Sitting on a park bench
Eying little girls
With bad intent.
Snot running down his nose
Greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Drying in the cold sun
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Feeling like a dead duck
Spitting out pieces of his broken luck.

Sun streaking cold
An old man wandering lonely.
Taking time
The only way he knows.
Leg hurting bad,
As he bends to pick a dog end
Goes down to a bog to
Warm his feet.

Feeling alone
The army's up the rode
Salvation a la mode and
A cup of tea.
Aqualung my friend
Don't start away uneasy
You poor old sod
You see it's only me.

Do you still remember
December's foggy freeze
When the ice that
Clings on to your beard is
Screaming agony.
And you snatch your rattling last breaths
With deep-sea diver sounds,
And the flowers bloom like
Madness in the spring.

Lyrics submitted by KidArt

"Aqualung" as written by Ian Anderson


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Aqualung song meanings
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  • +4
    My Interpretation:In my opinion, he first and last verses are the harsh, loud view of the casual passerby or society. Note the very different volume and style used to play verses 1 and 4, as opposed to the intimate, acoustic sound of 2 and 3. Only verses 2 and 3 tell the truth. It is the unsympathetic among us that assume he is a pervert (eying little girls with bad intent, watching as the frilly panties run), simply by his presence in a public park where kids play. If we assume he is a child molester, we don't have to feel sorry for not helping him. But in verses 2 and 3, we understand the truth- he is just an old man wandering lonely, sick, in pain, and about to die. Since the singer calls him "my friend" and is sympathetic in verses 2 and 3, it is clear that the songwriter does not view him as a pervert or child molester. Once you get up close to the homeless man, you realize his humanity. I have read that Ian Anderson's wife was taking pictures of the homeless at the time she inspired the song. Her subjects might start away uneasy, but it's doubtful she would feel sympathetic if somehow she truly knew her subject was a molester. This is a song about the unfortunate and misunderstood, it does not celebrate a real molester. Ironic, because without the shock value of the child molester "eying little girls with bad intent," this song would never have been so popular. This is absolutely one of the best rock and roll songs of all time, even though it has been misunderstood forever. Jethro Tull was my first rock concert back in 1973. Thanks, Ian Anderson.
    pieguy3on January 17, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:This song is a prelude to the concept album Aqualung. Being the first song, we are shown a man named Aqualung. He has been alienated from society, and people think he is a dirty old man, but the following lyrics cast him in a different kind of light. What the album Aqualung is about is how organized religion, specifically the "bloody Church of England" as Ian put it, reflects on our society and alienates people that society doesn't want, thus making those in religious power their own gods. The album is a very pro-god anti-religous establishment album. Men create this all powerful god in their image and give him what they deem to be his powers, and then twist it around all the time. Since organized religion creates god, the can twist it every which way. The lyrics on the album are preluded by this message

    1 In the beginning Man created God;
    and in the image of Man
    created he him.

    2 And Man gave unto God a multitude of
    names,that he might be Lord of all
    the earth when it was suited to Man

    3 And on the seven millionth
    day Man rested and did lean
    heavily on his God and saw that
    it was good.

    4 And Man formed Aqualung of
    the dust of the ground, and a
    host of others likened unto his kind.

    5 And these lesser men were cast into the
    void; And some were burned, and some were
    put apart from their kind.

    6 And Man became the God that he had
    created and with his miracles did
    rule over all the earth.

    7 But as all these things
    came to pass, the Spirit that did
    cause man to create his God
    lived on within all men: even
    within Aqualung.

    8 And man saw it not.

    9 But for Christ's sake he'd
    better start looking.
    BrainDamageon August 24, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:I've been thinking about the second line "eyeing little girls with bad intent." Maybe it's not Aqualung with the bad intent, but the girls. I got the idea from looking at the lyrics in the next song on the track "Cross-Eyed Mary:" "Laughing in the playground-gets no kicks from little boys; would rather make it with a letching grey; Or maybe her gaze is drawn by Aqualung; who watches through the railings as they play." It would definitly fit the image of Mother Mary (the Church) taking advantage of the downtrodden in society (Aqualung) while he watches it happening.
    SuperusSophiaon November 22, 2004   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation:I think the first and last verses of this song refer to how society generally views this old homeless guy, but the middle part takes a softer approach.
    bearhugon July 28, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:No it's not specifically about a peadophile, I think it's about the stereotypic image a lot of people have of tramps/bums. A lot of them do aye pretty girls as they go past. It's only human nature really, they have hormones like the rest of us, and not much to do but watch people going by, drink cheap booze, search for dog-ends etc. Stuck in a rut.
    orangebeakeron August 07, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I think all this mention of 'Lower class' is absurd. Many of the down and outs of all society were once civilised normal middle class people who for many reasons have broken down and given up, unable to function in normal society.

    And beware - it can happen to any of us.
    Mojo Workingon September 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This song is about a bum who dies.

    Feeling alone - the army's up the road
    salvation à la mode, and a cup of tea.

    This part refers to the Salvation Army handing out free food to people, like the bum in this song.

    And you snatch your rattling last breaths with deep-sea-diver sounds,
    and the flowers bloom like madness in the spring.

    This refers to the bum dying. The flowers bloom like madness in the spring refers to life going on as if nothing happened after the bums death.

    A great song. The best song I've ever heard about a bum:)
    timmybighandson May 21, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Yes, a song about an indigent soul has made a rock legend. In fact the singer(who's FIRST wife who wrote the song) felt he had to instill even more meaning to it's simple theme of "a bum who dies" by portraying himself, Ian Anderson as the bum on stage or video. On stage he'd say things like "you poor ol sod you see it's only, a me......" A powerful image of the poor destitute homeless man woven throughout many of the bands commercial offerings. But you see, his FIRST wife made the song work to the teenage adolescent types with "snot is running down his nose, greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes...." At that time, snot was as bad as Slip Knot today. ga
    ganthony1on May 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Haha, I love that people think Jethro Tull is the dude. I used to think that, too. Well, I have to agree with BrainDamage, because if you actually buy the album it explains the entire theme. Having Aqualung as the main character reminds me of Pink from Pink Floyd's the Wall. Concept albums are great!
    the_?on March 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Musically? I have a list of the greatest guitar solo, I think from Rolling Stone, and you'll find Martin Barres solo from Aqualung in at number 25.
    Skydogon October 21, 2005   Link

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