"Say It's Alright Joe" as written by and Michael Rutherford....
Say it's alright Joe
I need another drink
To blow on the glass
So I know I'm alive

Play me a song Joe
To fill the hours till morning
Then never again will I bother you
Ooh, build myself a tower

No way in, no way out
Then my friends can visit me
Once in a while

Say it's alright Joe
I need some reassurance
You never know what
You might find in the night

Ooh, I'm just a busy bee
Still alive in my hive
I'm looking for some other world
To dream out my dreams

There were kings who were laughing in the rain
And they told me I'd come here to lead the parade
And the colors were changing, the sky was in ruins
The lights were all shining on me and on you
Oh, shine on

Say it's alright Joe
The night will soon be over
And nothing and no one
Will ever know

Open my eyes Joe
I'd like to see the daylight
The clock on the wall says
It's time to leave

Never seen the same face twice
Never walked the same way
The little love that I have known
I keep to myself

If there's a fire it's asleep in my bed
I must leave it to burn till it burns itself out
Catch as you can I'm not staying here long
I'll be coming back early or never at all
Shine on


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Say It's Alright Joe" as written by Mike Rutherford (gb)

Lyrics © IMAGEM MUSIC INC

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Say It's Alright Joe song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI have to first say that I always forgot how incredible this song is...I think this really is the most underrated song on one of their most underrated albums. Still, there are a couple sections of this song that have interested me since I listened to this the first time. The two parts where the pace picks up and the music becomes brash and pompous...

    "There were Kings who were laughing in the rain
    And they told me I'd come here to lead the parade
    All the colours were changing, The sky was in ruins
    The lights are all shining on me and on you
    Oh, Shine on........"

    I'd always thought this section, the first introduction of the part in the song, was almost psychedelic in its imagery and the juxtaposition of tone. The slower parts of the song are obvious intimate moments of vulnerability–a troubled man alone in a bar well after everyone else is gone, confiding in the piano player. But this "kings" section is like a hallucination–perhaps it's a brief flash of hope for him, his mind and dreams getting away from him. But to me it really sounds as if it's a reference to drug abuse to get away from problems–preceded by the lines "I'm looking for some other world / to dream out my dreams," and then by imagery like swirling color and "the sky was in ruins."

    The next part like this...

    "If there's a fire it's asleep in my bed
    I must leave it to burn till it burns itself out
    Catch as you can I'm not staying here long
    I'll be coming back early or never at all
    Shine on........"

    I think the "fire" that's "asleep in [his] bed" is indicative the troubles he has at home. The next line communicates his understanding that he has to let things even out on their own, so, as he then says, he's not staying long–he's leaving his troubles behind. "I'll be coming back early or never at all"–he's either got to go face his troubles right now, or just leave them forever and start again.

    The first time I listened to this I had no idea it was such a deep and complex song, but now it always sends shivers through me. It's become one of my favorite Genesis songs.
    AdamantVisionon March 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song. He's in a bar feeling sorry for himself.
    jedidivemasteron March 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    MemoryI have loved this band ever since I was 14, {1977}, and part of the enjoyment was getting lost in the lyrics and the scenes they created in my mind. I don't believe there's any band out there now that can still do that. If there is I'd be interested to hear them.
    melizzieon July 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHear Mike Rutherford's "Moonshine" off his solo album "Smallcreep's Day". I see it as related to this, as well as "Twilight Alehouse" (an older song from the Peter Gabriel days) about a clinical depressive who finds an outlet through self-medicating with alcohol.
    vtrc1220on November 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationMy original interpretation was much the same as Adamantvision's, below, though it's definitely open to interpretation. The 'troubled man' isn't necessarily a man, nor is he/she necessarily in a bar. It could be someone close to death, perhaps in hospital (clock on the wall says it's time to leave). It's a lyrically very interesting, deep song with no clear meaning but plenty of atmosphere and feelings.

    In answer to Melizzie's comment, try lyrics written by Neil Finn (Crowded House) for deep, meaningful and open to interpretation in a way that adds a lot of interest to his songs.
    Mdonne45on March 06, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I kind of agree with Adamant vision, but not sure theres anything really drug/hallucinatory in this. Definately a troubled soul plus alcohol, with vast thoughts and maybe nightmares. Its either in a bar or at a friends place, where he is pouring out his troubles...maybe one more time too many and he knows this, hence 'Never again will I bother you'. Not suicidal, he wants to hide away in hope of calming his mind, with little contact with friends....Build a tower, Busy bee...existing through bad dreams.
    There is the struggle and hope theme running through this album
    Not sure if Collins and his wife of then, were breaking up at this point or a little after, but Rutherford wrote this and it could be an imaginative take of his observations of his bandmate??? Perhaps he and Collins had confided and agreed the writing of this?
    Duke album 2 years later, was widely believed to be all about Collins marriage break up, so it sort of fits the timeline of my thoughts around this.
    Musically a brilliant song, absolutely love the chorus cutting in with his nightmares of being pushed in the deep end. Banks gave many songs real atmospherics with his magic fingers, tops for me was the airy synth sound in the verse section of Blood on the rooftops....just amazing with headphones...like your'e up floating with the stars!
    stephen4y7on December 23, 2015   Link

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