Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pharaoh, Pharaoh

In 1989 I began to hear stories about a great new youth group song that was sweeping the nation.  There is still disagreement on just how new it was and as to exactly who wrote it, but in any case it was new to me.  The song was called Pharaoh, Pharaoh, a song about Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt.  It was set to the tune of the old 60s classic Louie, Louie.  I first heard the song at the Youth Specialties NYWC in Orlando that year, and immediately took it back to my students at Springfield Friends Meeting.  We always sang it a bit differently than everyone else, and we always used the words I learned the first time I heard it.  There are many variations; just check YouTube to see what I mean.  Our version was always a bit wilder and a bit more raw than the other versions we heard at the time- less like a Sunday School song and much more like the sound of the original Louie, Louie.  At some point I was inspired to add a section, the now infamous Hang On Pharaoh (to the tune of Hang On Sloopy) bridge.  We were still singing this song on occasion when I left student ministry in 2007.  Below are the lyrics we used and the the only video I could find that was even close to the way we would sing it back in the day.  Few songs could get a youth room hopping quite like Pharaoh...

CHORUS:  Pharaoh, Pharaoh, ohhh baby let my people go (UH!)
I-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi  (Repeat)

A burning bush told me just the other day
that I should come over here and stay
Gotta get my people out of Pharaoh's hands
and lead them all to the promised land!


Well me and God's people comin' to the Red Sea
and Pharaoh's army coming after me
I raised my rod and stuck it in the sand
and all of God's people walked across dry land!


And the Egyptians sang...
Hang on Pharaoh, Pharaoh hang on... (Repeat as often as you like)

Old Pharaoh's army was a comin' too
so what do yu think that I did do?
I raised my rod and I cleared my throat (hbhbbbhbb)
and all of Pharoah's army did the dead man's float!!!


I hope you are enjoying these Tuesday youth group musical flashbacks as much as I am.  These songs were such a big part of my life.  These posts sure makes me want to break out the guitar and get folks singing with me again.  I mentioned that Pharaoh often rocked youth rooms from High Point to Kissimmee, and from Chicago to Tampa.  But nothing...NOTHING...rocked a youth room or the Quaker Lake fireplace room quite like Lahaina!  That memory is coming next Tuesday...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Your lyrics are the lyrics I learned and loved as well. I'm curious as to how your group did it "wilder" than everyone else. Great memories here, too, Carl!

    1. Jason, most of the groups we heard sing it sang like a church song. We just sang it like Louie Louie. We would scream the last line of each verse, and we would slur the the I-yi's just like the original. And when we said UH after the "let my people go" line, people felt it two buildings over. I am sure other groups did it the same way, but we always seemed over the top to the other groups who tried to sing it with us!

  2. One of my ALL time favorite songs from TNT! I found myself singing it just like we did back then. :)

    1. That is so cool, Ann. But the big question is this- could you still do the dance? :)

  3. Rocked that out this past weekend at Chrysalis! I still use it from time to time! Such a great crowd energy song!


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