Tangled Tunes—On Top of Old Smoky

Growing up, and given the choice, I’d sing “On Top of Spaghetti” before the traditional “On Top of Old Smoky.” The made-up lyrics were funny and silly and all about my favorite food—I could eat spaghetti and meatballs for every meal, including breakfast. Plus, the original version was all about courtin’ and losing a true lover. Things I knew nothing about in my knee-scraped youth.

When approaching an adaptation of “On Top of Old Smoky,” I wanted to recreate that feeling of silliness inspired by the “On Top of Spaghetti” version. And here’s where my background in research helped inspire me. “Old Smoky” refers to the Smoky Mountains—I once edited a book about Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This fact wasn’t in that book, but there have been hundreds of Bigfoot sightings in those mountains. So . . .

On top of old Smokey
all covered in snow,
I lost my true lover
by courtin’ too slow.

. . . became . . .

On top of Old Smoky,
all covered with fog,
went looking for Bigfoot
with my pot-bellied hog.

My version of the song is about a boy and his pot-bellied pig looking for Bigfoot, and the various animals they meet along the way.

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