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The Lumberjack Song (Monty Python)

The Lumberjack Song is a classic sketch from the Monty Python's Flying Circus television show, a bit confusing because it was used several times (on television, film, stage, and LP), and each time started differently. The common theme was a man (originally Michael Palin, in later live versions Eric Idle) dissatisfied with his job, who announces, "I didn't want to do this job. I wanted to be... a lumberjack!" He proceeds to wax rhapsodic about the life of a lumberjack, "Leaping from tree to tree," etc.

He then rips off his shirt to reveal a red flannel shirt, walks over to a stage backed with a pine forest, and begins to sing about the wonders of being a lumberjack. He is unexpectedly backed up by a large set of male singers, all dressed as Canadian Mounties (several were regular Monty Python performers, while the rest were members of an actual singing troupe).

As the song continues, the excited lumberjack increasingly reveals cross-dressing tendencies, which confuses the Mounties to the point where they walk off disgustedly.

The Song

(Transcribed from the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV show.)

Composers: Terry Jones, Michael Palin, & Fred Tomlinson
Authors: Terry Jones & Michael Palin
Arranger: Fred Tomlinson
Lead Singer: Michael Palin

Continued from Petshop, Barber, or a variety of other Python sketches.

I never wanted to do this job in the first place!
I... I wanted to be...


(piano vamp)

Leaping from tree to tree! As they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia! With my best girl by my side!
The Larch!
The Pine!
The Giant Redwood tree!
The Sequoia!
The Little Whopping Rule Tree!
We'd sing! Sing! Sing!

Oh, I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay,
I sleep all night and I work all day.

CHORUS: He's a lumberjack, and he's okay,
He sleeps all night and he works all day.

I cut down trees, I eat my lunch,
I go to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays I go shoppin'
And have buttered scones for tea.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch,
He goes to the lava-try.
On Wednesdays 'e goes shoppin'
And has buttered scones for tea.


I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women's clothing,
And hang around in bars.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he skips and jumps,
He likes to press wild flowers.
He puts on women's clothing
And hangs around.... In bars???????


I chop down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspendies and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie
Just like my dear papa.

Mounties: He cuts down trees, he wears high heels
Suspendies?? and a .... a Bra????
(spoken, raggedly) What's this? Wants to be a girlie? Oh, My!
And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!


All: He's a lumberjack, and he's okaaaaaaayyy..... (BONG)

Sound Cue: The Liberty Bell March, by John Phillip Sousa.


  Dear Sir,
     I wish to complain on the stronglyest possible terms about the previous
  entry in this file about the lumberjack who wears womens' clothes. Some of
  my best friends are lumberjacks, and only a FEW of them are transvestites.

                             Yours faithfully,
                             Brigadier Sir Charles Arthur Strong, Mrs.

  P.S.  I have never kissed the editor of the Radio Times.

The song was translated in German for Monty Pythons Fliegender Zirkus and the German lyrics have also been published. One significant change is that the phrase "Just like my dear Papa" has been changed to "So wie mein Onkel Walter" (to rhyme with "Bustenhalter", German for "bra").

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