Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

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Little Boxes

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1962 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1990. Malvina and her husband were on their way from where they lived in Berkeley, through San Francisco and down the peninsula to La Honda where she was to sing at a meeting of the Friendsí Committee on Legislation (not the PTA, as Pete Seeger says in the documentary about Malvina, ďLove It Like a FoolĒ). As she drove through Daly City, she said ďBud, take the wheel. I feel a song coming on.Ē

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
---- Little Boxes and Other Handmade Songs
---- The Malvina Reynolds Songbook
---- There's Music in the Air: Songs for the Middle-Young

Other place(s) where the music to this song appears:
---- 62 Stars, Sixty-two Hits: the Keys-Hansen Book (Hansen Publications, 1963)
---- 100 Solos, Saxophone (London and New York: Amsco, 1987)
---- Hazel Arnett and Carl S. Miller: I Hear America Singing!: Great Folk Songs from the Revolution to Rock (New York: Praeger, 1975)
---- Peter Blood-Patterson: Rise Up Singing: The Group-Singing Song Book [lyrics & guitar chords only] (Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corp., 1988), p. 2
---- Broadside No. 20 (February 1963)
---- Broadside: Songs of Our Times..., Vol. 1 (New York: Oak Publications, 1964), p. 15
---- Creative Keyboard Songbook, Volume 2 (New York: Amsco Productions, 1987-)
---- Great Songs of the 60's (London and New York: Wise Publications, 1973)
---- Kathleen Krull and Allen Garns: Gonna Sing My Head Off!: American Folk Songs for Children (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1990)
---- Kathleen Krull and Allen Garns: I Hear America Singing!: Folk Songs for American Families (New York: A. A. Knopf, 2003)
---- Jim Morse and Nancy Mathews: The Sierra Club Survival Songbook (San Francisco and New York: The Sierra Club, 1971)
---- Milton Okun: The New York Times Great Songs of the Sixties (New York: Times Books, 1970-1974)
---- Sing Out!, Volume 13(4) (1963), p. 21
---- Wanda Willson Whitman: Songs That Changed the World (New York: Crown, 1969)

Malvina Reynolds recordings of this song:
---- Malvina Reynolds Sings the Truth
---- The Ultimate Pollution
---- Malvina
---- Ear to the Ground
---- Malvina Reynolds...Sings the Truth (2008)
---- Cassandra Records CS-52 (7-inch 45 rpm disc, 1971; flip side "The Cement Octopus")
---- Cassandra Records CS-53 (7-inch 45 rpm disc, 1973; flip side "Casitas" sung by Victor Jara)
---- The Best of Broadside 1962-1988 (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW CD 40130, 2000)
---- Bread and Roses Festival of Acoustic Music (Fantasy F-79009, 1979)
---- Folk Classics: Roots of American Folk Music (Columbia CK 45026, 1989)
---- Folk, Gospel & Blues: Will the Circle be Unbroken? (Sony J2K 65804, 1999)
---- Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970 (Rhino Records R2 74264, 2001)
---- Weeds: Music from the Original Series (Bulletproof RDCD 10830, 2005)
---- listen to video
---- listen to video

