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Baby Shark” is a children’s song featuring a family of sharks. Popular as a campfire song, it has taken off since 2016, spreading through social media, online video, and radio.

Origins Edit

“Baby Shark” originated from a campfire song or chant by Eren Newton. Some sources have mentioned traditional myths as a basis, others camping origins in the early 20th century,[1] and some see it as possibly developed by camp counselors inspired by the movie Jaws.[2][3] It became a campfire song where each member of a family of sharks is introduced with different hand motions. Different versions of the song have the sharks hunting fish, eating a sailor, or killing people, who then go to heaven.[4]

Various entities have copyrighted original videos and sound recordings of the song, and some have trademarked merchandise based on their versions; however, according to The New York Times, the underlying song and characters are believed to be in the public domain.[5]

Alemuel version Edit

A dance version of “Baby Shark” was popularized online in the 2007 YouTube video “Kleiner Hai” (German for Little Shark) and published by Alexandra Müller, also known by her stage name Alemuel.[6] This version is set to the theme of Jaws and tells the story of a baby shark who grows up and eats a swimmer.[7] The video quickly gained popularity[8] and EMI offered Alemuel a record deal[9] and published the song accompanied by disco beats on May 30, 2008. The single peaked at 25th on of the German charts[10] and at 21 in the Austrian charts.[11] Based on the single and the original video, the YouTube community created a popular music video. The German version of the song remains popular among German youth groups and multiple variations (also in different dialects of German[12]) have been published.

Johnny Only version Edit

Johnny Only, a children’s entertainer based in Upstate New York, was a DJ at a kids camp, and the counselors would regularly perform the song with their campers, acting out the hand gestures and going through each verse. Only saw how engaged and animated the campers were when “Baby Shark” was performed, so when he became a full-time children’s entertainer, he released his own version.[13] That was in 2011, five years before another version of “Baby Shark” became a global phenomenon.[14] However Eren Newton was known to be singing the song as early as 2003.

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