A Musical Note: Ray Stevens – I’m My Own Grandpa

I first heard this song many, many years ago, and it astounded me then, as now.

The song inspired by a supposedly true incident that had happened 150 years earlier, was written in 1947 and has been performed by a great many singers.

Ray Steven’s version is my favorite, if for no other reason than the rising panic in his voice as he explains the process that lead to this odd, but completely legal conundrum.

I was lucky enough to find a version of this that includes a diagram which will make the whole thing perfectly clear to you.

I give you, Ray Stevens and “I’m My Own Grandpa”.


5 responses to “A Musical Note: Ray Stevens – I’m My Own Grandpa

  1. I don’t think there will be any dispute to the fact that we may need the lyrics for this one! grin grin

    Be right back I lost it trying to shorten it…

  2. Lyrics: Dwight Latham, Moe Jaffe
    Music: Dwight Latham, Moe Jaffe

    Played by Jerry Garcia with David Grisman

    Oh, many, many years ago
    When I was twenty-three
    I was married to a widow
    Who was pretty as can be
    This widow had a grown-up daughter
    Who had hair of red
    My father fell in love with her
    And soon the two were wed

    This made my dad my son-in-law
    And changed my very life
    For my daughter was my mother
    ‘Cause she was my father’s wife
    To complicate the matter
    Though it really brought me joy
    I soon became the father
    Of a bouncing baby boy

    This little baby then became
    A brother-in-law to Dad
    And so became my uncle
    Though it made me very sad
    For if he was my uncle
    Then that also made him brother
    Of the widow’s grown-up daughter
    WHo of course is my step-mother

    I’m my own grandpa
    I’m my own grandpa
    It sounds funny I know
    But it really is so
    Oh, I’m my own grandpa

    My father’s wife then had a son
    Who kept them on the run
    And he became my grandchild
    For he was my daughter’s son
    My wife is now my mother’s mother
    And it makes me blue
    Because although she is my wife
    She’s my grandmother too

    Now if my wife is my grandmother
    Then I’m her grandchild
    And every time I think of it
    It nearly drives me wild
    For now I have become
    The strangest case you ever saw
    As husband of my grandma
    I am my own grandpa

  3. If he was married to a widow, that means her husband, i.e. his father should be dead. End of first verse.

    This made my dad my son in law ? because daughter is married to him. OK son in law is a bit unusual yes!

    Nope I can’t do it. and the graph went by too quickly. And I thought I was good at analysis. What a day of awakening this is for me, today.

    But, with all these close family relations in even the past few generations, the terror in such ideas as incest have to perhaps take into context the current of the times, for families living in poverty did share close living arrangements, as well as the proximity of marriages to familial persons in close proximity. Thus, just one of those difficulties in seeing the past (hopefully a little more graciously) and within the context of the times.

    • I think the trick is the adding and removing if “in-law” at appropriate moments that makes it work. Oh, and it really does work… but what a mind-boggler.

      • I was wrong from the very beginning making him marry his mother, a la Oedipus or something. Think I’m going to take your word for it, Richard. After all, you’re ‘pretty’ trustworthy! grin grin.

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