We starve-look
At one another
Short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes

Inside something there is a rush of
Who knows what stands in front of
Our lives
I fashion my future on films in space
Tells me secretly

Manchester England England
Manchester England England
Eyes look your last
Across the Atlantic Sea
Arms take your last
And I'm a genius genius
And lips oh you the
doors of breath
I believe in God
Seal with a righteous kiss
And I believe that God believes in Claude
Seal with a righteous kiss
That's me, that's me, that's me
The rest is silence
The rest is silence
The rest is silence

Our space songs on a spider web sitar
Life is around you and in you
Answer for Timothy Leary, dearie

Let the sunshine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine
Let the sunshine in
The sunshine in
Let the sunshine
Let the sunshine in
The sun shine in...

Lyrics submitted by fallacies

The Flesh Failures / Let The Sun Shine In song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI'll break it down verse by verse - keep in mind some of these verses have several meanings.

    The first refers to people looking at each other desperately for answers that are not coming from the government. We stand proudly together in this horrible situation (the reference to winter is a reference to death usually in Shakespeare).

    The reference to wearing smells from laboratories is very obscure but I suspect is a consumerist reference specifically referring to forms of colognes or other chemicals we use that would give us that smell of things constructed in laboratories - basically we are all trapped in the consumerist American culture built on things that are artificial like the chemicals we douse ourselves in every day.

    Facing a dying nation of moving paper fantasy listening for the new told lies refers to the lies the government told the American people refers to the thousands sent to die to Vietnam and the lies the government told the American people about them that were told through a paper based bureaucracy.

    With supreme visions of lonely tunes I can only hazard a guess refers to the godliness of man that is often alluded to in Hair and Hamlet, but while we are listening to the government's lies we look for the truth that is found in the beauty of man and in art and song - but the truth is each of us is lonely on this Earth and like Hamlet, we are alone in action and eternally seeking the truth.

    The rest is easier:

    The second verse refers to the beauty of man and the unknown equation that is life - Hamlet says "conscience doth make cowards of us all" (in reference to our inability to take our own lives rather than exist with the pain life brings). Instead of saying though why don't we kill ourselves, this poses people as being gods capable of greatness. I fashion my future on films in space refers not to "Film" like in a camera but is a more cosmic reference to the thin that creates our reality - this is a much more hippieish belief that we have control over our reality.

    Silence tells me everything is a duel reference. It is a reference to learning the truth of the universe in death (this is echoed by the shakespearean reference to "the rest is silence" which refers to death). It is also probably (but not for certain) a reference to the truth learned in the silence that is found in meditation where one experiences the true self - this is a belief that is found in Eastern philosophies and is substantiated by the evidence of other similar philosophies sprinkled through the play (the Hare Krishna song, references to astral projection, etc.).

    The reference with Claud making references to Romeo & Juliet & Hamlet ties him to the meaning of those plays more but more embraces the finality of his death as he embraces what he was in life but also that his stint on this world has ended.

    The verse about singing our space songs on a spider web sitar is a reference to how all of the play prior has been a natural part of the cosmic existence as is Claud's death.

    The reference to Timothy Leary doesn't fit quite as well but I submit that it has to do with whether Claud's use of drugs in life (and probably referring to his "trip" in the second half of the show) were real spiritual experiences that expanded his consciousness into the future, or were the hallucinations and drugs just that - I think it's saying that these drugs were positive and did let Claud expand his mind and spirit into the future.

    The final bit is a plea based on the concept of Flower Children and also eastern philosophies where light equals truth and life (Love & Light is a frequent wish people who believe this wish each other). They say it 3 different ways reinforcing the importance of letting the truth into our lives, seeking it from the government, and a wish for peace in the world - that if we could all just let the sun shine into our lives, we would not fight, and we would not have to die like Claud did - so bring that message home with you.
    takdunon September 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThe finale, "The Flesh Failures" summarizes the themes of the show, particularly the insanity of war and our consumerist culture, obsessed with comfort as people are being murdered in southeast Asia. We pass each other on the street, bundled up in our designer clothes, created and purchased specifically to display our level of wealth and success, too busy to stop and connect to each other, too busy to help the homeless lying on the street, too preoccupied with our superficial lives, our appointments, our scramble to accumulate possessions (a theme Hair�s descendent Rent would return to). The song tells us that somewhere inside, buried beneath all this, hidden deep down, there is greatness in the human race, that we have such potential, but that we have failed. We have failed by succumbing to comfort, to the demands of the flesh, instead of aiming for something higher. Claude comes forward, now dead, killed in Vietnam, invisible to the tribe � just as returning Vietnam vets were "invisible" in American culture � and as he reprises his theme song, "Manchester England," the tribe sings in counterpoint "Eyes Look Your Last," a musical setting of a speech from Romeo and Juliet. The words are Romeo�s, after he finds Juliet�s (apparently) dead body, and just before he takes his own life. The last line of this section, "the rest is silence," is Hamlet�s last line before dying at the end of Hamlet. We are killing ourselves, the tribe is telling us. After another verse of "The Flesh Failures" the show finishes with "Let the Sun Shine In."

