School House Rock - America Rock

School House Rock - America Rock

School House Rock offers students edutainment, which often leads to long term retention and better understanding of ideas.

No More Kings - Episode 1

Episode 1 "No More Kings"

Singer: Lynn Ahrens

Song Writer: Lynn Ahrens

Original Air Date: September 20, 1975

This song shows the Pilgrims settling in America and eventually Americans throwing a Boston Tea Party to protest British tyranny. It was voted #13 on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


Rockin' and a-rollin', splishin' and a-splashin'

Over the horizon, what can it be?


The pilgrims sailed the sea

To find a place to call their own

In their ship Mayflower

They hoped to find a better home

They finally knocked

On Plymouth Rock

And someone said, "We're there

It may not look like home

But at this point I don't care"


Oh, they were missing Mother England

They swore their loyalty until the very end

Anything you say, King

It's OK, King

You know it's kinda scary on your own

Going to build a new land

The way we planned

Could you help us run it until it's grown?


They planted corn, you know

They built their houses one by one

And bit by bit they worked

Until the colonies were done

They looked around

Yeah, up and down

And someone said, "Hurray!

If the king could only see us now

He would be proud of us today"


They knew that now they'd run their own land

But George the Third still vowed

He'd rule them until the end

"Anything I say, do it my way now

Anything I say, do it my way

Don't you get to feeling independent

Because I'm going to force you to obey"


He taxed their property

He didn't give them any choice

And back in England

He didn't give them any voice

(That's called taxation without representation

And it's not fair!)

But when the Colonies complained

The king said: "I don't care!"


He even has the nerve

To tax our cup of tea

To put it kindly, King

We really don't agree


Going to show you how we feel

We're going to dump this tea

And turn this harbor into

The biggest cup of tea in history!


They wanted no more Mother England

They knew the time had come

For them to take command

It's very clear you're being unfair, King

No matter what you say, we won't obey

Going to hold a revolution now, King

And we're gonna run it all our way

With no more kings . . .


We're going to elect a president! (No more kings)

He's going to do what the people want! (No more kings)

We're going to run things our way! (No more kings)

Nobody's going to tell us what to do!


Rockin' and a-rollin', splishin' and a-splashin'

Over the horizon, what can it be?

Looks like it's going to be a free country

Fireworks - Episode 2

Episode 2 "Fireworks"

Singer: Grady Tate

Song Writer: Lynn Ahrens

Original Air Date: July 3, 1976

This song teaches about the Declaration of Independence.


Oh, there's going to be fireworks (fireworks!)

On the Fourth of July (red, white, and blue!)

Red, white, and blue fireworks

Like diamonds in the sky. (diamonds in the sky!)

We're going to shoot the entire works on fireworks

That really show, oh yeah

We declared our liberty 200 years ago


Yeah!


In 1776 (fireworks!)

There were fireworks too (red, white, and blue!)

The original colonists

You know their tempers blew (They really blew!)

Like Thomas Paine once wrote:

It's only common sense (only common sense)

That if a government won't give you your basic rights

You'd better get another government


And though some people tried to fight it

Well, a committee was formed to write it:

Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston

John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson

They got it done (Oh yes they did!)

The Declaration, uh-huh-huh

The Declaration of Independence (oh yeah!)

In seventeen hundred seventy six (right on!)

The Continental Congress said that we were free (we're free!)

Said we had the right of life and liberty

. . . And the pursuit of happiness!


Oh, when England heard the news (kerpow!)

They blew their stack (they really blew their cool!)

But the colonists lit the fuse

There'd be no turning back (no turning back!)

They'd had enough of injustice now

But even if it really hurts, oh yeah

If you don't give us our freedom now

You're going to see some fireworks!


And on the Fourth of July they signed it

And 56 names underlined it

And now to honor those first 13 states

We turn the sky into a birthday cake

They got it done (oh yes, they did!)

The Declaration, uh-huh-huh

The Declaration of Independence (oh yeah!)

In seventeen hundred seventy six (right on!)

The Continental Congress said that we were free (we're free!)

Said we had the right of life and liberty

. . . And the pursuit of happiness!


We hold these truths to be self-evident

That all men are created equal

And that they are endowed by their creator

With certain inalienable rights

That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness


And if there's one thing that makes me happy

Then you know that it's (oh)

There's going to be fireworks!

The Shot Heard Round the World - Episode 3

Episode 3 "The Shot Heard 'Round The World"

Bob Dorough

Song Writer: Bob Dorough

Original Air Date: October 18, 1975

This song teaches about the American Revolution. It was voted #10 on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


"The British are coming! The British are coming!"


Now, the ride of Paul Revere

Set the nation on its ear

And the shot at Lexington heard 'round the world

When the British fired in the early dawn

The War of Independence had begun

The die was cast, the rebel flag unfurled


And on to Concord marched the foe

To seize the arsenal there you know

Waking folks searching all around

Until our militia stopped them in their tracks

At the old North Bridge we turned them back

And chased those Redcoats back to Boston town


And the shot heard 'round the world

Was the start of the Revolution

The Minutemen were ready, on the move

Take your powder, and take your gun

Report to General Washington

Hurry men, there's not an hour to lose!


Now, at famous Bunker Hill

Even though we lost, it was quite a thrill

The rebel Colonel Prescott proved he was wise

Outnumbered and low on ammunition

As the British stormed his position

He said, "Hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes!"


Though the next few years were rough

General Washington's men proved they were tough

Those hungry, ragged boys would not be beat

One night they crossed the Delaware

Surprised the Hessians in their lair

And at Valley Forge they just bundled up their feet!


And the shot heard 'round the world

Was the start of the Revolution

The Minutemen were ready, on the move

Take your blanket, and take your son

Report to General Washington

We've got our rights and now it's time to prove


Well, they showed such determination

That they won the admiration

Of countries across the sea like France and Spain

Who loaned the colonies ships and guns

And put the British on the run

And the Continental Army on its feet again


And though they lost some battles too

The Americans swore they'd see it through

Their raiding parties kept up, hit and run

At Yorktown the British could not retreat

Bottled up by Washington and the French Fleet

Cornwallis surrendered and finally we had won!


The winner!


Hurray!


From the shot heard 'round the world

To the end of the Revolution

The continental rabble took the day

And the father of our country

Beat the British there at Yorktown

And brought freedom to you and me and the U.S.A.!


God bless America, let freedom ring!

The Preamble - Episode 4

Watch and practice The Preamble song.

Episode 4 "The Preamble"

Singer: Lynn Ahrens

Song Writer: Lynn Ahrens

Original Air Date: November 1, 1975

This song teaches about the United States Constitution and sets its Preamble to music. The words "of the United States" are removed from the Preamble in this song version. It was voted the 6th best song on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


Hey, do you know about the U.S.A.?

Do you know about the government?

Can you tell me about the Constitution?

Hey, learn about the U.S.A.


In 1787 I'm told

Our founding fathers did agree

To write a list of principles

For keeping people free.


The U.S.A. was just starting out

A whole brand-new country

And so our people spelled it out

The things that we should be


And they put those principles down on paper and called it the Constitution, and it's been helping us run our country ever since then. The first part of the Constitution is called the preamble and tells what those founding fathers set out to do.


We the people

In order to form a more perfect union

Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility

Provide for the common defense

Promote the general welfare and

Secure the blessings of liberty

To ourselves and our posterity

Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America


In 1787 I'm told

Our founding fathers all sat down

And wrote a list of principles

That's known the world around


The U.S.A. was just starting out

A whole brand-new country

And so our people spelled it out

They wanted a land of liberty


And the Preamble goes like this:


We the people

In order to form a more perfect union

Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility

Provide for the common defense

Promote the general welfare and

Secure the blessings of liberty

To ourselves and our posterity

Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America


For the United States of America . . .

Sufferin Till Suffrage - Episode 5

Episode 5 "Sufferin' Till Suffrage"

Singer: Essra Mohawk

Song Writer: Bob Dorough, Tom Yohe

Original Air Date: February 21, 1976

This song teaches about the steps women took to get their right to vote.


(Yeah! Hurray!)


Now you have heard of Women's Rights

And how we've tried to reach new heights

If we're "all created equal"

That's us too!


(Yeah!)


But you will probably not recall

That it's not been too, too long at all

Since we even had the right to

Cast a vote


(Well!)


Well, sure, some men bowed down and called us "Mrs." (Yeah!)

Let us hang the wash out and wash the dishes (Huh!)

But when the time rolled around to elect a president


What did they say, Sister (What did they say?)


They said, uh, "See you later, alligator

And don't forget my, my mashed potatoes

Because I'm going downtown to cast my vote for president"


Oh, we were suffering until suffrage

Not a woman here could vote, no matter what age

Then the 19th Amendment struck down that restrictive rule (Oh yeah!)


And now we pull down on the lever

Cast our ballots and we endeavor

To improve our country, state, county, town, and school


(Tell them about it!)


Those pilgrim women who

Who braved the boat

Could cook the turkey, but they

They could not vote

Even Betsy Ross, who sewed the flag, was left behind that first election day


(What a shame, Sisters!)


Then Susan B. Anthony (yeah!) and Julia Howe

(Lucretia!) Lucretia Mott, (and others!) they showed us how

They carried signs and marched in lines

Until at long last the law was passed


Oh, we were suffering until suffrage

Not a woman here could vote, no matter what age

Then the 19th Amendment struck down that restrictive rule (Oh yeah!)


And now we pull down on the lever

Cast our ballots and we endeavor

To improve our country, state, county, town, and school (Right on! Right on!)


Yes, the 19th Amendment

Struck down that restrictive rule (Right on! Right on!)


Yes, the 19th Amendment

Struck down that restrictive rule

(Yeah, yeah!

Yeah, yeah!

Right on!

We got it now!)


Since 1920

Sisters, unite!

Vote on!

I'm Just a Bill - Episode 6

Episode 6 "I'm Just A Bill"

Singer: Jack Sheldon, John Sheldon

Song Writer: Dave Frishberg

Original Air Date: March 27, 1976

This song uses the perspective of a bill singing a song about being stuck in committee to explain how a bill becomes a law. It was voted #2 on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


Boy: Woof! You sure got to climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is?


Bill: I'm just a bill

Yes, I'm only a bill

And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill

Well, it's a long, long journey

To the capital city

It's a long, long wait

While I'm sitting in committee

But I know I'll be a law someday

At least I hope and pray that I will

But today I am still just a bill


Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage


Bill: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn't even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, "You're right, there ought to be a law." Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.


I'm just a bill

Yes, I'm only a bill,

And I got as far as Capitol Hill

Well, now I'm stuck in committee

And I'll sit here and wait

While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate

Whether they should let me be a law

How I hope and pray that they will

But today I am still just a bill


Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?


Bill: Yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favorably, otherwise I may die.


Boy: Die?


Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oh, but it looks like I'm going to live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.


Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?


Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.


Boy: Oh no!


Bill: Oh yes!


I'm just a bill

Yes, I'm only a bill

And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill

Well, then I'm off to the White House

Where I'll wait in a line

With a lot of other bills

For the president to sign

And if he signs me, then I'll be a law

How I hope and pray that he will

But today I am still just a bill


Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no?


Bill: Yes, that's called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you're so old . . .


Boy: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a law. It's not easy to become a law, is it?


Bill: No!


But how I hope and I pray that I will

But today I am still just a bill


Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you're a law!


Bill: Oh yes!

