Published on July 11th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler

Four songs you didn’t know had more lyrics

I’d say the following songs are fairly well known. I’m not going to stock it with songs that had extra verses added in for live performances (“The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel) or have lyrics that very few know about (The “Star Trek” theme). No, these are legit extra lyrics to songs you probably know, but didn’t know there was more to it.

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song, Will Smith – This is the type of theme song that sets up the basic premise of the series: Philadelphia born and raised Will gets in one little fight and is sent to live with rich relatives in California. He lands in the airport, hops into a rare cab and goes to sit on his throne as the Prince of Bel-Air.

But wait, why didn’t his rich relatives pick him up at the airport? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, you’re not alone. There are dozens of you! Dozens!

But it turns out they did try, as evidenced by the extra verse that was cut from broadcast:

Well uh, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with my name out
I ain’t trying to get arrested yet.
I just got here!
I sprang with the quickness, like lightening disappeared

The dude who looked like a cop? Uncle Phil. He was there waiting, and since Will had never seen his picture for some reason, he instead decided his uncle was a cop and sprang with a quickness into a cab. Plot hole solved.

EDIT: A few people have pointed out that the cop-looking individual was likely not Uncle Phil, but rather a chauffeur (maybe Geoffrey?) That makes more sense. I was thinking that since he was a lawyer (and later a judge), Uncle Phil might be giving off an air of authority that could be mistaken for cop-like. James Avery did play a cop, lawyer or judge for seemingly every role. Except when he played Shredder.

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” Gary Portnoy – The “Cheers” theme song didn’t so much tell a story, but rather evoked a feeling of a neighborhood bar. It’s a short and simple song, but in the full version there was a lot more, and it got a little weirder.

All those night when you’ve got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it’s tail;
And your third fiance didn’t show;
A child abusing animals, a string of failed relationships. Feeling a bit less Cheersy, right? but wait, there’s more.
Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee’s dead;
The morning’s looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn’t even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;There we go, transgender issues start to work their way into the song. Was “Cheers” originally planning to Klinger from “MASH” type character on the show? Sadly, the plot point was never addressed. Or was it? There were 275 episodes, I can’t remember them all.

“Old Folks at  Home” by Stephen Foster – I know what you’re thinking, “You said this would songs people would know.” You know this song, you probably just didn’t know the name. Chances are you call it something like “Way down upon the Suwannee River.” Because that’s the only verse anyone seems to remember. In fact, the notes for that bit are even on signs in Florida.
But why don’t you know the rest of the lyrics? Well, it gets a little Paula Deen. “Old Folks At Home” was a minstrel song, which…  it usually didn’t mean good things. Here’s the chorus:
All de world am sad and dreary,
Eb-rywhere I roam;
Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home!
Pigeon English, longing for the plantation, “darkeys,” yeah, not the best song for a southern state to want to associate with. Oh, wait, it’s Florida’s state song. The state named a new song as the state anthem in 2008, but “Old Folks at Home” is still the state song. Confusing.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key – How many times have you heard this song? Probably thousands. How many times have you heard the full version? Probably never.
What you’ve heard is the first verse. There are three more. Imagine standing through this at every baseball game:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And during the Civil War Oliver Wendell Holmes created a special edition of the song, which seems to have been as necessary and well-remembered as George Lucas adding eyelids to the Ewoks:
When our land is illumined with liberty’s smile,
If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained,
Who their birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.
Once the war was over, it was forgotten. If we had added a verse with each new war the National Anthem could be truly epic now.

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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