"Sacrifice" as written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin....
It's a human sign
When things go wrong
When the scent of her lingers
And temptation's strong

Into the boundary
Of each married man
Sweet deceit comes calling
And negativity lands

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

Mutual misunderstanding
After the fact
Sensitivity builds a prison
In the final act

We lose direction
No stone unturned
No tears to damn you
When jealousy burns

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it's no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It's two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it's no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It's no sacrifice at all

No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all


Lyrics submitted by Novartza, edited by icequeentt

"Sacrifice" as written by Elton John Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Sacrifice song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is about being tempted to have an affair - 'when the scent of her lingers and temptation's strong' and 'into the boundary of each married man sweet deceit comes calling.' The sacrifice is the affair and what could have happened. I think he is saying that it really isn't a sacrifice because it would be very damaging and it is better left- 'some thing looking better just passing through.'
    In reality to forego the affair is no sacrifice because they are two people (two hearts) living in seperate worlds, like many other people.
    aleosaon February 16, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwell said Oracle. I also interpret this song as a lack of commitment. it doesn't necessarily mean that there’s an affair going on. love is lost because love means you have to sacrifice your ego for the other person.
    revolcisumon November 25, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about a "sacrifice" that a married couple "think" they are making, by separating/divorcing, - perhaps because of infidelity, or they dont agree anymore, or things are not the same anymore between them. By being away from eachother, there would be no more fights or arguments, but actually the deep rooted feeling inside the two of them, is LONELINESS (in the video you can see, the husband sleeping hugging a pillow, and dancing with his little girl, and you can see the wife sitting in an armchair reading old love letters. Is this really a sacrifice?? Or just pride, misunderstandings between 2 hearts... the one who bears this sacrifice is the child, eventually....
    planetvalerinaon September 18, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningIt's a human sign
    When things go wrong = Things have gone wrong. It's human nature.

    When the scent of her lingers
    And temptation's strong = He is tempted to forgive her.

    Into the boundary
    of each married man = But no married man can acept that his wife is unfaithful.

    Sweet deceit comes calling
    and negativity lands = She has been unfaithful.

    Cold cold heart
    hardened by you = His heart is cold.

    Some things look better, baby
    just passing through = He knows she regrets it and that it was not worth it.

    But

    Divorce / goodbye is not a sacrifice, just a simple word. He has no feelings for her anymore. He ends it.



    Mutual misunderstanding
    After the FIGHT = They fight

    Sensitivity builds a prison
    In the final act = They isolate themselves from eachother

    We lose direction
    No stone unturned = They cant make it work

    No tears to damn you = He does not cry, even though
    When jealousy burns = Jealousy burns

    Cold cold heart
    hardened by you = His heart is cold.

    Some things look better, baby
    just passing through = He knows she regrets it and that it was not worth it, but there is nothing left to do now.

    Divorce is not a sacrifice, just a simple word.

    They are two hearts living
    In two separate worlds

    It's no scarifice at all.
    morten1015on August 04, 2016   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI have long wondered what the one words is- whent it says "It's."
    Today I decided that he probably means LOVE, as the word. Here's my take on the song. If you disagree, I hope you'll try to be nice about it. I don't believe anyone deserves to be verbally attacked for their own OPINIONS!)

    =====
    It's a human sign
    When things go wrong
    When the scent of her lingers
    And temptation's strong

    His thoughts are drawn to another woman in his life. It may be just that she is very warm, kind, vibrant, and compassionate. Or it may be that he's had an affair (Oh I hope not!)

    The likelilhood is that his marriage is probably a difficult one. It probably lacks healthy, happy elements in some very important areas.

    When a marriage is healthy and generally happy a man is less likely to notice, or at least follow after, a woman who is not his wife--unless he is being emotionally or physically unfulfilled in his marriage.

    =====
    Into the boundary
    Of each married man
    Sweet deceit comes calling
    And negativity lands

    I think a man (or woman) has to be careful because there are always people we naturally find attractive. People who are more funny, or kind, or whatever attributes we admire, than our spouse may posses.

    The "negativity lands" when he pays too much attention, or he is drawn in by the attraction.

    ===

    Cold cold heart
    HARDENED by you
    Some things look better baby
    Just passing through

    I think the man is saying that the wife has been part of turning his heart cold, and has made him feel harder, instead of more tender toward her (as he felt when they were first married).

    I think the "Some things look better just passing through" may mean that life isn't just what we see superficially- life is exploring the depths of love- even if that love involves some pain.

    Things may look better superficially passing through, because we all tend to put "our best foot forward" for others, but the best side others see is not usually the whole reality of us-because it fails to show our flaws, shortcoming, or weaknesses.

    And it's no sacrifice
    Just a simple word
    It's two hearts living
    In two separate worlds

    Now, here's the tricky part. What is the word he's referring too. If any specific (which seems unlikely).

