Dan Is The Man
Mighty Sparrow Lyrics


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Captain!
There′s a traitor on board!
Examine the horn!

According to the education you get when you small,
You will grow up with true ambition and respect from one and all.
But in my days in school, they teach me like a fool,
The things they teach me ah should be ah block-headed mule.

And wey dey teach yuh?
Dey teach mih:
Pussy has finished his work long ago an' now he resting an′ ting.
Solomon a Gundy was born on ah Monday, de ass in de lion skin.
Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, sail off in ah wooden sloop,
De 'gouti lose he tail an' de
Alligator fighting, to make monkey-liver soup!
An′ Dan, is the man, in the van!

Wepsee mama!

De poems an′ de lessons dey write an' sen′ from England
Impress me dey were trying to cultivate comedians!
Comic books made more sense:
You know it's fictitious, without pretence.
Cutteridge wanted to keep us in ignorance!

Tell me if dis eh chupidness:
Humpy-Dumpty sat on a wall!
Humpy-Dumpy did fall!
Goosey, Goosey Gyander?
Where shall I wander?
Ding, dong, del! l
Pussy in de well!
R-I-K-K-I-T-I-K-K-I-Ah-T-Ah-V
Ah Rikki Tikki Tikki Tikki Tavi!
Dan, is de man, in de van!
Wepsee mama! Yep!

Ah say, Cutteridge was plenty times more advanced dan dem scientist,
I en believe dat no one man could write so much stupidness.
Aeroplanes didn′ come so soon,
Scientists used to make de grade in balloon.
Cutteridge make a cow jump over the moon!

An' then he tell dem:
Tom, Tom de piper′s son!
Teef ah pig an' away he run!
Once dere was a woman who lived in ah shoe,
She had so many children she didn' know what to do!
Dickory a-dickory dock!
De mouse ran up de clock!
De lion and de mouse,
Ah woman pushing ah cow
To eat grass on top of ah house!
Ah an′ Dan, is de man, in de van!

Aeyyyyyyuh!
Wipsee mama!

How I happen to get some education my friends, me eh know!
All dey teach me is about Beer Rabbit an′ Rumpelstilskin-o.
Dey wanted to keep me down indeed, dey try dey best, but didn' succeed
You see, mih head was duncee an′ up to now ah cyar read!

Who cares about:
Peter, Peter was ah pumpkin eater?
Some little, little people tie Gulliver?
When I was sick an' lay a-bed
I had two pillow at my head?
De goose lay de golden egg?
De spider catch a fly?
Morocoy with wings flapping in de sky?
Dey beat me like ah dog to learn dat in school,
If me head was bright ah woulda be a dahm fool!

With Dan is de man in de van
Can a pig dance a jig for a fig?
Twirly and Twisty were two screws!
Mister Mike, goes to school, on a bike!
Dan is de man, in de van!




Dan is de man, in de van!
Yeah! Dan is de man, in de van!

Overall Meaning

The song "Dan Is The Man" by Mighty Sparrow is a satirical take on the education system in his time. He starts the song by highlighting the education he received in school, which he feels didn't prepare him for the real world. The lyrics touch upon various idioms and nursery rhymes that were taught to him, which he deems to be meaningless and irrelevant. Sparrow asserts that the education he received was an attempt to keep him ignorant and lacking in ambition.


He contrasts the education system with the work of Cutteridge, whom he regards as an advanced scientist. Cutteridge was able to develop things like balloons and make cows jump over the moon, which he considers to be more useful than the meaningless education he received. The chorus of the song emphasizes the importance of Dan, a man Sparrow regards highly, who is "in the van." In this context, it could be interpreted that Dan represents the values that are truly significant.


Overall, the song is meant to be a critique of the education system and how it fails to properly equip students for life. Sparrow's use of humor and satire drives home the point that the education system needs to be re-thought to provide students with practical and relevant knowledge.


Line by Line Meaning

Captain! There′s a traitor on board! Examine the horn!
Calling out to the leader that there is a traitor on board and to check the horn for more information.


