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What is the (possible) meaning of this 60's hit song lyric?


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Everyone's Gone to The Moon

(Jonathan King, 1965)

 

Streets full of people, all alone

Rows full of houses, never home

Church full of singing, out of tune

Everyone's gone to the moon

 

Eyes full of sorrow, never wet

Hands full of money, all in debt

Sun disappears in the middle of June

Everyone's gone to the moon

 

Long time ago, life had begun

Everyone went to the sun

 

Hearts full of motors, painted green

Mouths full of chocolate-covered cream

Hands that can only lift a spoon

Everyone's gone to the moon

Everyone's gone to the moon

Everyone's gone to the moon

uuY0ux8So_4 Shame you can't hear it here in Stereo, because the production really is quite sophisticated for 1965.

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It sorta means the same thing as the lyrics in 25 or 6 to 4 ... only different.

 

 

And anyway, that's just the way everything was in 1965. Too much time in front of the tube watching Shindig and Hullabaloo will do that to you.

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I always took it for a typical 60s lament about the soulless and sheep-like state of the average person. Like the composer had just read Brave New World and was resonating with all that.....

 

thinking about it a bit more - the metaphor of the sun and moon - I suppose the sun being "life" at its source, and the moon being a dead reflection of the sun-life. Commercial/mass society versus authentic individual life 'n all that jazz....

 

nat whilk ii

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Seriously, these types of songs can be incredibly deep or dumb depending on how you look at it. Back in the fall of `06 I read 1984, Fahrenheit and The Celestine Prophecy back to back to back... it sort of put me in a really bad place for a while. You start writing lyrics like that...

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Aren't some of those lyrics wrong?

 

Sun coming out in the middle of June...

 

That correction is clear from the vocal.

 

Less clear, but more logical is this one:

 

Hearts full of motives painted green

(Get it? Green with envy?)

 

But I admit, the singer sounds like he says "motors".

Maybe he means the engines of envy. Or maybe, as I

suspect, he says "motives".

 

I don't care about the meaning. This is one of the best

and most poetic lyrics to come from the British Invasion.

I consider it one of the best orchestrations (outside Petula

Clark/Tony Hatch collaborations) of the British Invasion as well.

 

This song for me, is a work of genius. I understand the

singer and author had some problems later in life.

He went to jail. He deserved to go to jail.

 

But this is a magnificent piece of Pop songwriting.

 

His work stands the test of time. I'd trade the

entire 60's British Rock catalog for this one.

I think in every respect, the lyrics, the vocal,

the eerie string orchestration, it's a Pop masterpiece.

 

And it was too good for the Pop audience of that day.

And it's too good for the audiene of our own time.

But it still sounds lovely, doesn't it?

 

AFAIC, Dylan, Leonard Cohen or Lennon/McCartney

never wrote a better set of lyrics. Cohen now & then

might have had a better orchestration though. But not

very often.

 

Thanks for posting this gem Rasputin.

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Aren't some of those lyrics wrong?


Sun
coming out
in the middle of June...


That correction is clear from the vocal.


Less clear, but more logical is this one:


Hearts full of
motives
painted green

(Get it? Green with envy?)


.

 

Yes, some of these lyrics ARE wrong. Sorry. I got them off of one of those "lyrics" websites. I think a number of those lyrics websites are compiled by folks for whom English is not a first language.

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"What is the (possible) meaning of this 60's hit song lyric?"

 

The world used to be bright, enjoyable, and had meaning, but now has become a dark (metaphorically), mad, vaccuous, vapid existence.

The moon has always had the connotation of insanity, sorrow, and mystery - King beat Pink Floyd to the punch by several years.

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I always wondered if that song wasn't somewhat literal too. JFK promised to send a man to the moon. In 1965, it hadn't been done yet, but people were fixated on the idea. Of course many thought the idea of space exploration was grand and noble, but others saw it as folly - another example of man endlessly coveting what is beyond his reach and vacating the present life and the planet we live on, leaving it empty and uncared for.

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Yes, some of these lyrics ARE wrong. Sorry. I got them off of one of those "lyrics" websites. I think a number of those lyrics websites are compiled by folks for whom English is not a first language.

 

A big problem with lyric sites is that as far as I can tell, they're all copied and pasted from each other, and if one site gets the lyrics wrong, the error is replicated ad infinitum. They don't check, because they're in it for the ad money -- quantity over quality.

 

You have to "proofread" lyric sites versus the actual recording. :cop:

 

Remember Phaedra? "...and how she gave me life/and how she made it in..."

 

I still say it's "how she made it END" -- but you can't go by the lyric sites. :wave:

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BTW Rasputin, I disagree about stereo. This song sounds best played on an AM car radio, preferably late on a starry night as you're driving around aimlessly.

 

Maybe I'm being theatrical. But it definitely sounds better in AM mono IMO.

 

Rasputin:

"What do you make of "Arms that can only lift a spoon" ?"

 

It's poetry. It's an image that evokes pity, sympathy, an image of pathetic humanity, maybe an infant or maybe an invalid.

 

It's poetry. It evokes melancholy, pity, curiousity. That's what poetry does.

 

Lee Flier: "I always wondered if that song wasn't somewhat literal too. JFK promised to send a man to the moon. In 1965, it hadn't been done yet, but people were fixated on the idea. Of course many thought the idea of space exploration was grand and noble, but others saw it as folly - another example of man endlessly coveting what is beyond his reach and vacating the present life and the planet we live on, leaving it empty and uncared for."

 

Another poet, Leonard Cohen, had these lines on that subject.

