Do You Know the Muffin Man
By: Peggy Willms
(3 min read)
If you are not a regular visitor to the TikTok social media platform, you may have missed the random videos that have gone viral over the past few years. The song is one you may have heard hundreds of times since childhood, “Do You Know the Muffin Man.”
It has taken over the app again.
A few months ago, Adam Lambert performed on the Jimmy Fallon show, That’s My Jam. Celebrity contestants randomly select an artist by spinning a big wheel. His arrow landed on Cher. He spun again to choose the song he must sing while mimicking her voice. The wheel landed on Do You Know the Muffin Man. The show is designed to be improv. Adam’s performance shocked the band and the audience. Go check it out. WOW.
I am and have been a huge Adam Lambert fan since he was on American Idol back in 2009 when he became runner-up to Kris Allen – trust me, Adam was robbed. He is highly skilled with a long history of performing on stage and has collaborated with the band Queen since 2011. He has also released a ton of his own award-winning music.
His version of muffin man has gone insanely wild. I, too, did a TikTok using his soundtrack. Let’s say I crack myself up when I need a break from mundane day-to-day tasks.
This newest TikTok trend prompted me to research the meaning behind this song, and I about spit out my own muffin. OMG!
Reportedly, the song was created by children in 1563 in England to warn others about a serial killer who lived on Drury Lane. He had murdered 15 children and seven rival pastry chefs. The killer was also often referred to as a drunk and beggar. According to legend, he would lure children into his bakery or even dark alleys with a muffin on a string and beat them with a wooden spoon. THIS IS A CHILDREN’S SONG, YA’ALL.
Though the legend has never been confirmed, the killer was Frederick Thomas Lynwood. He lived on Drury Lane, was a bakery owner, and delivered his baked goods door-to-door much as the milkman did for centuries.
There have been songs and movie titles referring to the muffin man. In the animated movie Shrek, the gingerbread man is lured by Lord Farquaad and dunked in milk before he is tortured to tell the Lord where all his buddies are. Supposedly this is a reference to the muffin man song.
More likely, this dude was just an entrepreneur who strolled about town with a cool bakery cart selling his delicious goods. The legend may have simply started with someone like me who wanted to cut back on their sugar intake and jokingly called him a tempting little demon going about town terrorizing people’s cravings and capitalizing on people’s inability to say no to some damn-good treats. Hell, he may have had a fantastic marketing ploy…lure children into the bakery and threaten them with a wooden spoon if they do not convince their parents to make an order. Sorry, I got tripped up in folklore for a minute.
I will never ever look at a muffin the same again.