    What is "no sacrifice?" Is the word LOVE?
    Could it be read like this:

    "And real love is no sacrifice.
    Love is a simple word."

    For me, the part that this gets tricky is that TRUE & happy love doesn't generally happen in seperate worlds. Real love is united and seeks to work together.

    But with the song I think it is referring to a man and wife who live in two seperate worlds because they've grown apart, but love still exists within their individual hearts. It exists in my mind- kind of like a seed that could still be nourished and could bloom--if each do their part to water the seed of love--instead of leaving it to die.

    But it's no sacrifice
    No sacrifice
    It's no sacrifice at all

    So, again, I think this could be read,

    "So Real love is no sacrifice at all because it's worth every effort
    and in the end- even when it's painful and causes suffering
    it's not really a sacrifice in the scheme of things,
    because the sweetness gained from "sacrificing" for love
    really is swallowed up in the initial "sacrifices made for love."
    And therefore any sacrifice given for the nurture and joy of love,
    was really NO SACRIFICE at all!

    (A bit redundent, but no time for much more editing of this!)

    The usage of the word "sacrifice" here is hard for me because I look at sacrifice in terms of giving up something for something of greater things.

    Real Love often must make sacrifice by giving up the desires of the moment, for the privileges and blessings of the future.

    So in the scheme of things (to reiterate) I imagine it saying"

    "This really isn't a sacrifice
    because love will create so much beauty in the end,
    that this temporary suffering isn't a sacrifice, or loss, of anything"

    ====
    Mutual misunderstanding
    After the fact
    Sensitivity builds a prison
    In the final act

    So we are back to the overriding challenges of the marriage of this man and woman. She misunderstands the truth and goodness of his heart, and he misunderstands her heart because she is being so difficult that it's hard to see past the pricklies into the virtues of her character.
    (I recommend the book: How to Hug a Porcupine: Dealing With Toxic & Difficult to Love PersonalitiesAug 8, 1999
    by John L. Lundd)

    They both misunderstand eachother after something happens--maybe the something is having looked at a woman, talked to her, but hopefully nothing worse. Though in the case of the song it may refenence an affair. Or maybe an affair of the heart. (While this is directed to those of the LDS faith, the principles are basic and clear in how affairs of the heart happen and how they can be avoided, or can find healing! lds.org/ensign/2017/01/…)

    Anyhow, I think in this case sensitivity is not spoken in terms of being considerate and thoughtful of someone else. I think it means being overly sensitive to self and the pain and hurt that the self feels. Sensitivity in a selfish aspect has build a prison wall in the heart of each of these people.

    Now, as I've reference, "the final act" may speak of an affair, but I prefer to think it's more symbolic of the fact that our marriages are the final act of life. It is afterall what most people dreamed of since they were little children.

    I think the "final act" is like the final act of the play
    where the outcome is determined.

    I think that the challenge for this husband and wife is to learn to have mutual understanding and tender sensitivity to the needs of the spouse--which will mean of lot of work. But only these two people can determine how their play ends!

    We lose direction
    No stone unturned
    No tears to damn you
    When jealousy burns

    Again, the challenges of marriage are laid out here- especially when a woman (or man) feels upset at the other.

    They lose a sense of purpose and direction for their marriage and their goals together.
    All the painful, hurtful stones of an experience are overturned and studied.
    And he has no tears to cry over what he is feeling, which he seems to be saying would only somehow add to the reason she finds him guilty (to damn him)- from her jealous perspective.

    So is he saying, but in the scheme of eternity none if this is really a (loosely spoken) sacrifice because it's all worth it how it will all work out in the end, and he can handle the torture and pain, if REAL LOVE is able to survive the sorrow of temporary experience?

    Are the words saying that his willingness to be righteous (and not give into selfish temptation of adultery) is worth it all because TRUE love is worth any sacrifice, and no price is too high for it--even if it seems initially that there is a sacrifice- the benefits of love outweight the sting and sorrow of the moment?

    I have writen my perspective as that of a Christian (Mormon/LDS) and I firmly believe that there is hope through Christ. I believe that we can take our flaws characters and improve them with the help of Christ, and God our Heavenly Father.

    I believe that marriage is ordained of God, and it takes a lot of work and effort to repair troubled marriaged. I believe that even if a spouse is difficult, cold, or hurtful that we can only work to change and improve ourself.

    Barring physical abuse, I personally don't think we should just give up because things are rough in a marriage, but of course, that is between you and God!

    I think we must be vigilant in guarding and protecting our marriage from the temptation of another person.

    In the end I think we can find healing through Christ, even if our marriage isn't the way we dreamed it would be! I think living honorably before God is far more important than any temporary pleasure we could seek out, to make up for a troubled marriage.

