Bang Bang You’re Dead

There were two variations of this chant at my school:

Bang Bang you’re dead
brush your teeth and go to bed

and

Bang Bang you’re dead
fifty bullets in your head

Googling around shows that both (or a combination of the two) are fairly well known, though I can’t quite find anything that might indicate how far back they go. I can’t find either of them in print, though “bang bang you’re dead” by itself was a common cry by the middle of the 20th century in war games all over the country. No telling where the rest of it came from, though I imagine that it’s been around a while.

There are plenty of variations after the “fifty bullets” line, including “some are red, some are blue / some are made of chicken poo” and “another one / up your bum”

Where and when did YOU hear this one?

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32 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Philadelphia, early 70s. "Brush your teeth and go to bed" version only.

    Reply
  2. Timothy R

    When I was a kid in Michigan 1980s we said:
    "50 bullets in your head
    One here, one there
    and the rest in your underwear"

    I think the "here" was pointing at the head and the "there" was your heart.

    I don't think we specified that the subtraction of one here and one there would leave 48 for your underwear. Maybe math wasn't our strong point.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    Bang bang, you're dead, 50 bullets in your head.
    Now brush you're teeth and go to bed, and don't wake up until you're dead!!

    My sisters and I used to chant this back in the early 80's up here in Maine. I can't for the life of me remember where we got it but it stuck in my head like all silly chants do :)

    Reply
  4. Renée

    I remember both versions from the 1960's in the Bronx, NY.

    Reply
  5. Angie Zipper

    My sisters and brother only said bang, bang, your dead, brush your teeth and go to bed. I've never heard the part about bullets. This was in Fort Worth, Texas in the 70's.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    1980s, Wisconsin, did "Bang Bang, you're dead / brush your teeth and go to bed."

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    Bang bang your dead 50 bullets in your head…one red….one blue …..the rest is made of chicken poo Boston mid 1960's in the school yard lol

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I remember in about 1987 I use to sing with my class mates something like: Bang Bang you're dead, brush your teeth and go to bed, dont forget your teddy bear, stick him in your underwear.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Bang Bang you're dead, 50 bullets in your head, turn around, touch the ground, Bang Bang you're dead.
    At primary school in England, Yorkshire. It was a skipping rope chant.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Vestal, New York 1969

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    bang bang your dead 50 bullets tyhrough your head turn around touch the ground bang bang your dead is the one everyone uses now as the school chants for the skipping rope
    england birmingham 2004

    Reply
  12. Thomas Cray

    My mother was just telling me this from her childhood – northern Wisconsin in the 1940s.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    bang bang your dead, fifty bullets in your head. brush your teeth and go to bed, in the morning you'll be dead!
    Metro-Detroit, Early 90's.

    Reply
  14. Sarah-Lou

    i knew it as "Bang bang your dead 50 bullets in your head, plus one up your bum that makes 51, plus one in the loo that makes 52, plus one in a tree that makes 53, plus one on teh floor that makes 54, plus one in a hive that makes 55, ETC" from atleast 1990's – 2000's england.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    "bang bang your dead, 50 bullets in your head. one here one there and the rest are in your underwear"
    2000-2004, London in England

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    I definitely remember the brush your teeth version, but the other one and the combo sound familiar too. Heard them on Long Island in the mid 1970's.

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    So glad I'm not the only who remembers this…though I'm living in Ca now and those from here never seem to have heard of this. I remember it rm the early 70's in the Chicago area…

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    New Hampshire, mid to late 1960's

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    out of all of them i think i like this version the best it makes sense 😀

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    Bang bang your dead fifty bullets in your head, turn around and touch the floor, you'll be safe if you reach the door..1970's UK

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I remember the version that goes like: "Bang bang you're dead fifty bullets in your head, now brush your teeth and go to bed, and don't wake up until you're dead."€

    This was in 2006, north wales.

    Reply
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  23. Alex

    "Bang Bang, you're dead! 50 bullets in your head. One green one blue, the rest are made of chicken poo"

    London, UK
    2006

    Reply
  24. Fraser Browne

    bang bang you're dead, fifty bullets in you're head, one black, one blue all the rest are chicken poo! 2003-2005 Banbury, UK

    Reply
  25. RenatusMusic

    One red, one blue.
    London, 90's.

    Reply
  26. Mad Dog Gatecrasher

    NJ mid 80's

    Bang Bang you're dead
    Brush your teeth and go to bed
    Don't forget your teddy bear
    And (put/ shove) him in your underwear

    Sometimes there was an inexplicable line added after that "Put your money in your head and listen to it shred"

    Reply
  27. Karl Gookey

    Essex, England
    Mid 90s

    Bang bang you’re dead,
    Fifty bullets in your head,
    One black,
    One blue,
    The rest filled with chicken poo.

    Reply
    1. Clare Brown

      Same here 00’s North’land

      Reply
  28. Richard Rice

    Here in western Oregon we said the 50 bullets in the head version in the early 70s.

    Reply
  29. anonymous

    the only version we had we did on the school bus back in the late 1970’s in eastern and western Ohio..been wondering how widespread this was! living in michigan they’ve only heard the 50 bullets in your head and not the other from all i’ve heard…

    Reply
    1. anonymous

      in ohio late 70’s we had only the brush your teeth version…living in michigan the only thing people here have heard is the 50 bullets it seems from same time period…

      Reply
  30. David Barnes

    Bang bang your dead
    50 bullets in your head

    was popular in mid 80s South West England when I was 5 years old. We had an American kid in my school though, maybe he introduced it.

    Good times!

    Reply

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