 

So the great affair is over, but whoever would have guessed,

It would leave us all so vacant, so deeply unimpressed;

It's like our journey to the moon, or to that other star,

I guess we go for nothing, if we really want to go that far.

 

It's like our journey to the moon, or to that other star,

I guess we go for nothing, if we really want to go that far."

 

Death of a Ladies' Man (Closing lines)

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You lift a spoon to feed yourself. The line IMO comments on mans selfish behavior.

 

 

That's what I got.

 

And Lee's point about the race to get a man on the moon. Back then, you mention the moon and that's what you'd have thought of. "Every thing's going to crap and we're racing to go to the moon?"

 

Plus gone to the moon meaning "Gone off his rocker".

 

Then playing off the sun and moon imagery. Sun good, moon bad.

 

So the synopsis:

 

Everything's going to hell and we're wasting time with a space race? Mankind is overlooking their brother in need and only sees what others have that we don't. Meanwhile there are people in very real need all around us right here on Earth. So instead of using our arms to help we use them to stuff our greedy faces and race to the moon. We must be off our rockers.

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Pretty good summation there, Lee. I'd agree with that.

 

"Arms that can only lift a spoon" also conjures up images of those born with a silver spoon in their mouths. People who can't do any real work, IOW, and generally won't lift a finger to help anyone else.

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Lee Knight:

"Plus gone to the moon meaning "Gone off his rocker"."

 

Your wife is English, right? Is that part of the slang?

 

That adds something to the critique.

 

I think it's more beautiful and mysterious though. I don't see it as a political critique of wasteful spending on the space race. A critique of selfishness? Yes. A critique of modern life gone wrong? Yes.

 

Arms that can only lift a spoon, logically, cannot lift anything else.

"Only" is a universal. So that line indicates weakness, to me.

 

But Jonathan King was being a poet, not a logician.

Maybe he was referring to the weaknessand decadence of the well-born.

He went to Cambridge where he certainly learned about both logic and

the well-born.

 

If "Gone to the moon" is slang for what I've heard Brits call "barking mad", that explains a lot. But it doesn't explain everything.

 

I think about this line, Eyes full of sorrow, never wet,.

People lead aching, bitter lives, but they can't even cry anymore.

Yet, you see it in their eyes. That's not about wasteful spending on NASA.

 

And I prefer hearing this song in AM mono.

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I don't see it as a political critique of wasteful spending on the space race. A critique of selfishness? Yes. A critique of modern life gone wrong? Yes.

 

Well I think my point was that the space race was prominent in people's minds at the time and was considered a good example (by some) of the selfishness and what had gone wrong with modern life. I don't think the song is a critique of wasteful spending, per se, just that the space race was kind of a symptom of what the song was talking about.

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Well I think my point was that the space race was prominent in people's minds at the time and was considered a good
example
(by some) of the selfishness and what had gone wrong with modern life. I don't think the song is a critique of wasteful spending, per se, just that the space race was kind of a symptom of what the song was talking about.

 

 

Right. And the fact that it was a powerful image and useful double meaning for the songwriter. Not a pointed ctitisism of NASA, no. Just a cool image to make a point.

 

And yeah, marcellis, the wife's a limey.

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I don't thing it's a direct slang, no. But if someone said, "that guy's on the moon" that's how I'd take it. Or, "they've all gone to the moon". That would read, "Mama, they're all crazy" to me.

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Obviously, I dissent from the literal interpretations.

 

Nhat Wilk II hit something on the symbolism of the sun

being the source of life and the moon being a dead reflection.

 

Streets full of people, all alone

Rows full of houses, never homes

Church full of singing, out of tune

Everyone's gone to the moon

 

Eyes full of sorrow, never wet

Hands full of money, all in debt

Sun coming out in the middle of June

Everyone's gone to the moon

 

Long time ago, life had begun

Everyone went to the sun

 

It's a simplistic view of a long time ago.

But the transition from a life focused on the sun

and a life focused on what nhat wilk referred to

as the "dead reflection" of the moon is there

in the lyrics.

 

But meaning, like beauty, is in the eye (or ear)

of the beholder.

 

The song to my ears, is as moving today, as it

was when I was a kid and heard it in my Dad's

car radio.

 

This is a very mysterious piece of work.

And that's what makes it art and I think, timeless.

 

--

 

http://60x50.blogspot.com/2008/05/sentimental-lunatic.html

 

Here is a serious article about the song, written by a kindred spirit to myself.

He loves de Chirico's work. My avatar is by de Chirico. He invokes de Chirico

in his critique of King's song. Both de Chirico's art and King's song are

replete with mystery.

 

His experience with Jonathan King's song was about the same as mine.

We were about the same age when we heard it.

 

De Chirico's "Gare Montparnasse" from the aricle:

 

melancholy.jpg

 

He and I both come down firmly in the non-literalist camp. It does not mean we are correct and

Lee Flier and Lee Knight are wrong. It just means there are different schools of thought about this

song and all deserve serious consideration.

 

I think Jonathan King
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I agree with you. But it's strange... I don't see my interpretation as literal at all. The mention of NASA and space travel... no, no. It was only mentioned because this was a hot topic at the time. It is NOT about that. The image is symbolic, made more powerful because of it. That's all.

 

I agree with you.

 

Like a song today let's say, that is about "forgetting the poor". And the term bail out is used. That's going to strike a chord today. It's going to get you in the gut as you listen. It means something given the context of the day. But the song isn't about Corporate Bailout. Maybe the song is about making sure we remember the little guy. The little girl crying in the park.

 

It's just an image that wields more power, that resonates, given the era it was released.

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