The disturbing origins of popular ice cream truck tune

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Photo: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (PIX11) — The familiar ice cream truck jingle you remember from your childhood has a dark origin.

An investigation by NPR revealed that the melody for the popular tune that plays from many ice cream trucks across the country comes from the extremely racist song “N***** Love a Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!” The song was written by Harry C. Browne and released by Columbia Records in 1916.

One of the lines of the song is, “Yes, ice cream! Colored man’s ice cream: WATERMELON!”

NPR reporter Theodore R. Johnson III was researching racial stereotypes when he made the unfortunate connection between the horrific mistral song and innocent ice cream trucks. “I soon realized that the ice cream truck song was forever ruined for me,” Johnson wrote.

The “Turkey in the Straw” melody even shows up in a “Murphy’s Oil” commercial.

The author of the song used the well-known melody of the 19th century song “Turkey in the Straw.”

Johnson notes that there is no denying the connection between the racist song and the ice cream truck jingle.

“There is simply no divorcing the song from the dozens of decades it was almost exclusively used for coming up with new ways to ridicule, and profit from, black people.”

To listen to the extremely offensive song, click here.



    • Cerius Black

      and the liberals that keep bringing up racists things just so they can use the N word.

  • Confused

    How does the author make a connection to Nigger Loves a Watermelon when the ORIGINAL version is Turkey in the Straw? Are you race baiting for more clicks? How could you possible connect the two?

    • Cerius Black

      What the liberals, like NPR and WPIX reporters, love to do is say the N word any chance they get. They invented the word and use it as often as they can. Racism comes out of the lack of morals of liberals. The Democrats started the KKK as their terrorist wing. Over the last 50 years, how many Democrats in congress were found to be past KKK members, and how many Republicans were found to be past KKK members? One group will be zero.

  • Cerius Black

    Geez. I've heard people sing lots of racist stuff that is not the original song. Furthermore how many have heard jokes and certain people in the joke are changed to a certain race of people? NPR's article is 100% incorrect that the racist version of this song is what became popular but that is horse-hockey. Turkey In The Straw is a very well known song as TURKEY IN THE STRAW!

    BTW, we have ice cream trucks around here almost every day. I've NEVER heard them play Turkey In the Straw.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.