Go Bananas

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9 comments on this post.
  1. Tim Sites:

    I’ve wondered about the song “Loving You Has Made Me Bananas” written in 1968 by Guy Marks. In the song the term is used in a nonsense manner as in: “Loving You Has Made Me ” in the same manner that most of the other lyrics of this song parody were used. I remember at the time not being aware that the term “bananas” was a slang term for crazy and saw the humor in the song solely from it’s absurdist language, not from any slang meaning. I mention this in that I believe the song lyrics would not have been consistent if the line “Loving You Has Made Me Bananas” simply meant “Loving You Has Made Me Crazy” I believe the line was intended to not make sense and if the term was widely understood to mean “crazy”, the author would have used something different such as “Loving You Has Made Me Grape Jelly”

    Looking at recorded usage of the slang term “Bananas” meaning “Crazy”, it did not begin to become common until the late 60’s, about the time this song was produced. Likewise by the time Woody Allen’s movie “Bananas” came out in 1971, the “crazy” meaning was pretty much universally understood.

    I would not go so far as to suggest this song is the origin of the slang term, but it might have been the catalyst for popularizing it in the late 60’s after falling into disuse. I remember people for a while in response to this song, inserting the word “banana” or “bananas” randomly into their speech to get a laugh.

  2. Tim Sites:

    Sorry. In the second sentence there is the phrase (in quotes) “Loving You Has Made Me ” which should read “Loving You Has Made Me [insert meaningless non sequitur here]”. I used angle brackets in the original post rather than square brackets and the editor thought they enclosed html tags and thus did not print. Since I can’t edit my previous post, maybe the moderator will do so.

  3. Lynne:

    I was taught that the saying that someone had “gone bananas” referred to the fact that when a person had mental health issues or a nervous breakdown they would go to an asylum or hospital and were fed bananas because of their positive effects on mental health. Apparently they contain properties known to benefit the mind and body. Therefore someone who had gone bananas was literally being fed bananas to help with such a condition or illness.

  4. Jaclyn Koch:

    Tim Sites, You have gone bananas to taint your interesting insight with a belly button stare at an editing faux pas. ;)

  5. Joseph Oleske:

    The earliest mention I could find was in a book, “Heston’s Annals”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=3sw6AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA196&lpg=PA196&dq=cornelius+hargrave&source=bl&ots=uScvfX6-Bz&sig=081D3_R7oaER7fhD6O7Vh389aOw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikgKXpvILUAhXKNSYKHVhzAicQ6AEIVDAQ#v=onepage&q=cornelius%20hargrave&f=true

    that records The shipwrecks of the Jersey shore. On the night of March 30, 1903 the Norwegian steamship Brighton struck the shallows near Atlantic City. Her cargo from Port Antonio, in Jamaica, of rum and bananas were released and quickly washed ashore. The effect on residents reportedly made Atlantic City “banana crazy”.

    -Joseph Oleske III

  6. Christopher Donzle:

    I really enjoyed reading this. It is currently 2017 and still am unable to find a denfinitive answer for this topic. Nevertheless, I had a good laugh reading this post and comments. I don’t know who decided that bananas are mans crazy fruit but I certainly don’t hear folks “going kiwi”. Thank you for the intriguing post and responses!

  7. Pam:

    My theory as a beekeeper is that when honey bees detect danger they signal with a pheromone that smells like bananas. Their reaction as a colony is to attack which fits the definition of ‘going bananas’ if you are their target. It is recommended not to eat bananas before handling a hive.

  8. Mike:

    I recall watching Johnny Carson back in the mid-60’s when the drug and psychedelic culture were becoming everyday news. During a monologue one night Carson mentioned that people were beginning to smoke banana peels to get a high. He very often used actual news items to create jokes so I think that it may have been true. Although I forgot what the joke was I do vividly remember that it started a near nightly reference to bananas in some way to poke fun at drug use or some form of demented behavior. After some time it seemed that “bananas” took on a life of its own and I began hearing it everywhere.

    I’m not 100% sure this is where it originated, but it is where I first heard it and watched it develop into a colloquialism.

  9. Matt Durham:

    “Going ape” to mean going crazy dates back to at least Korea. Military slang has a tendency to get more vulgar pretty quickly, so “going apesh*t” soon followed. It seems to me that “bananas” is just a clever bowdlerization of “apesh*t”. Mystery solved.

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