Thing a Week 30 – The Presidents

By JoCo April 28, 2006

This is a song that I wrote last year for a Presidents Day edition of Little Gray Books – one small fact about every US president (thanks Wikipedia). Some of you more dedicated Coulton scholars may have already heard the live version in episode 7 of the Little Gray Books Podcast. Back then I performed it with the Hungry March Band, the most energetic stoner marching band I’ve ever seen. They played the Hail to the Chief part in between verses – since I have no marching band here, I had to make do with toy instruments. This new recording may be a little rough because there are men hammering and sawing and drilling in my kitchen all week, not exactly the best thing to have on the other side of the studio wall. You may hear some of it here and there, but hey: this is Thing a Week, people.

The Presidents

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Len says

Ooo...this should be an interesting one to draw. Let me see what I can come up with.

BTW, in some parts it sounds like "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer." :)

Ben says

Well done again, JC. Nice to know someone else is musically inspired by President's Day. A friend and I wrote this one back in college:

Bob says

Uhhhh, I know the line is suppose to be "Carter lusted in his heart for peanuts", but it really sounds like "Carter lusted in his heart for *penis*", which, while entertaining, is probably a bit of revisionist history.

Eric Ginsberg says

F'ing BRILLIANT! I recently finished reading a book of presidents with my son, one president at a time, one night each, for a few months (I don't have him every night), so this was particularly amusing. However, nothing compairs to the genius of the empty line after, "I don't like to make political statements." Saying nothing was a thousand times funnier than anything you could have written there. Besides, what rhymes with "March", anyway? Larch? Parch? Those are stupid words. You made the right choice.

C Ya,

Pedantic Historian says

"Garfield was assassinated in 1882" ... er, no. I remember the gallery o' presidents from my high school history book, and the single year listed under Garfield's picture was 1881. Wikipedia concurs:

Len says

Here's what I came up with for the Visual TAW:

Eric gave me a good idea for another TAW for this week. I might try drawing it later this week.

JoCo says

Dammit! 1881 - how did that happen? You all know that I strive for accuracy. I will have to do something about this. Love the image Len...

J. Hazelip says

I am unable to download this file. Firefox indicates that it appears to have been removed. Can you fix the download link, or upload the file again?

J. Hazelip says

Never mind, it's working again. Weird... I wonder why I couldn't get it via the same link in the RSS feed..?

Randal C. says

Very good--excellent companion piece to the Brunching Shuttlecocks' "88 Lines About 42 Presidents" (written before Bush II the regime).

Pedantic Historian says

Just remember, "one" rhymes with "fun" and "ton", either of which could describe a presidential drinking binge. :D

Leigh says

How perfect is this to get me in the mood for my AP US History exam on Thursday? I wonder if I can memorize it in that time and manage to work some lyrics into an essay...

Alex says

Come on JC, tell us what you really wanted to say after "I don't like to make political statements...." :-)

Patrick M says

I've listened to the LGB version so many times that it was unsettling to not hear the one measure of Hail to the Chief come in a verse too early after Cleveland.

Ed Rayne says

"In 1812 James Maddison kicked the British in the pants"


Batshua says

I've got to say that this song makes me mad happy. A song about presidents where there isn't an explicit political statement.

I know you were probably *thinking* something snarky, but you just got me to buy 2 CDs and all the Other Experiments because you didn't say it.

My friends and I love your stuff. I live in a dorm and I have iTunes sharing on, so I'm making your music available in a small way.

Michael says

Actually, in that context those eight beats of silence are funnier than any words could be. The audience has heard "I don't like to make statements, BUT ... " for so long that they expect the same here, so they follow the singer out on his limb--and surprise! he's still at the trunk, sawing the limb out from under them.

Jason says

Every time I try to download this (either through this page or in iTunes) it gets abotu 80% done and then the downlaod just HANGS.

Anyone else seeing this?

Jeff says

Yeah, I was going to point out that Garfield was assassinated in 1881, but obviously other scholars heard it before I did. Great song!

How about "President Grant was better with a gun"? After all, his administration was marred repeatedly by scandal. Then you could change the Garfield line appropriately. :)

Kyle says

Well, on the accuracy note (and with the appreciation that nobody will read my comment), I wanted to point out that Texas was not annexed from Mexico because it was an independent nation when it was annexed to the United States. I make no recommendations for changing lyrics. The song works, and only nutty people like me care all that much. What can I say, I'm a patriotic Texan.

nutmeg says

This is great, and I'm going to use it with my class of third graders :)

Jameson says

I gave this song to my AP US History teacher for extra credit. He plays it almost every day, and there's only a few of the kids in the class (who have no taste in music) that don't like it. :)

Dyrk says

He sings "Andrew Jackson got rid of all the Indian" like he thinks it's a GOOD thing. And no, he didn't get rid of ALL the Indians.Thank God.

Dyrk says

Also, "Hoover screwed the pooch......" makes it somewhat inappropriate for a certain age that might benefit from the mnemonic value of the song.

JoCo says

@Dyrk: see

ThomasSixten says

Any chance of an update, with a new president and all?