    But "Let the Sun Shine In" is not the happy song most people think it is. It�s a call to action. The tribe is begging us, the audience, to change things, to stop the killing, the hatred, the discrimination, the destruction of our world. They are saying that we are in a time of darkness (as described in detail by "The Flesh Failures," "Easy to Be Hard," and other songs), that it is now time to let the sun shine in and change things. It�s significant that the lyric doesn't say that the sun is already shining and everything is going to be fine. It says we have to take action, we have to let the sun shine on the darkness around us, and the implication is unmistakable � if we dont, it will be the end of us.
    From: orlok.com/hair/holding/articles/HairArticles/…
    auburninon June 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's good to inaugurate the comments about this song. I like it very much, and I can't believe nobody has posted anything about it.
    Well, I'd like to call everybody's attention to the bassline. Very interesting!
    ilanon January 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this is the best song of Hair. It is the climax of the entire soundtrack. After hearing it, it gives you a sort of afterglow. There is so much meaning to this song that it is impossible to type all of it in this space. But here are a few: Timothy Leary promoted LSD usage during that time period dealing with the whole "expand your mind" feeling. Moving paper fantasy and listening to new told lies is about the government lying about the situation in Vietnam in the news media. I fashion my futute in films in space is about being watched by satellities in space.
    If anyone knows about the meanings in the other lines please contribute to the comments. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
    whately47on June 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGuess its a precursor to Teen-Spirit with the reference to smelss from laboratories. Right?
    quilceneon August 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is soo kick ass. I have listened to it so many times and it still floors me every time! All of the shakespeare refrences specifically to Romeo and Juliet, Romeo's dying speech. And "The Rest is Silence" is from Hamlet. The refrences to Hamlet can be found threaded through the entire show most blatently in "What a Piece of Work is Man". These refrences really help to deepen the questions possed by the show and hit the point home :-)
    Windgirlon January 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI adore this scene.

    I understand the song really well, except the last part;
    Singing our space songs on a spider web sitar
    Life is around you and in you
    Answer for Timothy Leary, dearie

    I think that "Singing our space songs on a spider web sitar" means like singing about the future, past or something along those lines.

    And then "Life is are you and in you, Answer for Timothy Leary, dearie" refers to how Timothy, I guess, promoted LSD and living you life.

    ^^ by the way, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong, but whatever.
    viaissaneon April 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI am so pleased to see these engaging and insightful interpretations of this song. I recently reunited myself with the Hair soundtrack and I am particularly focused on "The Flesh Failures" at the moment.

    Re: the final verse...

    "Singing our space songs on a spider web sitar
    Life is around you and in you
    Answer for Timothy Leary, dearie"

    I suggest that the last line sets up "Let the sunshine in."

    In other words: Answer for Timothy Leary: "Let the sunshine in."

    As this number is the finale, this might be score writer Gerome Ragni's "answer" to Timothy Leary's idea that whether through LSD or other means, we have to escape the oppressive and illusory culture which blinds us to one another. So the author's response to Leary's question about how we go forward is to let the sunshine in, to expand our capacity to love and be loved, to experience the "sunshine" of love and peace and fulfilment. And this verse is in stark contrast to the oppression and falseness and deceit described in the earlier part of the song.

    So, that's my humble crack at it. :)
    IDanielsenon May 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOf moving paper fantasy
    Listening for the new told lies
    The "moving paper fantasy" refers to shadow puppets used in some Asian cultures, emphasizing how little Americans really knew about Vietnamese society and culture- our allies and the communist north were in fact fleeting shadows to us, with reality being something else entirely. The addition of the next line "listening for the new told lies" is poetic and brilliant in that it emphasizes our own media's stream of promising lies from Vietnam during the height of the war- our own shadows production.

    I am always curious about the very emotionally laden line "Facing a dying nation". Since the metaphor immediately moves to the paper fantasies of an oriental puppet theatre, perhaps it refers to Vietnam, though perhaps it refers to our own dying culture (evolving into the age of aquarius),

    Walking proudly in our winter coats
    Wearing smells from laboratories

    These two lines well illustrate the foolishness of sending American soldiers flying off to fight and die in a tropical country 10,000 miles away. "Our winter coats" and "wearing smells from laboratories" emphasize the utter incongruity of flying from our northern country wearing colognes and soapy smells to go fight in a tropical jungle.

    Honestly, I love this moving song more than any other tune from any play or movie. Brilliant, over-poweringly sad...
    rself1on August 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBrainwashed lab rats, but not so much that when the action comes, they don't question all they have been told. Deep inside they know they march to their deaths, but they use all they have been told clutching for that straw.
    Excellently done.
    nexxon July 16, 2016   Link

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