“On Top of Old Smokey” or “On Top of Old Smoky” is a traditional nursery rhyme and folksong.

There aren’t many evidences about the origin of this song and its author is unknown. Most commonly the lyrics are connected with the Great Smoky or Smokey Mountains located along the Tennessee and North Carolina border, an area populated by Irish and Scottish people. It is believed that the song dates back to the 1840’s. However it was first recorded in 1911 by Belden, in the USA.

The song has become popular in 1951 when it was performed by Pete Seeger within the American folk band The Weavers. It has also been played by some notorious singers and bands such as Libby Holman (1942) Burl Ives (1951), ABBA (1978) Bruce Springsteen (1980s) or much earlier by the country musician George Reneau (1926) or the folk singer Bradley Kincaid (1929).

“On Top of Old Smokey” Lyrics

On top of old Smokey,
All covered with snow,
I lost my true lover
From courtin’ too slow.

From courtin’ too slow, dear,
From courtin’ too slow,
I lost my true lover
From courtin’ too slow.
On top of old Smokey,
I went for to weep,
For a false-hearted lover
Is worse than a thief.

Is worse than a thief, dear,
Is worse than a thief,
For a false-hearted lover
Is worse than a thief.
For a thief, he will rob you,
Of all that you have,
But a false-hearted lover
Will send you to your grave.

Will send you to your grave, dear,
Will send you to your grave,
But a false-hearted lover
Will send you to your grave.
He’ll hug you and kiss you,
And tell you more lies,
Than the ties of the railroad
Or the stars in the skies.

The stars in the skies, dear,
The stars in the skies,
He’ll tell you more lies, dear,
than the stars in the skies.

“On top of Spaghetti”

There is a very popular kids ballad, known as “On top of Spaghetti” which uses the same tune as “On top of Old Smokey”. This was composed and first played in 1963 by Tom Glaze and the Do-Re-Mi Children group, and is a parody version of “On Top of Old Smokey”.

Lyrics

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball
Rolled right out the door

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