"King Of Birds" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
A thumbnail sketch a jeweler's stone
A mean idea to call my own
Old man don't lay so still you're not yet young
There's time to teach point to point
Point observation children carry reservations
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold leaves me cold.
A mean idea to call my own a hundred million birds fly

Singer sing me a given singer sing me a song
Standing on the shoulders of giants everybody's looking on
(Old man don't lay so still you're not yet young,
There's time to teach, point to point,
Point observation, children carry reservations).
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own,
A hundred million birds fly away, away.

I am king of all I see, my kingdom for a voice
Old man don't lay so still, you're not yet young
There's time to teach, point to point
Point observation, children carry reservations
Standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold
A mean idea to call my own,
A hundred million birds fly away

Everybody hit the ground
Everybody hit the ground


Lyrics submitted by xpankfrisst

"King of Birds" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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King Of Birds song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a guy who is desperate to get an original idea? i get this from the lines 'standing on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold' and 'a mean idea to call my own'
    heythere81201on March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure this and other REM songs aren't supposed to have a point- like, they start withone, and then lose it.

    Or, 81201 above is right, and then the guy snaps and starts shooting people 'everybody hit the ground'...but the music doesn't audibly suggest that
    apettythiefon January 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTalking about someone who thinks that they are so great and then realizes that all his followers have gone, or moved on to the next good thing.
    rockmanon January 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStanding on the shoulders of giants leaves me cold - This to me sounds like "Being put on this pedistal, given this adoration, I don't deserve it.. I don't enjoy it. It leaves me numb.

    As for the rest, i'm not sure. Perhaps it's about being worshipped but not actually listened to "My kingdom for a voice". People blindly follow but don't actually listen
    Kyanon January 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs others have said, this strikes me as a song about the difficulty if not impossibility of finding your own "voice" as an artist, because we're all "standing on the shoulders of giants," which is to say, our perspectives are formed by the fact that we're lifted up by these monuments to the past, these influences of ours, and so what is truly "ours"? I strongly suspect it pays homage to Federico García Lorca's "El Niño Mudo,"

    El niño busca su voz.
    (La tenía el rey de los grillos.)
    En una gota de agua
    buscaba su voz el niño.

    No la quiero para hablar;
    me haré con ella un anillo
    que llevará mi silencio
    en su dedo pequeñito.

    En una gota de agua
    buscaba su voz el niño.

    (La voz cautiva, a lo lejos,
    se ponía un traje de grillo.)



    The child was seeks his voice.
    (The king of the crickets had it.)
    In a droplet of water
    the child sought his voice.

    I do not want it for speaking;
    I will make a ring of it
    so that my silence can wear it
    on its little finger

    In a droplet of water
    the child sought his voice.

    (The captive voice, far away,
    put on a cricket's clothes.)



    What use has a cricket, much less a bird, for a human voice? He already has one of his own. So, this King of Birds, this pigeon sitting mute on the shoulder of a human statue in a park, is frustrated.
    dakinion May 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^yes, finding the voice
    thank you, for your contribution dakini


    also...

    being a top a historical intellect
    makes one small
    and we desire to be important ...

    by relativity we are self centered

    despondency results
    so we bow to teach what is already know
    loosing the self
    Matt Holckon August 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, to me, is obviously about Isaac Newton. While talking about his work, Isaac Newton famously said "Pigmaei gigantum humeris impositi plusquam ipsi gigantes vident" [If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.] By this he meant that his work built upon the work on other, often earlier, scientists. And "everybody hit the ground", I mean come on - Newton is considered the founder of gravity. So you tell me, considering the intellect of the band and their predeliction for such intellectual "easter eggs" in their songs/videos...doesn't that make the most sense? You don't have to agree with my opinion...I'm just sayin'.
    garbo215on December 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Everybody hit the ground"... no matter how high you fly, you'll die :( ambiguous song, there's an optimistic dimension put in there, some people "fly away" to create a "giant"
    Voodemaron January 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwatch pi. yes, this was before pi. same idea.
    dgkfhjlffjfjhlfhjaon May 27, 2013   Link

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