The Great American Melting Pot - Episode 7

Episode 7 "The Great American Melting Pot"

Singer: Lori Lieberman

Song Writer: Lynn Ahrens

Original Air Date: May 1, 1976

This song teaches about Immigration in America. It was voted #19 on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


My grandmother came from Russia

A satchel on her knee

My grandfather had his father's cap

He brought from Italy

They'd heard about a country

Where life might let them win

They paid the fare to America

And there they melted in


Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot

The great American melting pot


America was founded by the English

But also by the Germans, Dutch, and French

The principle still sticks

Our heritage is mixed

So any kid could be the president


You simply melt right in

It doesn't matter what your skin

It doesn't matter where you're from

Or your religion, you jump right in

To the great American melting pot

The great American melting pot

Oh, what a stew, red, white, and blue


America was the New World

And Europe was the Old

America was the land of hope

Or so the legend told

On steamboats by the millions

In search of honest pay

Those 19th-century immigrants sailed

To reach the U.S.A.


Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot

The great American melting pot

What good ingredients

Liberty and immigrants


They brought the country's customs

Their language and their ways

They filled the factories, tilled the soil

Helped build the U.S.A.

Go on and ask your grandma

Hear what she has to tell

How great to be an American

And something else as well


Lovely Lady Liberty

With her book of recipes

And the finest one she's got

Is the great American melting pot

The great American melting pot


The great American melting pot

The great American melting pot

Elbow Room - Episode 8

Episode 8 "Elbow Room"

Singer: Sue Manchester

Song Writer: Lynn Ahrens

Original Air Date: May 22, 1976

This song teaches about Westward Expansion, starting from the 13 original colonies, showcasing the Louisiana Purchase, and quickly showing the Oregon Trail, wagon trains, California Gold Rush, and transcontinental railroad. It was voted the 25th best song on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


One thing you will discover

When you get next to one another

Is everybody needs some elbow room, elbow room


It's nice when you're kinda cozy, but

Not when you're tangled nose to nosey, oh

Everybody needs some elbow, needs a little elbow room


That's how it was in the early days of the U.S.A.

The people kept coming to settle though

The east was the only place there was to go


The president was Thomas Jefferson

He made a deal with Napoleon

How'd you like to sell a mile or two

(Or three, or a hundred, or a thousand?)


And so, in 1803 the Louisiana Territory was sold to us

Without a fuss

And gave us lots of elbow room


Oh, elbow room, elbow room

Got to, got to get us some elbow room

It's the west or bust

In God we trust

There's a new land out there

Lewis and Clark volunteered to go

Goodbye, good luck, wear your overcoat!

They prepared for good times and for bad (and for bad)

They hired Sacagawea to be their guide

She led them all across the countryside

Reached the coast

And found the most

Elbow room we've ever had


The way was opened up for folks with bravery

There were plenty of fights

To win land rights

But the West was meant to be

It was our Manifest Destiny!


The trappers, traders, and the peddlers

The politicians, and the settlers

They got there by any way they could (any way they could)

The Gold Rush trampled down the wilderness

The railroads spread across from east to west

And soon the West was opened up for - opened up for good


And now we jet from east to west

Goodbye New York, hello L.A.

But it took those early folks to open up the way


Now we've got a lot of room to be

Growing from sea to shining sea

Guess that we have got our elbow room (elbow room)

But if there should ever come a time

When we're crowded up together

I'm sure we'll find some elbow room . . . up on the moon!


Oh, elbow room, elbow room

Got to, got to get us some elbow room

It's the moon or bust

In God we trust

There's a new land up there!

Mother Necessity - Episode 9

Episode 9 "Mother Necessity"

Singer: Bob Dorough, Blossom Dearie, Essra Mohawk, Jack Sheldon

Song Writer: Bob Dorough

Original Air Date: July 10, 1976

This song shows important American inventors and inventions. It was voted #20 on the 30th Anniversary DVD Top 25.


Mother Necessity

With her good intentions

Where would this country be

Without her inventions?


Oh, things were rotten in the land of cotton

Until Whitney made the cotton gin

Now old times there will soon be forgotten

For it did the work of a hundred men


Mother Necessity, where would we be?


