Mental Floss

Memorize the Presidents With This Song

Chris Higgins
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Folky troubadour Jonathan Coulton has recorded "Washy Ad Jeffy," a mnemonic device/folk song that helps you remember the order of all the US presidents. By nicknaming the presidents with differing numbers of syllables (like "Jeffy" for Jefferson or "Ad" for Adams), the number of syllables tells you how many terms (or partial terms) that president served. Coulton describes the song's history:

My father learned it from Mrs. Govan, his 8th grade history teacher at Memorial Junior High School in Ohio. He believes she made it up, but he's not entirely sure. At the time he learned it, and of course when he taught it to me, it only went up to Eisenhower. I have added to it over the years, so really it's a collaboration between Mrs. Govan (maybe?) and me.

Enjoy:

You can also download it for free, buy it (Coulton is all about choices, people!), or learn to play it on guitar. And for help in your memorization, here are the lyrics:

Washy Ad JeffyMaddy MonroeAd Jackson Van HairTy Po Tay Phil PearBu Lincoln John Grant2Hayes Garther and CleveHair Cleve and McKinRoosevelt TaftWilson Hard CoolidgeHoov Franklin Roosevelt Truman IkeyKen Johnson Nixon Ford Cart Reagan BushClinton Dubya And maybe you somedayAnd if you do they'll sayWhat a fine president you made Washy Ad JeffyMaddy MonroeAd Jackson Van HairTy Po Tay Phil PearBu Lincoln John Grant2Hayes Garther and CleveHair Cleve and McKinRoosevelt TaftWilson Hard CoolidgeHoov Franklin Roosevelt Truman IkeyKen Johnson Nixon Ford Cart Reagan BushClinton Dubya...

See also: Coulton's podcast from the moon and his greatest hits.

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