Songs Burned In Our Brains From Grade School (A Musical Musings/My Boss Paul’s Top Five List Joint)

Ah, the good ol’ days.  That’s what people say when they reflect upon their youth.  

For my boss (and old friend) Paul and I, the good ol’ days in our Catholic grade school happened way before they were our good ol’ days, as evidenced by our textbooks.  Most notably: our music class textbooks. 

I know, I know… at least we had a music class.  Nowadays, all of the arts are disappearing from our schools (for shame!), but that’s not what this post is about.

The fact of the matter was that we had crappy old text books and a music teacher that could barely play the one instrument she claimed to be able to play (the flute).  Sure, it was unfortunate that she replaced the single greatest music teacher ever.  (He played “Name That Tune” on the piano – and they were always theme songs!)  The following list represents the worst of the songs we were taught… four oldies, one newie, and zero goodies.

Top 5 Songs Burned In Our Brains From Grade School

5. Little Boxes – Malvina Reynolds
Paul doesn’t really remember this one, hence it being placed at the bottom spot.  I couldn’t forget it, and Weeds wouldn’t let me… until season 4 at least.

4. Du, du liegst mir im Herzen – German folk song
Paul refused to sing this song hence to him being xenophobic; but then again he refused to sing any of the songs.  For me – it’s my 99 Luftballons.

3. Shortnin’ Bread – James Whitcome Riley
Paul despised (no, loathed!) this song.  I didn’t remember it at first, but then it all came crashing back to me like a repressed memory.

2. God Bless the USA – Lee Greenwood
The only current-ish song on the list was also an exercise in irritation.  We had to sing this at a recital, and as everyone knows – recitals blow.  What’s worse is that we had to hold up signs that read Detroit when we sang that line.  Because we lived in Detroit, oh say can you see.

1. Fender Bender – ? 
This song presented a unique situation for us.  For virtually nowhere on the TripleDoubleU, could we find ant reference to this song.  The only proof that it ever existed arrived via a MySpace Forum.  It the thread, a reference is made to the lyrics:

Fender bender, yeah yeah yeah!

The poster recalled the misspoken lyric:

Finger banger, yeah yeah yeah!

Which ceremoniously lead to the diddy being banned (band?) from music class.  Thanks, Mack Danger, for the memory backup!

I wish we would have thought of "finger banger"...

I wish we would have thought of "finger banger"...


  1. Pingback: I Am Thankful For… Otherworld « monkeyBLOGmonkeyDO – Peeling Away @ Pop Culture
  2. R. · January 19, 2011

    Detroit, eh? Was “Fender Bender Yeah Yeah Yeah” a Michigan thing? That song still gets stuck in my head on a regular basis!!

    Fender Bender Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Play Play Play Yeah Yeah Yeah
    All the Way Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Bend that beat around
    Syncopation sound
    Fender Bender Yeah Yeah Yeah

  3. sgottahurt · January 20, 2011

    “Motor City Yeah-Yeah-Yeah!”

    Car tune capital of the world, I guess.

  4. Anonymous · August 18, 2012

    I am from a small Ohio town west of Toledo and just south of michigan border and I remember this song. It even had solo breaks for each instrument. My class loved it! Every year we would beg our new teacher to dig it up for us in the AV room.

  5. John · February 3, 2013

    I remember “Fender Bender” from one of the music instruction books for learning guitar from my childhood circa 1975… Got stuck in my head recently for God knows what reason.
    The way I remember it…. Trying to forget it LOL

    Fender Bender Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Play Play Play Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Play that rhythm Yeah Yeah Yeah
    Bend that beat around
    Syncopation sound
    Fender Bender Yeah Yeah Yeah

  6. sgottahurt · February 4, 2013

    That sounds exactly right. Thanks for implanting it back in my mind again, too.

  7. Angie · April 23, 2014

    I hated that awful song!
    fender bender yeah yeah yeah
    play play play yeah yeah yeah
    play that rhythm yeah yeah yeah
    all the way yeah yeah yeah
    bend that beat around syncopation sound
    fender bender yeah yeah yeah…
    FML… it’s going to be stuck in my head forever now. :-(

  8. Jim Wil · March 8, 2015

    SC, 4th grade, 1977. I still cant get Fender Bender out of my head. Glad I’m not alone. :)

  9. richothewood · May 11, 2015

    Wisconsin, mid-80s, Catholic school with Brady Bunch era music class books… yeah, I can’t get it out of my head either. Anytime I hear a reference to syncopation, it’s there….

  10. Jason · May 25, 2015

    Pittsburgh, PA, mid-1970s – we sang that in music class. The teacher also played the recorded version for us. It was very cool.

  11. Anonymous · January 15, 2016

    I went to school in Eastern PA and Fender Bender was a standard in 3rd grade Music Class, for sure!

  12. Richard Saint · April 9, 2017

    @Anonymous (Aug 2012): I too am from a small town west of Toledo, just south of MI border, and remember begging teachers at our Catholic grade school to dig this tune out of our AV room. It became almost an anthem for our class. I’ve collected records for over 25 years and to this day never found a trace. I have been dying to hear it again.

  13. D · August 30, 2017

    Smh im so glad im not lone, Newburgh NY Horizon on the Hudson Elementary chool. Fender Bender yeah yeah yeah

  14. Mark Wiley · January 28, 2018

    Fender Bender! I think there was a picture of a boy and a girl dressed in 60’s or 70’s hippy garb with guitars in the book! Went to Catholic grade school in Northeast Ohio.

  15. Anonymous · February 10, 2018

    I sang Fender Bender in the 6th grade in 1976/1977. Here are the lyrics that I remember:

    Fender bender yeah yeah yeah
    Play play play yeah yeah yeah
    Play that rhythm yeah yeah yeah
    Bend that beat around “syncopation” sound (not sure of the spelling of the quoted word)
    Fender bender yeah yeah yeah
    Al the way yeah yeah yeah
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

  16. Young · January 5, 2019

    I remember Fender Bender. Early 70s. Our music teacher played it, along with “Popcorn “.

  17. Anonymous · November 20, 2019

    I’m from a small town in Wisconsin. Sang this in 6th grade 76-77. Comes into my mind often which is what brought me here. I wondered if anybody else remembered it. Why oh why? I dont remember any other songs from that time in my life.

  18. chris · December 30, 2019

    6th grade…1984…St.Albans WV …
    That song (Fender Bender) has haunted me for so many years… When the internet first became a thing i would search it about every year or so…seeing if some message board might be talking about it… for years i got nothing…i gave up my search for a long time… til this morning…i decided to try one last time…and found you guys… THANK YOU for proving it exists and Im not crazy…

    As commented above…i cant hear the word Syncopation without transporting immediately into 6th grade and singing into that smelly text book… the hippest song allowed in school at the time…lol

    If anyone ever finds audio of it…id die happy!


  19. Anonymous · October 13, 2020

    I remember Fender Bender from 6th grade, but I remember the lyrics a little different:
    Fender Bender yeah yeah yeah
    Play that rhythm yeah yeah yeah
    Bend that beat around syncopation sound
    (repeat first line)

  20. gilbert neal · December 3, 2020

    For anyone’s information: It is on The Spectrum Of Music – Level 6, an 8 record set. I’m trying to find it so i can play on my radio show. Each track is banded separately and is closed, the needle stops at the end of each track. (The record does not continuously play through, the needle must be placed at the beginning of each track).

    A Macmillan/Schirmer progam

    Copyright ℗ 1974 Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York
    Collier Macmillan Publishers – London

  21. Jim · February 26, 2021

    You are welcome.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s