08:06 PM.
#16
Old 08-08-2013, 11:50 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1
The original sheet music

Johns Hopkins' Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection has the original sheet music scanned as a PDF:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/catalog/levy:170.129

No lyrics exist on the original.
#17
Old 08-08-2013, 12:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 5,915
Um...should I feel like a dick for not knowing that Scott Joplin was black?

Last edited by Sicks Ate; 08-08-2013 at 12:11 PM.
#18
Old 08-08-2013, 12:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: F.O.S.O.N.E.
Posts: 19,903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Um...should I feel like a dick for not knowing that Scott Joplin was black?
Only for thinking a white guy could have written such amazing music.
#19
Old 08-08-2013, 12:57 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Um...should I feel like a dick for not knowing that Scott Joplin was black?
He was, but did you come to that conclusion after looking at the caricature on the sheet music front? I don't think that's a portrait.
#20
Old 08-08-2013, 12:59 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: KS, US
Posts: 5,915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
He was, but did you come to that conclusion after looking at the caricature on the sheet music front? I don't think that's a portrait.
No! I thought the caricature was rather crude...

I was looking to see why it's called a 'rag'..which led to reading about 'ragtime', which had a picture of Mr. Joplin.

And I said...wait. I want to remember exatly what I said. Ok. I think I remember:


"Bwwaaaaahhh??"

Last edited by Sicks Ate; 08-08-2013 at 01:00 PM.
#21
Old 08-08-2013, 01:30 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 20,438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
"Bwwaaaaahhh??"
Then this should be a revelation.
#22
Old 08-08-2013, 01:54 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Posts: 1,797
These are the lyrics I learned in school -- apparently as recorded by Ray Conniff. If I ever see that music teacher again he's a dead man. Even when it was uber-over exposed after The Sting came out, it was a nice piece of music but 40 years later it's still marred in my mind by those inane, juvenile lyrics.

I can't get them out of my head; I don't want them there and someone should pay!
#23
Old 02-22-2018, 11:34 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamburr View Post
I remember a bit more... (I was very young when I learned this, about 35 years ago so please forgive any errors)

Now the curtain is going up
The entertainer is taking a bow
Does his dance step and sings his song
Even get all the audience to sing along
[snipped]

Regards,

Adam
I have a collection _75 Super Blockbusters for 74_ with those lyrics credited to John Brimhall. He was a very prolific musical arranger. This would have been one of his ways to make classics accessible to beginning players.
#24
Old 02-23-2018, 07:05 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,867
What's weirder is Scott Joplin's breakthrough hit Maple Leaf Rag also has lyrics. That song is not made for lyrics.

"Go 'way man, I can hypnotize the nation,
I can shake the earth's foundation with the Maple Leaf Rag.
Go 'way man, just hold your breath a minute,
'Cause there's not a stunt that's in it with the Maple Leaf Rag."

Yeah, those lyrics suck. I'm glad the song survived them.

Would it surprise anyone that the Charleston dance song had lyrics too?
#25
Old 02-23-2018, 01:28 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 5,785
Let's play the Zombie Rag!!
#26
Old 02-23-2018, 05:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,427
Quote:
Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
What's weirder is Scott Joplin's breakthrough hit Maple Leaf Rag also has lyrics. That song is not made for lyrics.

"Go 'way man, I can hypnotize the nation,
I can shake the earth's foundation with the Maple Leaf Rag.
Go 'way man, just hold your breath a minute,
'Cause there's not a stunt that's in it with the Maple Leaf Rag."

Yeah, those lyrics suck. I'm glad the song survived them.

Would it surprise anyone that the Charleston dance song had lyrics too?
Please tell me the lyricists have kept their filthy paws off my beloved "Elite Syncopations".
#27
Old 02-23-2018, 07:52 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,867
Quote:
Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
Please tell me the lyricists have kept their filthy paws off my beloved "Elite Syncopations".
As far as I know, they have. That piece is supposedly an instrumental representation of the romantic advances of a bold Progressive Era man toward a prim and elagant woman who flirts back in a very proper way until the glorious finale that is their union as a couple.

Words for this are best left to the imagination.
#28
Old 02-23-2018, 08:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,912
Aw, I actually kinda like the Maple Leaf Rag lyrics. “Hypnotize the nation/Shake the earth’s foundation” is pretty darn good IMHO and fits the complexity of the music quite well.

I do like the lyrics to Pineapple Rag better:

“Hear me sigh, hear me cry/For that Pineapple Rag
What a dream! It sure does seem/Like heaven when we drag...”

There’s also a line going something like “talk like that is out of season/What I like is something pleasing/Pineapple Rag for mine.” Again, the lyrics fit the music quite well. IMHO anyway.

Inspired? Nah. Fun? Sure. Appropriate for the time period? Absolutely. I think the music works best without the lyrics but the words certainly don’t bother me.

Should perhaps be noted that the lyrics for both of these two rags were created during Joplin’s lifetime. Perhaps with his input (if memory serves) and certainly with his blessing. It helped that this was another source of income for someone who often didn’t have very much money. My understanding is that the lyrics for the Entertainer were not from Joplin’s own time, but date from many years afterwards. Thus, less “authentic “ for those who care about such things.
#29
Old 02-23-2018, 09:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,867
The only Scott Joplin music where I want to hear lyrics are in his opera Treemonisha. I was a subscriber to Chicago's Lyric Opera for about twenty years, and they never did perform it. Douches.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 02-23-2018 at 09:20 PM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:10 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: republican star hydrocodone hiccups rogue and magneto reddit butterface asperger speech pattern robert hanssen prison non spicy curry tylenol od chase atv loan present ability public laundromats cross eyed woman snowplow tires can i use drano in a garbage disposal does bar soap expire how to use sweeping compound can people get high off catnip extracting a root canaled tooth magic eraser on skin food that begins with e how does crazycardtrick.com work how often should a clutch be replaced dave chappelle interview with oprah cat hates being held how long does it take for hair to grow back after shaving head pregnancy comes in threes how long are high school transcripts kept