Mother Edison worked late each night

It went well until the fading light

Little Thomas Alva Edison said, "I'll grow up to be

A great inventor and I'll make a lamp to help my mommy see,

Wowee! What an excellent application of electricity!"

He worked hard and pulled the switch

He was smart and very rich


Mother Necessity, help us to see


Now, the mother of Samuel Morse

Always sent the lad out on a horse

"Take a message to Ms. Peavy on the far side of the pike

Spread the word about the quilting bee next Saturday night!"

Little Samuel started thinking of a way to send a message

Though he never met a horse he didn't like, uh!


Mother Necessity!


Elias, can you help me with my sewing?

Mother dear, I'll fulfill your fondest wishes

Elias, how?

This machine I've made will keep your sewing really flowing

In fact, we'll keep the whole nation in stitches, ah!


Mother Necessity, where would we be?


Ring me on the Alexander Graham Bell

Thank you Alexander for the phone

I'd never get a date, I'd never get a job

Unless I had a telephone


Mother Necessity!


"Orville, Wilbur, go outside this minute

And there continue with your silly playing!

Take these plans and take those blueprints

Take that funny looking thing

Take that wheel, take that wing

I can't hear a thing that Mrs. Johnson's saying

Orville! Wilbur! Come back, boys! Orville! Wilbur!"


Mother Necessity, where would we be?


When Robert Fulton made the steamboat go

When Marconi gave us wireless radio

When Henry Ford cranked up his first automo

When Samuel Slater showed us how factories go

And all the iron and oil and coal and steel and Yankee don't you know

They made this country really grow, grow, grow, grow

With Mother Necessity and where would we be

Without the inventions of your progeny?

Three Ring Government - Episode 10

Episode 10 "Three Ring Government"

Singer: Lynn Ahrens

Song Writer: Bob Dorough

Original Air Date: February 3, 1979

This song uses a three-ring circus to show how the three branches check and balance the powers of the United States Government.


Going to have a three-ring circus someday

People will say it's a fine one, son

Going to have a three-ring circus someday

People will come from miles around

Lions, tigers, acrobats, and jugglers and clowns galore

Tightrope walkers, pony riders, elephants, and so much more


Guess I got the idea right here at school

Felt like a fool when they called my name

Talking about the government and how it's arranged

Divided in three like a circus

Ring one, Executive

Two is Legislative, that's Congress

Ring three, Judiciary

See it's kind of like my circus, circus


Step right up and visit ring number one

The show's just begun, meet the President

I am here to see that the laws get done

The ringmaster of the government


On with the show!


Hurry, hurry, hurry to ring number two

See what they do in the Congress

Passing laws and juggling bills

Oh, it's quite a thrill in the Congress


Focus your attention on ring number three

The Judiciary's in the spotlight

The courts take the law and they tame the crimes

Balancing the wrongs with your rights


No one part can be

More powerful than any other is

Each controls the other you see

And that's what we call checks and balances


Well, everybody's act is part of the show

And no one's job is more important

The audience is kind of like the country you know

Keeping and eye on their performance


Ring one, Executive

Two is Legislative, that's Congress

Ring three, Judiciary

See it's kind of like my circus, circus


Going to have a three-ring circus someday

People will say it's a fine one, son

But until I get it, I'll do my thing

With government, it's got three rings

I'm Gonna Send Your Vote To College - Episode 11

Episode 11 "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote To College"

Singer: Jack Sheldon, Bob Dorough

Song Writer: Bob Dorough, George Newall

Year: 2002

This song teaches about the electoral college.


E-L-E-C-TOR-AL

Electoral College - we've got a tale to tell!


So what if we don't have a football team?

At least we never have to write a theme

No classes, no professors, no tuition

Yet we're the goal of every politician

Because everyone who graduates becomes the president

(Ta da!)


I'm gonna send your vote to college

When you vote for president

And if you'll let me share some knowledge

You'll understand this big event!


