One woman’s search to prove that “Baby Shark” is not at all a new song, but in fact an old camp favorite. Like, decades old.
The Baby Shark Song, Reincarnate?
A few weeks ago, I saw someone mention “the Baby Shark song” somewhere – probably on Twitter. I immediately started singing it in my head, as one must when they hear it. Baby shark doo doo doo doo doo…
THAT SAME DAY, someone else posted a meme about it somewhere – probably on Facebook. So weird, I thought. (Doo doo doo doo doo…) What are the odds that people in two totally different circles of mine would have the song stuck in their head the same day, and post about it?
Ok, so of course I know NOW that the song is “all of a sudden” all the rage in the under-5 crowd. Someone, somewhere must have made it popular again, I eventually realized.
And I didn’t waste another second on it. (Except, of course, to continue singing doo doo doo doo doo at inexplicable times.)
My Mom’s Totally a Hipster, Too
Tonight though, I got this text from my mother:
Mom: “When did the baby shark song come out? I thought you or [your sister] were young when it was first sung.”
Me: “Yep, one of us. And it’s EVERYWHERE all of a sudden.”
Mom: “I know but everyone seems to think it’s a new song”
Me: “So weird.”
Having been reminded of this oddity, of course I had to head over to Google.
Google is useless. So is Wikipedia. And most of the rest of the internet.
I’m pretty good at internet research, if I do say so myself. And yet, after at least 6 minutes of serious investigation, I had found out the following information:
(Further proof, if you need it, that not everything on the internet is true.)
- The dance version of “Baby Shark” was popular on YouTube in 2007 (Wikipedia, “Baby Shark”)
- “The baby shark song was created by the YouTube channel Pinkfong… ” (Independent.co.uk)
- “The song was first created in November 2015…” (also Independent.co.uk)
- “The children’s number has been around since 2016…” (Huffington Post)
- “The viral song is the invention of the South Korean education company…” (Huffington Post)
- The dance version has been popular in German youth groups since 2017. (Wikipedia, “Baby Shark”)
Digging into the Depths of YouTube
By this point, my mom and I were both pretty determined to prove we weren’t crazy. At least not about this one thing.
So now I present to you, our oh-so-important findings:
A Timeline (of Sorts) of the Baby Shark Song
- Howdytoons uploads a video set to the Baby Shark song. The song is credited (in this instance) to Mike Whitla, from the CD “Early Morning Knee-Slappin’ Tunes” (originally released in 2006)
- Gymboree Play & Music Manhattan puts out a video sharing “their favorite shark song” (implying it had come out, well, at least prior to 2014)
- “Jester Jim” performs the Baby Shark Song on his YouTube channel. Commenters discuss how they used to sing it at camp.
- A lively bunch of… coworkers(?) sings the Baby Shark Song
- “Matt and Ashley” perform the Baby Shark Song. (I wonder what they’re up to these days…)
- An adorable group of elementary students sing Baby Shark
- A group of people sing the Baby Shark Song around a campfire, and upload it to a 2-year-old website, “YouTube”
- The aforementioned CD by Mike Whitla is released, including the Baby Shark Song.
- The Baby Shark Song is discussed at length on the message boards of the “American Camp Association”. (You aren’t alone. I didn’t know it was a thing, either…)
By this point, we thought it was all coming together.
In 2003, my sister would have been 11 years old. Assuming the song likely had to have been around at least a couple of years if it was being shared on an internet message board, she’d have learned it in early to middle elementary school. SUCCESS!
And then things got even better, in more ways than one.
- Someone performed the Baby Shark Song at a homecoming celebration, during “amateur hour”. Dang, this guy was ahead of his time. I hope he’s a producer somewhere.
The Earliest Recording I can find of the Baby Shark Song
Complete with giant-camcorder-on-the-shoulder timestamp.
- From the 1997 Pennsylvania Rennsiance Faire, I present to you “Lady Lettice and Company”
And now you know… (some of) the rest of the story.
Of what my brain does when I can’t sleep.
Doo doo doo doo doo….