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Top 10 Horrible Histories Songs

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Sing-a-longs are rarely this educational. Welcome to WatchMojoUK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Horrible Histories” songs. For this list, we’re looking at the best songs from CBBC’s “Horrible Histories”, and basing our ranking on their humour, their accuracy, or just how catchy they are. We’re only looking at songs from the original 2009 to 2013 run however, and not from the 2015 revival or the 2001 animated series. Special thanks to our user Elsie Duffy for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Horrible Histories Songs


Sing-a-longs are rarely this educational. Welcome to WatchMojoUK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Horrible Histories” songs.

For this list, we’re looking at the best songs from CBBC’s “Horrible Histories”, and basing our ranking on their humour, their accuracy, or just how catchy they are. We’re only looking at songs from the original 2009 to 2013 run however, and not from the 2015 revival or the 2001 animated series.

#10: “Ra Ra Cleopatra”


This catchy parody of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” chronicles the life of Cleopatra VII, one of Ancient Egypt’s most recognisable Pharaohs. Given her well-documented beauty and the chaos this caused in the ancient world, the song isn’t short on material. She had notable affairs with several powerful Romans, namely Julius Caesar and then, after Caesar’s death, Mark Antony, general to the next Roman Emperor Octavian. But not only her life was dramatic – archaeologists don’t even know how she died. Some think she was poisoned by Octavian, others that she allowed herself to be bitten by a deadly snake. Either way, this song makes learning more about her seem like a whole lot of fun.

#9: “Blackbeard’s Song”


As one of the most infamous pirate lords of all time, it’s only fitting that Blackbeard should be immortalised forever in a song you will certainly get stuck in your head. Jim Howick’s version of Edward Teach tells us about his gruesome rise to pirate fame. Blackbeard’s violence knew no bounds and the Queen Anne’s Revenge terrorised the oceans for nearly a decade - though the end wasn’t pleasant for this thief. After getting greedy for more treasure he murdered the majority of his crew and then fell in battle, his ship boarded by a troop of British soldiers. He was decapitated and his head – and beard – were displayed for all to see.

#8: “RAF Pilot Song”


Fighter pilots tend to be some of the most romanticised people out there, but hey, these are the heroes who helped to rescue the UK from destruction during the Battle of Britain in World War II. Putting these brave men in a Take That inspired boy band number perfectly captures the illustrious way they’re remembered today, letting the cast have fun with their roles while also acknowledging their important role the RAF played in defeating Nazi Germany. An infectiously catchy number from start to finish, the “RAF Pilot Song” will have you singing the praises of these war heroes too!

#7: “Charles Dickens”


Britain has no shortage of famous authors, and Charles Dickens is definitely up there. Courtesy of Horrible Histories, he gets a sullen, Smiths-inspired song all to himself, addressing his early life of privilege until everything was lost to his father’s debts. His father in prison, Dickens ended up working in a factory from a young age and only briefly attended school. The song goes through Dickens’ habit of taking inspiration from the world around him as an early example of literary realism. He was one of the first writers to actually portray the lives of England’s poor, working classes. We’re not sure how he would’ve liked the song, but we love it.

#6: “Dick Turpin, Highwayman”


England’s most famous historical thief and occasional murderer, Dick Turpin, has been heavily romanticised since his death in 1705. He and his horse Black Bess became popular subjects in ballads and poems, but these were all highly embellished. Of course, as explored in this song, Turpin’s real horse wasn’t called Black Bess, and he didn’t really do anything remotely worth celebrating, robbing the people of the English countryside at gunpoint for much of his life. While we appreciate the song’s efforts to reveal the truth of Dick Turpin, we’re also glad that they let him retains much of his flashy, criminal image.

#5: “Charles Darwin: Natural Selection”


One British icon borrowing from another, Darwin’s Horrible Histories song fittingly parodies Bowie’s “Changes” while exploring the writing process behind “On the Origin of Species,” in which Darwin famously postulated his theories of evolution and natural selection. Led to these conclusions during his voyages on the HMS Beagle, Darwin remains a controversial figure in some parts of the world, but the impact of his theories cannot be denied. While at the time he was mocked and drawn in monkey-ish caricatures – and in 1925 an American teacher was put on trial for attempting to teach students Darwin’s theories - he’s undeniably remembered nowadays as one of the most important figures in the history of biology.

#4: “We’re History”


A poignant farewell to the beloved series, this ballad goes through all of history chronologically from cavemen and the ancient world through to the world wars. Showing flashbacks to some of the show’s most memorable sketches and featuring the entire cast in dozens of different roles, this impressive number is the goodbye the series deserved - as well as the one we desperately needed as fans. If you had a favourite moment from the show it was almost definitely shown in this four-minute segment, while commemorating “Horrible Histories’” own status as one of the great British comedies.

#3: “The Luddites!”


The likes of the Sex Pistols and The Clash got their own turn at being parodied - this time in a song about luddites, who went around dismantling and destroying the new machines of the industrial revolution. Skilled weavers who became redundant thanks to Victorian innovation, they thought that using machines to make clothes was “fraudulent and deceitful.” It’s one of the songs which resonates most of all today, as people still worry about the impact of automated technology in society. Rather than weigh in on the touchy subject, we’re going to crank the volume and allow this song to do the talking.

#2: “Charles II: King of Bling”


Matthew Baynton’s had his fair share of iconic roles in the show, but Charles II definitely takes the cake. In this catchy rap number, we learn about how the British Isles became a virtual dictatorship under the rule of Oliver Cromwell and the puritans – who went so far as to make Christmas illegal. While Charles II’s armies were defeated in the Civil War, the monarchy was restored after Cromwell’s death, and the party prince returned from exile in Europe to take the throne. This song became so popular that CBBC released it as a ringtone kids could download for free and it’s without definitely the one most likely to get stuck in your head.

#1: “The Monarchs' Song”


The hardest one to learn all the words to, the Monarch’s Song is long, fast and fun, all the while teaching us about the reigns of every British monarch from William I in 1066 to Elizabeth II today. History is told through the mouths of the most famous leaders, like Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, George IV and, again, Charles II. It deserves the top spot because of the sheer ambition of not just naming all the monarchs, but also telling us important facts and stories about many of them. It’s a perfect overview of British history from the start of proper records to the present day and a whole lot of fun too.
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