The folks who wrote our Constitution

Had the idea for this plan

And it's been used in our elections

Since our government began


When you pull down on my levers for the person of your choice

You're also choosing state electors, who will have the final voice

They're called the electoral college, and they'll meet to stipulate

Who the voters have selected to be the winner in each state


Now, the number of electors

That your state is going to get

Is based on total population

That's a formula that's set


And when the popular vote is counted

To find a winner in each state,

Each state will pledge all of its electors

To choose the winning candidate!


I like it! I like it!


E-L-E-C-TOR-AL

Electoral College - and we deserve a yell!


And even if the vote is close

And someone wins by just a little, tiny hair

Electors give that person all their votes

And it's considered fair and square!


I'm gonna send your vote to college

When you vote for president

And now the electoral college

Will work the way our founders meant


So what if they don't have a big macho football team?

It's every politician's special dream!

Because everyone who graduates

Yes, everyone who graduates

Everyone who graduates becomes the president!

Presidential Minute - Episode 12

Episode 12 "Presidential Minute"

Singer: Jack Sheldon

Song Writer: George R. Newall, Tom Yohe Jr.

Year: 2008

This song teaches about the process of electing a president.


Presidential Minute

Four years have passed

It's time again to state the main event

Election Day is drawing near

We'll pick our president


Republicans and Democrats hold national conventions

They built their party platforms to broadcast their intentions

The candidates they nominate will surely have potential

They'll have to campaign long and hard to prove they're presidential


With whistle stops and photo ops

And great debates and TV spots

Posters, pics, even dirty tricks

They run for president


The key states are the bigger ones with larger populations

They have the electoral votes it takes to win elections

Abe Lincoln, Grant, and FDR, they all got here this way

Be sure your mom and dad get out to vote Election Day


After whistle stops and photo ops

And great debates and TV spots

Election Day, we'll have our say

And pick a president


Exercise your votes!

Tyrannosaurus Debt

"Tyrannosaurus Debt"

Music by Tom Yohe

Lyrics by Tom Yohe

Performed by Bob Dorough and Bob Kaliban

January 6, 1996


TOUR GUIDE: To your left, folks, is the Washington Monument, to your right, the White House. And over there, just beyond the Capitol, is the National Debt!


TOURISTS: Ooh! Wow!


There's something huge

Red, white, and blue

That's grazing in D.C.

It's gobbling up the taxes

That are paid by you and me

It doesn't seem to notice

We really can't afford

The billions that it's costing us

To pay its room and board


It doesn't roam

But seems content

To dwell on Capitol Hill

As long as trucks keep pulling up

With tons of greenback bills

We've got to feed the big guy

We really can't forget

It has an awesome appetite

Tyrannosaurus Debt


TOUR GUIDE: The debt was born in 1790 when our new government took over 75 million the colonies spent in the Revolutionary War.


We've got to feed the monster

So it doesn't get upset

It's got an awesome appetite

Tyrannosaurus Debt


TOUR GUIDE: Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury (he's on the 10, you know), wanted a federal debt to provide a reason to establish taxes to support our new nation.


The debt was young, they kept it small

They didn't know back then

In 1812 another war would make it grow again

By '66 the Civil War had cost the nation millions

The government in Washington now had a debt of billions


TOUR GUIDE: The Civil War ran up a debt of almost three billion dollars that still wasn't paid off by World War One.


We're spending money we don't have

Or so it would appear

The deficit is that amount we overspend each year

Though congressmen and senators

Make vows to cut its size

Despite their honest efforts

The debt just seems to rise


TOUR GUIDE: Now the debt's over 4 trillion dollars and still growing . . .


A balanced budget would be great

To spend within our means

To stop the monster in its tracks

Before we bust our seams

It feeds on just the interest

Its appetite is whet

It never, ever stops to rest

Tyrannosaurus Debt


TOUR GUIDE: And this is the U.S. Treasury. It sells Treasury Bonds, bills, and notes, and savings bonds to finance the debt. The U.S. government promises to pay the owner interest plus the value of each bond at a future date.


