Dem Bones — also called Dry Bones and Dem Dry Bones — is a well-known spiritual song. The melody was composed by African-American author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938). Both a long and a shortened version of the song are widely known. The lyrics are inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14, where the Prophet visits the "Valley of Dry Bones" and prophesies that they will one day revive at God's command.
- Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones.
Over the years, the song has been played and recorded by many artists, including:
References in popular culture
- The Kinks used the chorus on the song "Skin and Bone" on their 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies.
- Bob Barner based a children's book of anatomy on this song.
- In the musical Li'l Abner, the political satire song "The Country is in The Very Best of Hands" contains a long passage which references this song, rewritten to be about politicians sitting around on their "thigh bones."
- The song "Dry Bones" was also featured as the second track on the Rain Man movie soundtrack.
- Schoolhouse Rock! has a version of "Dem Dry Bones", in order to teach children about the skeletal system.
- In a second season episode of The Munsters, entitled "Will Success Spoil Herman Munster?", Herman Munster was playing with Eddie Munster's friend's portable tape recorder by singing and playing back his own version of the song, which includes a mention of Herman's creator.
- The main chorus and a variation of the verses are featured in the song "Skeletons in the closet", by Kris McKay, used as the theme for the 7th Guest video game.
- The song appears twice in Evil Ed, first when Ed gets rid of the body of his boss and over the closing credits.
- In a fifth season episode of Married...with Children, Al Bundy is trying to recall the name of a song from his youth and to that end has the idea of naming "every song that was ever made until we get it." Al's first offer is "Mandy", Jefferson's is "Dem Bones".
- The Bone Song is sung by Guybrush's parents in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. The song is a variation of the popular spiritual song "Dem Bones". It is different every time the game is played.
- In Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 904, as a scene featuring the bones of a werewolf in a science lab plays, one of the characters dryly comments "We've come to the conclusion: dem bones, dem dry bones, sir".
- In the Wacky Races short Mish Mash Missouri Dash, Muttley sings a similar song about bolts while repairing the Mean Machine.
- ^ "Dry Bones, Valley of," in Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, David L. Jeffery, editor. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, November 1, 1992, pages 216-217, ISBN 0-8028-3634-8
- ^ Entry for Decca 23948 on http://www.discogs.com (including image of disc label). Accessed 13 March 2012.
- ^ "Bob Barner" Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2005. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2005. retrieved 5 December 2005
- ^ "Them Not-So-Dry-Bones".