Bob Marley and The Banana Splits.Posted: April 11, 2010
Back in November, I was part of a conversation in a bar on a very important issue. The question at hand on that day and that I put to you all is simple – is the similarity between the choruses of a Bob Marley song and a late 1960”s children’s television show a coincidence?
Some of you may not be familiar with The Banana Splits Show. It was a show that mixed taped segments of action involving the Banana Splits and with some cartoons. The Banana Splits were people in mascot style costumes portraying a dog, gorilla, lion and an elephant. The four of them hung out together in a sort of club house introducing cartoons, when they weren’t out tooling around in six wheeled vehicles or running around an amusement park. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
I loved the Banana Splits when I was 8. I saved enough cereal box tops to join their fan club. I mailed in my application, but never got anything in return. Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snork, if you’re reading this, I’d really like my membership card.
I love Bob Marley now, when I’m 48. I never really joined his fan club. If Bob’s estate started a fan club, I’d down enough Cap’n Crunch to become a charter member.
Who am I kidding, I love Cap’n Crunch. I’m eating it anyhow. But I love Marley too.
I’m not going to give a history of Bob Marley, as I did for the Banana Splits. Marley is simply, a God.
Now, on the fateful day of this barroom conversation, I was with a group of my dear friends, in the Caribbean Club in Key Largo, Fl. The Bob Marley song, Buffalo Soldier was playing. Several of us had had enough to drink to cause our designated driver to question her judgment in agreeing to drive us through the Keys. Then, as Bob hit the chorus of Buffalo Soldier, my friend Steve blurted out “this sounds like the Banana Splits theme song.”
Steve was right. He usually is about important matters such as this.
I don’t know whether Bob Marley was aware of the Banana Splits and counted them among his influences or it is just a rhythmic coincidence. I submit to you, my friends, recordings of the Banana Splits theme and Buffalo Soldier. Listen to both, I value your judgement on the issue, since I won’t be able to ask Marley, no matter how many boxes of Cap’n Crunch I eat.
First, the Banana Splits theme. Please take note of the chorus – tra la la, la la la la, tra la la, la la la la. This is the critical piece:
I know, listening to that, you wish you had your Fan Club membership card too. Get in line, my friend, it forms behind me.
Now, Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier, a tribute to the struggles of black soldiers who fought in the United States Civil War. If you feel the need to rush through to the critical point, at 2:13 of the song, you’ll find the first instance of the matching chorus – yoy yoy yoy, yo yo yo-yo yo, yo yo yo, yo yo yo yo-yo yo- yo yo.
Yes, the words are different, but listen! You hear it, don’t you? Why Bob, why?
Thanks for the reminder Lib and Dale.