Where Did That Miss Susie Song Come From?

Pop Culture Crime
2 min readJan 22, 2022
Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Growing up, we would recite a naughty song and clap our hands together. We would giggle, titillated at the thought of getting one over on our parents.

“We’re not really saying the word!” we would say. “It just sounds like we’re going to.”

It went:

Miss Susie had a steam boat,

The steam boat had a bell (Ding! Ding!),

Miss Susie went to heaven,

The steam boat went to . . .

Hello operator, give me number 9,

And if you disconnect me, I’ll chop off your . . .

Behind the refrigerator, there lay a piece of glass

Miss Susie slipped upon it and broke her little . . .

Ask me no more questions, tell me no more lies,

The boys are in the bathroom zipping up their . . .

Flies are in the bathroom, bees are in the park,

The boys and girls are kissing in the D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, Dark, dark, dark

When I was a kid, I feel like it was impossible to meet another girl who didn’t know the song. But where did it come from?

According to Wikipedia, some version of the song was recorded somewhere between 1910 and 1940 as part of a series of vaudeville jokes. There is also strong comparison to a song called “Bang Bang Lulu,” which also has several variations.

I was able to find somebody who did a little bit of research on this song. Apparently, the earliest version they found was from Michigan in the 1950s. There are so many versions of the song, some with lyrics I never heard, some with racist lyrics, and some with more sexual lyrics.

I don’t have many young children in my life, so I have no idea if this song is still as popular as it was in my group of friends. The spreading of songs and stories in this way has always fascinated me, and this is hopefully jut the scant beginning of my research.

Was anybody else familiar with this song? Were the lyrics different for you?

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Pop Culture Crime

Just a West Coast girl passionate about my hungry guys.