"William, It Was Really Nothing" as written by and Steven Patrick/marr Morrissey....
The rain falls hard on a humdrum town
This town has dragged you down
Oh, the rain falls hard on a humdrum town
This town has dragged you down
Oh, no, and everybody's got to live their life
And God knows I've got to live mine
God knows I've got to live mine
William, William it was really nothing
William, William it was really nothing
It was your life...

How can you stay with a fat girl who'll say:
"Oh! Would you like to marry me?
And if you like you can buy the ring"
She doesn't care about anything
"Would you like to marry me?
And if you like you can buy the ring
I don't dream about anyone - except myself!"
Oh, William, William it was really nothing
William, William


Lyrics submitted by Idan, edited by Mellow_Harsher, correctuse

William, It Was Really Nothing song meanings
Add your thoughts

43 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentHonestly I thought the song was referring to Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of Slaughterhouse-Five. In Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Billy Pilgrim marries a fat girl that he absolutely despises just because she's rich, and he buys a ridiculously expensive diamond ring for her. Billy leads a very sad and empty life, he becomes successful but it brings him no happiness. Every day of his life after he comes home from fighting as a teenager in WWII is just dismal, empty, or "humdrum". I think the dreams referred to in the song are how Billy Pilgrim has delusional fantasies about how he would like his life to be, married to a beautiful movie star and living on a different planet where his life makes sense.
    I have no idea if Morrissey ever read the book or not, I just think the coincidences are cool.
    rachfreckon September 30, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentMorrissey said himself this song was about a man trying to persuade his friend not to waste his life by getting married to someone he doesn't love.
    Aurora2on October 26, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYes, it is almost certainly from Billy Liar. I have't seen the movie or read the book, but I know it's about a young man called Billy - William Fisher - who lives in the dreary Manchester doing a jos he hates, and dreams about going to London and becoming a writer. Sounds very much like young Steven Patrick, doesn't it? And in fact, Billy Liar was an inspiration for two other Smiths songs: London and Frankly, Mr Shankly.In the movie/book, Billy also has a girlfriend, I think, but he meets a free-spirited, strong, modern girl played by Julie Christie. However, he can't find the courage to pursue her, or to pursue his dreams of becoming a writer.

    Whoever said Morrissey thinks that women are after money - I don't think so, Morrissey is a feminist. Just because this girl is described like that, doesn't mean he thinks women are all like that. As for Some Girls..., who says it's a about fat girls? It can mean several different things. ;)

    And no, it's definitely not about Billy McKenzie, and I don't think Morrissey ever had any kind of relationship with him. Morrissey didn't even know Billy McKenzie when he wrote the song, they only met when they were set up on a 'blind date' by some imaginative journalists. It's only when "Steven, It Was Really Something" was written - as a joke / publicity stunt, probably - that the story originated.

    But really, even if we did't know that, don't you all see how ridiculous the story of Billy McKenzie as the subjecy od the song is? Come on, people, it is MORRISSEY!! He never disclosed a name od anyone he was ever in love with, he is extremely private. You honestly believe he would ever write a song to someone he had had a relationship with, and used THEIR NAME in it?!
    nightanddayon December 29, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWhen Morrissey wrote this song, he looked around and noticed that all the songs about not getting married were by females, to females, "don't get married, stay single and free, have fun" etc etc, so he wrote this song in order to reverse the role, a man saying to a man, "don't get married", that in fact marriage was "really nothing".

    "everyone has to live their life, and god knows i've got to live mine, i'm not here to judge you, but why get married? it won't solve anything, yes life has been crap to you, but this isn't the answer, and all you're doing is setting yourself up to be taken advantage of, in the end marriage is really nothing at all"
    Krendoshazinon July 26, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHe doesn't hate women, or even fat women. He mentions them because many gay, and semi-gay men end up with fat girls. I don't know why, but it happens.

    He wants William to make the right choice, not just give in and get married, because it's expected of him. He knows William knows better, but is just following the plan.
    Sean_harringtonon January 15, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis could be about how William is a bi/gay man who Morrissey finds attractive and is jealous to the fat girl William is with. Or it could be an anti-marriage song also. Anyway it seems to me that Morrissey is telling to William to live his life and not to marry the girl unless he really wants it. It could be also that "it WAS really nothing" and "it WAS your life" mean that now William is dead and he never really lived. ...ord maybe the chorus has double meaning: maybe Morrissey (or the narrator of the song, which probably isn't Morrissey) and William had a homosexual act or something like that and now Morrissey is telling to William: "That was nothing, forget that!" But then Morrissey also says: "That was your life", meaning that that was really an important and William should really live his life the way he wants to...
    Kvaak kvaakon February 26, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI was in town when this big fat women decked in gold jewlerry went to her partner; I'll marry you only if you buy me a diamond ring; I lucky had this song playing on my ipod at the same time; I just coudln't stop laughing - fantastic song
    inflamedmaggoton June 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI wrote that before I saw Billy Liar, now that I have seen it, it really is even more obvious. There is indeed a rather plump fiancee in the movie, and an engagement ring plays quite a role in the story.
    nightanddayon May 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHello!
    songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858608183/

    Although, Stephen P Morrisey himself has said its just about marriage from a male point of view. This I have read from wikipedia, so it could be wrong.

    I guess we'll never know... Personally I think its a rumor. The two songs have NOTHING in common, except:

    Associates: "And If I'm goin' down I'll pull you down with me"
    Smiths: "this town has dragged you down"

    ...thats the only similarity, 'sides the titles, that I've seen
    sujen90on April 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThese lyrics are incorrect. The second marriage proposal is not supposed to be in quotations. It is supposed to be:

    How can you stay with a fat girl who'll say:
    "Would you like to marry me
    And if you like you can buy the ring"
    She doesn't care about anything
    Would you like to marry me
    And if you like you can buy the ring
    I don't dream about anyone
    Except myself

    The lyrics in their current form with the incorrect quotation marks changes the meaning of the song completely. The second marriage proposal is actually the marriage proposal of Morrissey (or whoever's POV it is) to William, not the fat girl's repetition of the first proposal.

    It is really astonishing that a site dedicated to interpreting song lyrics could present them incorrectly so often.
    noshowon May 03, 2010   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