"Barbarism Begins at Home" as written by Johnny Marr and Steven Patrick Morrissey....
Unruly boys
Who will not grow up
Must be taken in hand
Unruly girls
Who will not settle down
They must be taken in hand

A crack on the head
Is what you get for not asking
And a crack on the head
Is what you get for asking

Unruly boys
Who will not grow up
Must be taken in hand
Unruly girls
Who will not settle down
They must be taken in hand

A crack on the head
Is what you get for not asking
And a crack on the head
Is what you get for asking

No...a crack on the head
Is what you get for not asking
And a crack on the head
Is what you get for asking

A crack on the head
Is just what you get
Why? Because of who you are!
And a crack on the head
Is just what you get
Why? Because of what you are!
A crack on the head
Because of :
Those things you said
Things you said
The things you did

Unruly boys
Who will not grow
Must be taken in hand
Unruly girls
Who will not grow
They must be taken in hand
Ah...oh, no...oh, no
Ah...oh, no...oh, no
No...no, no, no
No...no, no


Lyrics submitted by Idan, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Barbarism Begins at Home" as written by Johnny Marr Steven Morrissey

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Barbarism Begins at Home song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentThe meaning of the song is similar to that of "The Headmaster ritual". You may well have picked up on the fact that Morrissey is quite an individual, and depending on your experiences in school you may have discovered that some teachers really don't like those kind of students (but some love them, so no offence to teachers in general). There's an interview where Morrissey says he nearly got expelled for saying the dictionary was his favourite book.

    The song is from the perspective of conservative authority. The unruly boys and girls who decide to do things their own way must be suppressed, it claims. Morrissey obviously had a few problems with that.
    The second paragraph is probably Morrissey expressing a feeling that I certainly felt when I was in school - that sometimes teachers decide to punish you (because they don't like you) and then search for the excuse. So if a disliked student asks for help then they get told off for being stupid, if they they don't then they get told off for doing the work wrong. If a student is being falsely accused of something then he can keep silent and be punished for something he didn't do, or make his case and be punished for "answering back", and so on.

    Basically it's Morrissey complaining about horrible teachers who had no respect for his individual character.
    Goodjohnon October 25, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthe brutality and violence of older people depends on their experiences as a child - thats the meaning i get from the title..

    "A crack on the head is what you get for not asking"
    - i think this is about the fact that some people wont have the courage the learn or ask questions.. which in the end is worse off for them, because they dont have a very good knowledge. but.. curiousity killed the cat..
    clarapalmeron May 27, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Commentits about child abuse, and how if you ask about something your dad will hit you, yet if you fuck up cause you dont know, he'll hit you for not asking. the bass is amazing.
    deadpiloton August 22, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentChild abuse. The young'un gets beaten up by the abusive parent if he talks and he gets beat up by the abusive parent if he keeps quiet, so either way, the kid is royally sworded. he can't win for losing
    CuteSparkinaon November 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis has got to be the most funky smiths tune.
    Kaguthon September 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentvery funky indeed I love the fact that even Johnny Marr danced to this one onstage!!
    tallulaton January 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah. Marr was in a funk band before the smiths formed and this is the only smiths tune that he allowed himself to bring the FUNK in. I'm dissapointed that these lyrics don't include the "A crack on the head is just what you get for any part of who you are" . That's the best part.
    Kaguthon February 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA crack on the head
    is what you get for not asking
    and a crack on the head
    is what you get for asking

    i think morrissey is implying that the person dealing out the crack on the head is not hitting to punish the child but rather just because they like hitting.
    Boss Manon July 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correction(the first part x2)

    A crack on the head
    is just what you get.
    Why, because of who you are.
    And a crack on the head
    is just what you get.
    Why, because of what you are.

    A crack on the head
    because of
    those things you said,
    things you said,
    the things you did.

    (the first part again, then "no no no no"...)
    Foobaron June 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentkinda like the movie:
    "an angel at my table"
    (about gene frame)
    z0MbiEon September 23, 2004   Link

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