Pinky Pie

100 miles, 99 bottles & Me

Posted on: January 6, 2011

One hundred miles to walk at the mall. One hundred miles to walk. Walk one mile and again go around, 99 miles to walk at the mall.

Ninety-nine miles to walk at the mall. Ninety-nine miles to walk. Walk one mile and again go around,  98 miles to walk at the mall.

I’m done – not with walking, but with pirating that classic on the road song, 99 bottles of beer on the wall, which drives a person absolutely crazy.

The goal for January 2011 set by someone on the planet is to run 100 miles in January. I walk and not run and in the winter I make my rounds with many others at the mall. It is not the most fun place to walk: to say the least.

I pass the time when I don’t connect with a friend listening to National Public Radio or most recently to a book that I downloaded from

In the first five days of the year, I logged 18.3 miles, but I’m not sure I can keep up that pace. I did not go this morning yet, but probably will in the afternoon. Eighty-one miles to walk at the mall; eighty-one miles to walk.

So what is this origin of 99 Bottles of Beer? The simple answer would be going to the grocery, convenience or liquor store. But there is more to the “Song that Does Not End.”

There is an old English children’s song called Ten Green Bottles, which involves ten bottles with the beverage undetermined. We Americans always have to do one better, or rather, 89 better.

But then during World War II, the Royal Air Force used to sing, “99 German planes in the air,” with each plane being shot down by the RAF until there were no others.

According to Wikipedia, one version sings “infinite bottles of beer on the wall” for needs. The joke is that no matter how many you might drink or smash, there still would be “infinite” bottles on the wall.

FF Bits of Data on a bus for Electrical engineers, who sing “Take one down and short it to ground.”

99 Bottles of non-alcoholic beer is for those who suggest not using beer.

A hundred sticks of dynamite is for those who want just one verse.

Will it ever end? If you get down to zero, you can always sing, “0 bottles of beer, go to the store, buy some more, [any number] bottles of beer on the wall.”

There are references to the song everywhere – in the Beverly Cleary book, Ramona and Her Father; in televisions Home Improvement, The Simpsons, Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, and so many more that we could sing 99 versions of 99 Bottles of beer.  Each have their own number, such as Calvin singing “10 million bottles of beer on the wall.” I believe that would be more than enough.

In “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s song, “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota,” Weird Al noted his kids “were so excited they started singing ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall’ for the twenty-seventh time that day.”

My absolute favorite is the compilation of 85 musicians who created 99 Bottles Collaboration by alanatomic.mp3. It is available at

I warn you that’s a lot of versions, even more than the 18 versions of “St. James Infirmary” that I’ve downloaded from iTunes. (That is another song and another story.)



2 Responses to "100 miles, 99 bottles & Me"

What an interesting post.

99 bottles of bourbon on the wall… I be in fine voice then



I sang the song on a few buses in my life! Fun reading!! Thanks.

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