Frère Jacques

Album: Frère Jacques (1780)
  • This simple French nursery rhyme is quite well known in English, and is often taught in elementary French, and in music lessons as a recorder tune. Literally "Brother John," it is usually sung in French, and sounds better that way.
    As with most traditional verse, its origin is uncertain; it seems likely that it was not set to music in the first instance. There are numerous variations on the lyrics, and countless translations. The earliest printed version of the melody dates from around 1780, as "Frère Blaise." Unsurprisingly, "Frère Jacques" has been translated into many languages, from Afrikaans to Xhosa through Japanese.
  • Obviously this has never been a chart song, although it has been recorded by no less a group than The Beatles. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 2

  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandI can remember someone in a TV show trying to sing this, but they didn't know it was French, so they sung it as £ "Fairy Jacket" or something. It was silly.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThis song makes heavy use of the French tactic of pronouncing syllables in song which are not pronounced in speech: "Frere Jacques" becomes "Frere-uh Jacques-uh".
see more comments

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Adam Young of Owl CitySongwriter Interviews

Is Owl City on a quest for another hit like "Fireflies?" Adam answers that question and explains the influences behind many others.

Motley CrueFact or Fiction

Was Dr. Feelgood a dentist? Did the "Crüecifixion" really happen?

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

Justin TimberlakeFact or Fiction

Was Justin the first to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher? Did Britney really blame him for her meltdown? Did his bandmates think he was gay?