According to the education you get when you small, You will grow up with true ambition and respect from one and all.
The singer believes that the education provided to children should be practical and this will result in success and respect from peers and society at large.


But in my days in school, they teach me like a fool, The things they teach me ah should be ah block-headed mule.
The singer laments the education they received, which they consider foolish and only suited for someone dull and unintelligent.


And wey dey teach yuh? Dey teach mih: Pussy has finished his work long ago an' now he resting an′ ting. Solomon a Gundy was born on ah Monday, de ass in de lion skin. Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, sail off in ah wooden sloop, De 'gouti lose he tail an' de Alligator fighting, to make monkey-liver soup! An′ Dan, is the man, in the van! Wepsee mama!
The artist highlights a few nonsensical lines from the education they received and emphasizes the pointlessness of this learning. Dan is highlighted as a successful person regardless of this education.


De poems an′ de lessons dey write an' sen′ from England Impress me dey were trying to cultivate comedians! Comic books made more sense: You know it's fictitious, without pretence. Cutteridge wanted to keep us in ignorance!
The artist criticizes the lessons and poems that were sent over from England as they appeared more focused on cultivating comedians. Instead, comic books made more practical sense that was also without pretense. It is believed that Cutteridge wanted students to be ignorant.


Tell me if dis eh chupidness: Humpy-Dumpty sat on a wall! Humpy-Dumpy did fall! Goosey, Goosey Gyander? Where shall I wander? Ding, dong, del! l Pussy in de well! R-I-K-K-I-T-I-K-K-I-Ah-T-Ah-V Ah Rikki Tikki Tikki Tikki Tavi! Dan, is de man, in de van! Wepsee mama! Yep!
The singer highlights how the ridiculous rhymes and lessons they were taught in schools now seem like a waste of time. However, regardless of their education, Dan is still widely regarded as successful.


Ah say, Cutteridge was plenty times more advanced dan dem scientist, I en believe dat no one man could write so much stupidness. Aeroplanes didn′ come so soon, Scientists used to make de grade in balloon. Cutteridge make a cow jump over the moon!
The singer believes that their previous teacher (Cutteridge) was much more advanced than scientists of his time. The singer also pokes fun at the silly rhymes drilled into them in their education by insinuating that one man couldn't have come up with so many nonsense rhymes alone. They also marvel at Cutteridge's apparent success in making a cow jump over the moon.


An' then he tell dem: Tom, Tom de piper′s son! Teef ah pig an' away he run! Once dere was a woman who lived in ah shoe, She had so many children she didn' know what to do! Dickory a-dickory dock! De mouse ran up de clock! De lion and de mouse, Ah woman pushing ah cow To eat grass on top of ah house! Ah an′ Dan, is de man, in de van!
The artist further derides the nonsense rhymes they were taught, implying that it's silly for a thief to steal a pig and run away. They don't see the value in remembering lines about a woman who lived in a shoe or a mouse running up a clock. However, despite this, Dan is still considered successful even with this pointless education.


How I happen to get some education my friends, me eh know! All dey teach me is about Beer Rabbit an′ Rumpelstilskin-o. Dey wanted to keep me down indeed, dey try dey best, but didn' succeed You see, mih head was duncee an′ up to now ah cyar read!
The artist is unsure of how they received education, but they acknowledge that it wasn't helpful in their life. They feel that those who taught them wanted to keep them down, but their efforts failed. Despite this, the artist still considers themselves foolish and unable to read.


With Dan is de man in de van Can a pig dance a jig for a fig? Twirly and Twisty were two screws! Mister Mike, goes to school, on a bike! Dan is de man, in de van! Dan is de man, in de van! Yeah! Dan is the man, in the van!
Regardless of the education mentioned in previous lines and the ridiculous rhymes, Dan is considered successful for being in the van. The other lines ask nonsensical questions and even mention other people (Mister Mike) who are considered successful in their own ways. However, Dan is still widely respected as the man in the van.