    There are resources for marriage problems. These are what come to mind when i say that there are resources to help with a troubled marriage. I feel these can be done simultaneously, or in steps.

    ==

    1. First is looking to God in prayerful direction, daily study of His word, and attending church.

    2. Second is working on fixing ourselves (never our spouse)! We have to be careful in how we manage our time, and we must be careful to avoid addiction with movies, pornography, etc.-which will never help foster a healthy marraige.

    3. Third, there is is counseling and/or doctors to help us us find medications to help possibly moderate physcial/emotional challenges.

    There are many things to do to help a marriage, but those are a start.

    Essentially you need to get back to the point where love began. Where you cared for someone else, as much as you cared about yourself.

    Love means being unselfish with them, and sharing your hopes and dreams...but not all marriages are "emotionally safe" and for those a lot of work remains to be done!

    But, now matter what the circumstances, we must never justify cheating on our spouse, even if they are miserable or difficult to live with.

    We must be loyal at all cost. And no matter what the song says--LOVE REALLY is a SACRIFICE! But it's worth it in the end if we can keep a conscious clean and pure before God, it will not have really have been a sacrifice at all because His love and approval is the sweetest thing possible!
    candlesongon June 21, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSinead O'connor did a beautiful rendition to this song on a tribute cd to Elton. I think the CD is called Two Rooms.
    Jld56on October 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'I think it may be silly I didn't get it, but what actually is that 'simple word'?

    Possibly the word is itself, sacrifice? Perhaps throwing away everything you own, everything that makes you happy and everything you've searched for and gained isn't even a sacrifice if you do it in an attempt to get something you desire, even if its something you shouldn't rightly have.. thats my thoughts
    _-MaSSiMo-_on May 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLet's start by looking at the name of the Album: Sleeping with the past. This song is about a man who is married, who happens upon his past love/old flame. Now the scent of her lingers (memories fill him). He is tempted to do something about his feelings, but is afraid of stepping outside the boundaries of his marriage and falling for the temptation/sweetness of the forbidden fruit.

    So he has to sacrifice his feelings to do the right thing. Then he explores what could happen if he went ahead -

    This song is quite similar in the emotions it dredges up to "Some old lang syne" by Dan Fogelberg.

    O'Connor's rendition is even more moving, especially the end when she repeats - I gave my heart - I feel she is talking about young love, when one really gives their heart away........

    This is what I think as I'm going through something similar myself.

    I'm single, but she is married now.
    just_some_guyon December 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have this possible explanation which concurs with some below. This song entails an actual married couple. Some unexplained difficulty which he encounters - perhaps usual problems in marriage - made him recall a past but still vivid love that in its moment touched him by hurting quite much, enough to make him hitherto cold and not easily to crack. Then he thinks of himself - he tries to convince himself - to be sufficiently strong to avoid temptation, enough to pass her by without being actually attracted to her (whether if this attraction is provoked by her or not); actually, he attributes this current coldness to her, it was her who made him cold somehow; therefore he thinks that avoiding her does not really entail a sacrifice, in fact, he thinks, how could it be a sacrifice to avoid her if in general terms both of them are not related to anything (here again, he tries to convince himself that she no longer remains in him as a strong feeling). However - and this is the human sign- despite the strong he tries to think of himself, despite the cold he pretends to be, the truth is that her presence is still strong, and suddenly it is too strong to keep it hide in front of his wife. Then, wife and husband face struggle because she discovers ("after the fact" entails a meaning of discovery) that he has striven to keep this foreign feeling unclosed: she discovers that he is in fact a prisoner of this prior but remaining love (this is the final act, the crude reality his condition of being still trapped of this prior love). After this recognition, no longer unclosed - no stone unturned - relationship in in trouble, and, it does not matter how many tears he bursts, she will not be moved, because the jealousy she feels now is just too strong to easily vanish. And there is nothing she or he could have done to avoid it. this reveals the humanity of the sign of being defeated by prior but not buried loves.
    VICHINon April 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCorrection to lyrics and interpretation by Diverbuoy:



    It's a human sign
    When things go wrong
    When the scent of her lingers
    And temptation's strong

    Into the boundary
    Of each married man
    Sweet deceit comes calling
    And negativity lands

    Cold cold heart
    HARDENED by you
    Some things look(ing) better baby
    Just passing through


    And it's no sacrifice
    Just a simple word
    It's two hearts living
    In two separate worlds


    But it's no sacrifice
    No sacrifice
    It's no sacrifice at all


    Mutual misunderstanding
    After the fact
    Sensitivity builds a prison
    In the final act


    We lose direction
    No stone unturned
    No tears to damn you
    When jealousy burns
    diverbuoyon June 12, 2008   Link

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