"Ammonia Avenue" as written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson....
Is there no sign of light as we stand in the darkness?
Watching the sun arise
Is there no sign of life as we gaze at the waters?
Into the strangers eyes

And who are we to criticize or scorn the things that they do?
For we shall seek and we shall find Ammonia Avenue

If we call for the proof and we question the answers
Only the doubt will grow
Are we blind to the truth or a sign to believe in?
Only the wise will know

And word by word they handed down the light that shines today
And those who came at first to scoff, remained behind to pray
Yes those who came at first to scoff, remained behind to pray

When you can't hear the rhyme and you can't see the reason
Why should the hope remain?
For a man will be tired and his soul will grow weary
Living his life in vain

And who are we to justify the right in all we do?
Until we seek until we find Ammonia Avenue

Through all the doubt somehow they knew
And stone by stone they built it high
Until the sun broke through
A ray of hope, a shining light Ammonia Avenue


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Ammonia Avenue" as written by Eric Woolfson Alan Parsons

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Ammonia Avenue song meanings
Add your thoughts

9 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentOkay... I would like to clarify something in this song....For those of you who don't truely understand. I know Alan personally....he has been a friend of my fathers for over 30 years. The entire album of Ammonia Avenue is about science having an impact on religion yes, but not in the light you are putting it. Alan and I have had a very long conversation about this song in particular and heres the story. Alan is a VERY spiritual man, though not religious. This song is about science bringing to light that nothing is truley solid in base, and that the qualms over religion are merely pointless in the greater picture of things. Its not about the scientific becoming religious and realizing the "error of their ways" once they die....or are near death. It's about those of faith realizing that they have no solid foundation to prove they are right, and to let other belive as they will. Only by accepting others and their belifs can they truely find Ammonia Avenue. Basically the long and short of it.
    Siriktaon August 16, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI feel the most significant parts are the "What gives us the right to criticize..." and "What gives us the right to boast about our good deeds?." This criticism and praise should be saved until Ammonia Avenue (the grave) where God will be the one to judge anyway, not us. I also believe the lines mean that it's all (everything we do in life) irrelevant and we should be caring about more important things. We don't have the infinite insight to proclaim one else evil or us good...and even if we did, we're still going to end up in a box on Ammonia Avenue.

    I think the change of heart shown by the scoffers remaining to pray is meant to back up the reason to not judge until it's all over, because nothing is set in stone until you're dead. I also feel it may be the scoffers praying as they're destroyed for their unbelief which may not really fit into the song but I like thinking about people dying, begging and praying for deliverance, all brought upon themselves. It's the worst spite possible to yourself... Also, it is a plausible explanation, as not all praying is reverent and precautionary, some is reactionary as you're being destroyed, along with "left behind." I really like thinking about people begging for their life.

    I don't think the lyrics depict a conflict between factions (believers, unbelievers) but rather show how in this fantasy song-world believers and unbelievers have handled themselves. taking their paths..and they both end up dead.

    It was obvious to me what Ammonia Avenue was when I heard the song but didn't make the connection from the title only. It looks like at least some people haven't found a connection for "Ammonia Avenue," and right or wrong, I believe it just stands for death/the grave/hell/the end/the thing after the end. I think "Ammonia Avenue" literally represents rows and rows of graves, and the fertilizer inside those sealed boxes, and rows and rows of anything lends itself to pathways within those rows.

    I don't know if the last line "A ray of hope, a shining light Ammonia Avenue" was meant to have any specific meaning but I like to think of it as an abstract hope to all people who have fallen to Ammonia Avenue. Maybe the Second Resurrection.

    I feel this as a morbid song pondering and glorifying death and the peace it brings...and in the meantime to do what truly makes you happy. It sounds like this guy read Ecclesiastes a few too many times before writing this song. In Ecclesiastes the preacher depicted that all human efforts are futile and the life of a wise man, and the life of a foolish man end in the same thing: Ammonia Avenue. Death.

    To summarize, it boils down to good or bad, we all die...so eat drink and be merry while you spend your life force.
    poxypoxyon November 26, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThe body is filled with fluids that are drained through embalming. The embalming chemicals prevent "dropsical water" which contains sithate of ammonia, a slightly alkaline substance that causes putrefaction. "Ammonia Avenue", in my opinion, is the natural state of the body after death—decomposition. While this is the end of all our bodies, the soul is something most believe not tied to the body and continuing to exist after death. Whether you believe that or not, we all shall find out one way or another, so Parson's conclusion is not "eat, drink and be merry" but that there is little sense in conflicts over belief and doubt. Ammonia Avenue will answer this for us.
    InnerArtiston August 19, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a true gem of a song. To me, it is about the conflict of science vs. religion in our everyday lives. "If we call for the proof and we question the answers only the doubt will grow." Ask any grad student and they will tell you this is dead on. Of course, this is the crux of science; to question everything. Religion is just the opposite. Faith, by definition is accepting without questioning. Too often, faith is looked down upon by scientists, and this song adresses the wrongness of that.

    I especially love the significance of the title as it merges the two themes of science and religion. See if you can puzzle that one out on your own. Write me if you want my solution at parikd01@yahoo.com. (The title bugged me for several years, and I felt a great thrill when I figured it out. I want to give others a chance to do it on their own without spoiling it, so I don't want to post it here.)
    dhavalon June 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a very religious song, and one of Parsons' best.

    The first stanza is a reference to how we are lost without a view of God. We're just standing in darkness, waiting for the sun to rise.

    These unreligious people critizice the religious and come to scoff, but in the end, they find Ammonia Avenue (something religious, I'm not sure what) and learn to pray.

    And then it talks about questioning God (call for proof and question the answers), which only leads to doubt. This emphasizes blind faith.

    They handed down the light that shines today refers to people generally being the same religion as their parents. It could also refer to oral tradition.

    However, then we see that blind faith leads to living one's life in vain, which is just as bad as living an unreligious life.

    Then the people, tired of living their lives in vain, build a tower (Tower of Babel, anyone). While the song leaves this open, we can assume that it gets torn down. However, we do not truly know, which allows this song to be seen as both in favor of or against religion.

    Again, a great song. And actually, religion isn't really the opposite of asking questions. Judaism, for sure, and maybe other religions, too, greatly encourage it.
    inpraiseoffollyon May 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song telling the story of how the nonreligious become religious when SCIENCE becomes their new religion. After all, isn't most science based on theory, rather than fact? We hope, we assume, we weigh what can't be seen, but the reality is that we don't really know, do we?

    Humans have shown that they need answers to the questions they have - why wouldn't science and atheism taken to extremes not be their own belief system?
    ctlizyrdon September 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti understand this is a hymn for agnostics....ammonia ave ..after we die our bodies eventually turn in to ammonia
    johnnyobreadisleaon May 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIs it just me, or does the solo in this song inspire others too. i cant stop listening to this song and it never gets old :)
    Gleebaon April 15, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've read some interesting opinions on this song. And whether Alan Parsons is quite spiritual or not there is no wonder,we are all spiritual beings, but Faith is only given to some as a gift, and as the Bible says, the rest can't agree among themselves.



    25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,

    26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:

    27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.



    Acts 28:25-27 -- King James Version (KJV)
    Orabidooon January 27, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain