"The Knife" as written by Peter Gabriel, Anthony Banks, Anthony Edwin Phillips and Michael Rutherford....
Tell me my life is about to begin
Tell me that I am a hero,
Promise me all of your violent dreams
Light up your body with anger.
Now, in this ugly world
It is time to destroy all this evil.
Now, when I give the word
Get ready to fight for your freedom
Now

Stand up and fight, for you know we are right
We must strike at the lies
That have spread like disease through our minds.
Soon we'll have power, every soldier will rest
And we'll spread out our kindness
To all who our love now deserve.
Some of you are going to die -
Martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide.

I'll give you the names of those you must kill,
All must die with their children.
Carry their heads to the palace of old,
Hang them high, let the blood flow.
Now, in this ugly world
Break all the chains around us,
Now, the crusade has begun
Give us a land fit for heroes,
Now

Stand up and fight, for you know we are right
We must strike at the lies
That have spread like disease through our minds.
Soon we'll have power, every soldier will rest
And we'll spread out our kindness
To all who our love now deserve.
Some of you are going to die -
Martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide.

We are only wanting freedom
We are only wanting freedom
We are only wanting freedom
We are only wanting freedom ("Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom...")
We are only wanting freedom ("Things are getting out of control here today")
We are only wanting freedom ("OK men - fire over their heads!")
We are only wanting freedom

We have won


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"The Knife" as written by Peter Brian Gabriel Mike Rutherford

Lyrics © CARLIN AMERICA INC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Knife song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentPeter Gabriel said in an 80s interview, looking back, that this was "a great showstopper", and their early shows often finished with it. But it's also easy to hear this as a kind of statement against the cult of all kinds of avantgarde terror groups (the Baader-Meinhof group, the Weathermen etc) and guerillas which flourished around 1970. I think the group knew this on some level.
    tinderboxon July 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's unusual to hear a song from the perspective of a militant leader, though very characteristic of Gabriel to handle such a persona. He's taken on the role of a home invader (Intruder), an assassin (Family Snapshot), a burgermeister (Moribund...), a diluted boy (Rael from The Lamb...), a native chief (San Jacinto), etc. Going back to The Knife, this is a song most bands today wouldn't have the guts, talent, or brains to pull off. The song is brilliant.
    kingspredon September 25, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song sounds millitant for sure but I took this in a less literal maybe more modern form where "the knife" that strikes out against the lies that spread like disease through our minds is a war waged not only in violence but in words. The current battleground of righteous ideologies is also battled virtually, in the media, in academia, in the senate which would be ideal if they didn't persist to be realized outside the mind in anger and vanity.
    draven66on April 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAm i the only one who thinks this song might be connected to the letter written by Marie Antoinette before her execution? I think it's about the French during that time, 18th century, who thought they were doing all of these violent and horrible things for the freedom of the state.

    But still this is a great Genesis song. It's one of their heavier songs and it's still beautiful. This just goes to show you that Genesis can write anything.
    Rhayaderon January 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentImagine what this song would sound like if the studio version was recorder with Phil Collins was the drummer. No disrespect to John Mayhem, but he's no Phil Collins. And we can all agree that Tony's Hammond L-122 organ drives this song. To me the best Genesis linup was after Trespass, with Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford,Collins, and Hackett
    Flamingozillaon February 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentListen to the killer guitar solo on the "Genesis Live" album. Can see how powerful this track was on their early tours. Good comments from Tinderbox about terrorist groups - but musically - wow!!
    nagromnaion August 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is awesome in every sense of the word. Gabriel's voice, the atmosphere and the lyrics are brilliant, I agree with Tinderbox that this is certainly about a militant group, the song seems written from the perspective of leader of such a group who fills impressionable followers minds with heroic promises. His crusade seems to be the only thing he has to live for 'tell me my life is about to begin', which is the same reason others follow him because they also have nothing to lose.

    I love how Gabriel's voice seems distorted almost like in a radio in the lines "Martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide". It seems like after the line 'WE HAVE WON', the militant leader from whom the song is written from is the now the figure he was rebelling against, repeating the line almost from like a public annoucement system as propaganda, "Martyrs of course...".

    Powerful, Brilliant.
    Otto.Mon July 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentabsolutely agree with you all. i just followed the lyrics while listening to the song and it's so weird after all how they came up to match the words with the melody, especially the "soon we'll have power.." part. it's such a miracle case this song.
    carrotkinson May 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me it's about war, and this is probably my favorite from 'Trespass'. Love the guita riffs in this too.

    It's also kinda creative how the cover of 'Trespass' has a line in the picture with a knife on the back of the album, and has a song named "The Knife". I find this kinda cool and creative.
    Ummagumma69on June 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis definitely reminds me of Marillion's Forgotten Sons - and as we all know Marillion's main influence, I doubt that it's a coincidence.
    Ookoookon March 28, 2009   Link

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