We've got to try to tame the debt

And bring it down to size

To let it grow unchecked like this

Is certainly unwise

The debt's a monster problem

That we really can't ignore

I guess we should be grateful

That it's not a carnivore

We've got to keep on servicing

Our trillion dollar pet

It's got a monster appetite

Tyrannosaurus Debt


A fiscal misadventure

With trillion dollar dentures

Tyrannosaurus Debt

"Tax Man Max"

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Performed by Patrick Quinn

January 7, 1995

Welcome to the new variety, sit and relax

I'm that song and dance phenomenon, Max

Let me sing for you, do my thing for you

Until they give me the axe


Here's the song I'm doing, going to fill you in about tax

Tax is that familiar melody, sinful and true

Hum it if you've earned a dollar or two

Bucks are being spent by the government for whatever they do

Anyone who earns a living gives more than a few

So our schools can be their best, so our roads will have no cracks

Someone fix those train tracks!

I hear you calling Uncle and I'm paying my tax


Oh, these are my girls, hello girls

Hello, Max, nice outfit

There are many different ways we pay what we owe

Ladies if you'll form a lovely tableau

Income, property, sales, utility, candy bars in my show

Licenses for dogs and cats, and that's not all you know

Out of almost every dollar a person can make

City, State and Federal governments take . . .

Take what?

What they think is fair you giving your share

Now and then there's a break


Max is talking taxes

Hey, have I kept you awake!

For the things your town may need

For the things a country lacks

All good things take greenbacks

We hear you calling Uncle and we're paying our tax

People do complain

Say their taxes are high

What am I to get in return?


Look around you friend, Max is showing you why

With your taxes you support

How we live and how we learn

Now here's the good news

Many things are tax deductible


Which means their cost can be subtracted from the amount of income you'll be taxed on. Things like medicine, doctor bills, and supplies for your work.


So keep those receipts

Be kind to your parents at tax time

And remember April 15th, April 15th


What a showman you are Max

Entertaining us with tax

In those snazzy plaid slacks

These slacks are for my business

I tell you I'll deduct them

I hear you calling Uncle, and I'm paying my tax

His tax, our Max


And I'm deducting my sax

This for That

When we lived in caves

There were no shopping malls

And people's manners were Neanderthal

No bodegas, no delis, no corner stores

Shopping trips turned into tugs of war

When not having pull got this man mangled

He thought he'd try an easier angle


I'll give you this for that

That for this

We'll make a trade called "barter"

I'll give you this for that

That for this

We'll have it made with barter


Now, barter worked well

At least in theory

But a wallet full of yaks

Could make you weary

Making change for a cow

Wasn't easy to master

Unless you were ready

For an "udder" disaster

Shiny shells were far more portable

Why not use them for what's affordable?


I'll give you this for that

That for this

With shiny shells, why barter?

I'll give you this for that

That for this

Shelling out shells is smarter


For farmers in ancient Mesopotamia

The barley they grew was the money mania

When hauling big sacks put their backs in traction

They invented coins to lighten transactions

Now, when a man had a debt to settle

He'd dig out some coins made of precious metal


I'll give you this for that

That for this

Silver or gold or copper

I'll give you this for that

That for this

With coins you're a smarter shopper


Then China made money even more desirous

Printing it on paper made of crushed papyrus

Take one from Column A and one from Column B

The Chinese paid their checks in paper currency

When Columbus set out on that famous charter

He had no paper money, so he had to barter

He took along some beads for currency

So barter played a part in our discovery

Balboa and Pisarro and Sebastian Cabot

Even Coronado had the trading habit


I'll give you this for that

That for this

They loaded up with gold, then parted

I'll give you this for that

That for this

And soon the whole world was charted


Today we use cash and spend with ardor

But that doesn't mean we don't still barter

When a football team needs a pulling guard

Or a kid like you is into trading cards


Take this for that

That for this

Bills and coins are smarter

But when you pay for that

Remember this

It all started out with barter