Recordings by other artists on which this song is performed:
---- Graeme Allwright: Joue Joue Joue [as "Petites boîtes"] (Mercury LP 6325 604, 1966)
---- Graeme Allwright: A l'Olympia [as "Petites boîtes"] (Mercury LP 6641 164, 1973)
---- Graeme Allwright: Live [as "Petites boîtes"] (EPM Musique 983 132, 1993)
---- As The Crow Flies: One Small Acre (2005)
---- Banjo Festival (Music of the World CD 12550, 1997)
---- Rik Barron: Make Hay When the Sun Shines (Odd Sock Kids 103, 1999)
---- Leon Bibb: "Little Boxes/Adieu Madras" (45 r.p.m. single, Liberty 55663, 1964)
---- Leon Bibb: The Now Composers (Philips PHS 600-249, 1967)
---- Fred Bock and the Genesis Singers: The Genesis Singalong (Agape Records ARS 1013, 1973)
---- Bob Dolan (Guildcraft Productions 803V-1001, 1965)
---- Elizabeth and Bruno Epp: Bring Flowers (E. & B. Epp, 1995)
---- Five-String Banjo Greats (Liberty LST 7357, 1964)
---- Following Folk Music (Classroom Materials, n.d.)
---- Joe Glazer: Build and Sing (Collector Records 1950C, 1991)
---- I've Got to Know and Other Poems, Vol. 1 (Kimbo Educational KLP-9045, 1972)
---- Víctor Jara: En Mexico (1971)
---- Víctor Jara: "Casitas" (7-inch 45 r.p.m. single, Cassandra Records CS-53, 1971; rewrite in Spanish of "Little Boxes" with Malvina singing an English translation of the rewrite on the flip side)
---- Víctor Jara: Habla y Canta (1972)
---- Victor Jara: listen to video
---- Aaron Kramer: On Freedom's Side, The Songs and Poems of Aaron Kramer (Freneau Records 10755, 1973)
---- Abby Lappen: Outside the Box (2004)
---- Kate and Anna McGarrigle: La [Vache] Qui Pleure [in French] (Tribu TRICD7221, 2003)
---- Lu Mitchell: Sing-In With Lu (Pasquinade, 1966)
---- Lu Mitchell: Salt and Pepper (Pasquinade, 1994)
---- Music U.S.A., Record 1 (Schirmer Records P 12486, 1977)
---- Nina and Frederik: Little Boxes and Other Favourites (Columbia 33SX 1683, 1964)
---- Nina and Frederik: Little Boxes and Other Favourites (33 1/3 e.p., Columbia SEG8437, 1964)
---- Nina and Frederik: "Little Boxes" (45 r.p.m. single, Columbia DB7400, 1964)
---- Judy Resnick: A Tribute to Judy Resnick (Friendship Records 210011, 1982)
---- Gayle Salamon and Armon Kasmai: Gayle & Armon (Splash & Cough Music GA-001, 1994)
---- Pete Seeger: Songs from Broadside Magazine, Vol. 2 (Folkways FH5302/Broadside Records BR-302, 1963)
---- Pete Seeger: We Shall Overcome (Columbia CS 8901, 1963)
---- Pete Seeger: "Little Boxes/Mail Myself to You" (45 r.p.m. single, Columbia 4-42940, 1963)2 listen to video
---- Pete Seeger: "Little Boxes/Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (45 r.p.m. single, Columbia 4-33088, 1963)
---- Pete Seeger: Pete Seeger Sings Little Boxes and Other Broadsides (Verve Folkways Records FVS 9020, 1966)
---- Pete Seeger: Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits (Columbia CS 9416, 1967)
---- Pete Seeger: The World of Pete Seeger (Columbia KG 31949, 1973)
---- Pete Seeger: Clearwater Classics (CBS Special Products P17866 & P17867, 1984)
---- Pete Seeger: We Shall Overcome: The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert (Columbia C2K 45312, 1989/1963)
---- Pete Seeger: Headlines & Footnotes (Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40111, 1999)
---- Songs That Make Us Think (Classroom Materials Co., 1973)
---- The Spinners (Liverpool): Last Night We Had a Do (PRT Precision N6553, 1984)
---- Tacky Tunes (K-tel International 3411-2, 1995)
---- Tomoya Takaishi: [in Japanese] (RCA Victor SJV-279)
---- The Very Best of Country Banjo (United Artists Records UA-LA411-E, 1975)
---- Laura Weber: Folk Guitar With Laura Weber (Laura Weber and Virginia Duncan, 1966)
---- The Womenfolk: The Womenfolk (RCA Victor LSP 2832, 1963)
---- The Womenfolk: "Little Boxes" (45 r.p.m. single, RCA Victor 47-8301, 1964)3
---- listen to video
---- listen to video
---- listen to video
---- listen to video
---- listen to video
---- listen to video
---- listen to video

Additional notes
1. The term "ticky tacky" is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary, and credited to Malvina.
2. Seeger's recording reached as high as number seventy on Billboard and number seventy-two on Cashbox in early 1964.
3. The Womenfolk's version peaked at number eighty-three on Billboard and number ninety-six on Cashbox in May 1964.

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This page copyright 2006 by Charles H. Smith and Nancy Schimmel. All rights reserved.

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