Singing songs around the campfire is a favorite summer camp tradition and every evening the sound of campers enjoying their favorite tunes can be heard throughout the forest. While some songs are just silly, others hold deep meaning to those who attend summer camp every year. As you prepare for camp or reminisce about your most recent camp experience, here are some classic favorites that you can enjoy.
This silly camp song is a favorite among young children who can chime in on the echo refrain if they are still learning the lyrics. The song, which lists each body part the boa constrictor is eating up until the very last gulp, was written by Shel Silverstein and published in 1962. Over the years, an upbeat tune was added to it and the musical group Peter, Paul and Mary, popularized it.
On Top of Old Smokey (Spaghetti)
It only takes a few strums of the guitar to make every camper’s face light up with recognition when this traditional folk song is played. Although no one is sure exactly where the song originated, it is known that Pete Seeger claims to have learned the lyrics in the Appalachian Mountains before setting them to music. Over the years, a parody version of the song in which campers sing about a pile of spaghetti has replaced the traditional version at camp.
Leaving on a Jet Plane
John Denver wrote this classic campfire love ballad, yet it was Peter, Paul and Mary that elevated its popularity. Older campers especially love just listening to the lyrics and singing along with the chorus. The soothing melody lends itself to being one of the last songs of the evening before campers retire to their cabin and many kids ask to learn how to play it in their music lessons. In fact, this is one of the first songs that many campers learn how to play on their guitar.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Most campers associate this catchy song with the movie, “The Lion King.” However, this song has roots that go as far back as the year 1939 when a singer named Solomon Linda first recorded it with his band. Throughout the years, it was covered by a number of musical artists, including The Tokens who transformed the song into the one most recognized today. Not only does the song bring to mind images of a sleeping, peaceful lion but it adds a multicultural element to summer camp song lists.
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