Contributed by Gabriella P. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@LoveMusicBad

Captain!
There's a traitor on board!
Examine the horn!
According to the education you get when you small,
You will grow up with true ambition and respect from one and all.
But in my days in school, they teach me like a fool,
The things they teach me ah should be ah block-headed mule.

And wey dey teach yuh?
Dey teach mih: p** has finished his work long ago an' now he resting an' ting.
Solomon a Gundy was born on ah Monday, de a** in de lion skin.
Winkin, Blinkin and Nod, sail off in ah wooden sloop,
De 'gouti lose he tail an' de alligator fighting, to make monkey-liver soup!
An' Dan, is the man, in the van!

Wepsee mama!

De poems an' de lessons dey write an' sen' from England
Impress me dey were trying to c**tivate comedians!
Comic books made more sense: you know it's fictitious, without pretence.
Cutteridge wanted to keep us in ignorence!

Tell me if dis eh chupidness:
Humpy-Dumpty sat on a wall!
Humpy-Dumpy did fall!
Goosey, Goosey Gyander?
Where shall I wander?
Ding, dong, del!l
p** in de well!
R-I-K-K-I-T-I-K-K-I-Ah-T-Ah-V
Ah Rikki Tikki Tikki Tikki Tavi!
Dan, is de man, in de van!
Wepsee mama! Yep!

Ah say, Cutteridge was plenty times more advanced dan dem scientist,
I en believe dat no one man could write so much stupidness.
Aeroplanes didn' come so soon, scientists used to make de grade in balloon.
Cutteridge make a cow jump over the moon!

An' then he tell dem:
Tom, Tom de piper's son!
Teef ah pig an' away he run!
Once dere was a woman who lived in ah shoe,
She had so many children she didn' know what to do!
d***ory a-d***ory dock!
De mouse ran up de clock!
De lion and de mouse,
Ah woman pushing ah cow
To eat grass on top of ah house!
Ah an' Dan, is de man, in de van!
Aeyyyyyyuh!
Wipsee mama!

How I happen to get some education my friends, me eh know!
All dey teach me is about Beer Rabbit an' Rumpelstilskin-o.
Dey wanted to keep me down indeed, dey try dey best, but didn' succeed
You see, mih head was duncee an' up to now ah cyar read!

Who cares about:
Peter, Peter was ah pumpkin eater?
Some little, little people tie Gulliver?
When I was sick an' lay a-bed
I had two pillow at my head?
De goose lay de golden egg?
De spider catch a fly?
Morocoy with wings flapping in de sky?
Dey beat me like ah dog to learn dat in school,
If me head was bright ah woulda be a dahm fool!

With Dan is de man in de van
Can a pig dance a jig for a fig?
Twirly and Twisty were two screws!
Mister Mike, goes to school, on a bike!
Dan is de man, in de van!
Dan is de man, in de van!
Yeah! Dan is de man, in de van!



All comments from YouTube:

@keelybilcom9256

Oh how my 5 year old daughter loves this song...... So knows it word for word...... She really is her mother daughter......we love u Sparrow.......

@shawnthaicon2586

Really? Amazing

@davidmitchell3039

Back in 1962 I was taught all this in school.We did not know better.Looking back now,it was fun.

@anitag9160

There will never be another Sparrow, God bless him,

@roybrown7357

the mighty sparrow sings somgs that he sees that impact black people lives all around the world when it comes to raciesiam,that sons is one of them.

@28105wsking

Isn't it funny that Sparrow and the Dalai Lama are the same age and born 5 days apart? One a saint of music, one a saint of meditation....amazing world! They are
both 80 this week. Happy Birthday to them. How they have both enriched our lives~

@jarrodbutts716

28105wsking I did not know that :)

@521gmj

grew up w/ this music!!! Too young to understand but loved it anyway... me & the rest of the coconut kids in BROOKLYN!

@linettboyd4380

Ohhhhh.....songs of my childhood...wonderful childhood days

@Smylemik

I remember singing this song at Carifesta 1981 at the National Stadium Barbados I was just 11 years old Opening ceremony mass choir full works

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