"She Sells Sanctuary" as written by Ian Robert Astbury and William Henry Duffy....
Oh, the heads that turn
Make my back burn
And that heads that turn
Make my back, make my back burn

The sparkle in your eyes
Keeps me alive
And the sparkle in your eyes
Keeps me alive, keeps me alive

The world
And the world turns around
The world and the world yeah
The world drags me down

Oh, the heads that turn
Make my back burn
And that's heads that turn
Make my back, make my back burn, yeah
Hey yeah hey, yeah hey

The fire in your eyes keeps me alive
And the fire in your eyes keeps me alive
Inside her you'll find sanctuary
Inside her you'll find sanctuary

And the world the world turns around
And the world and the world the world drags me down
And the world and the world the world turns around
And the world and the world and the world and the world
And the world drags me down

Ah, hey yeah, hey yeah
And the world and the world turns around
And the world and the world
Yeah, the world drags me down
And the world
Yeah, the world turns around
And the world and the world the world drags me down

Hey yeah, hey yeah
Sanctuary, hey
Sanctuary, hey


Lyrics submitted by numb, edited by FunshineBear, friva, sokorny

"She Sells Sanctuary" as written by William Henry Duffy Ian Robert Astbury

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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She Sells Sanctuary song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentIf you ask me, it is about a guy at a farmer's market who is trying to sell his chickens that he raised from little chicks and is having separation anxiety.... The makes your back burn part is obviously talking about his sunburn from when he was feeding the chickens.
    tobyiniton February 23, 2010   Link
  • +3
    Lyric CorrectionThe funny thing is you're all discussing what these lyrics mean, but they aren't even correct.

    It's not "The Texas Sun" it is "The heads that turn:!
    GreenAsJadeon November 05, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti reckon personally that you're pretty much right but for me the girl is probably a prostitute or hooker. purely because the title is 'She Sells Sanctuary' which i interpreted as selling sex which is in turn a sanctuary for him?
    geordie211on March 13, 2007   Link
  • +2
    MemoryThis song takes me back to college. I remember listening to this song/album on my Walkman while training for the long distance track team. Songs like this kept me alive, gave me the motivation and spark I needed to keep going when it would have been so much easier to just give in and quit!
    paislei27on March 21, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat if it's from the perspective of a gay guy who is talking to his ex-lover who has left him for a woman--the heads that turn are people staring at a gay couple. He's still in love with the guy who left him and is sort of dismissing his new hetero relationship with the "I'm sure in her you'll find sanctuary" line. Otherwise, who's the "you" in the song?
    MikeBCon April 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the prostitute meaning, but from a different perspective.

    I thought that it was about an on-looker looking at this guy walking down the street with a prostitute. The on-looker really likes this girl and everyone knows it, but he can't have her for some unknown reason, possible embarrassment? That's why it gets him mad, but looking at her eyes keeps him alive and hoping for her/maybe she likes him as well? Finally he gives up hope at getting her because he simply can't handle the embarrassment or shame from friends/family/the world/tabloids. He then realizes he really messed up a great thing, but wishes the other guy luck. "I'm sure in her you'll find the sanctuary."
    JuicyMelonon June 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAt the time, I was sure this song was about a booty call.

    I remember me slipping into her house and we were the only two people who knew where we were all night. For reference, we both had unbelievably stressful jobs and it was common for me to get calls about work in the middle of the night. (No cellphones yet)

    Her home and bed were a Sanctuary.

    But now, decades later, I just like the song. lol
    thecrossboneon July 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song always takes me back to college days. Late at night/early morning Bourbon Whiskey opening the windows to the mind.........deep longing/melancholy still at times looking for that Sanctuary........................................................
    johnt555g1on November 02, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought this song was about love you can't have for some reason. Wanting a person that is unattainable for whatever reason. They can sell you a few hours of their time (possibly like a sex worker), but you can never 'be' with them as bad as you want them.
    jedzeeon March 10, 2014   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning“She Sells Sanctuary” was probably referring to the power of finding solitude in a woman’s arms and the matriarchal energy, whether it be an actual physical person or in a spiritual sense, the greatest matriarch, and thinking of the cosmos as a female energy rather than a male energy. These are archetypal things I was picking up from discovering things like Joseph Campbell and Buffy Sainte-Marie or even Jim Morrison. All these things were flying around, and the songs “Spiritwalker” and “She Sells Sanctuary” are quite similar, in a way. In fact, “Spiritwalker” was going to be a Southern Death Cult song, but they didn’t want to do it for whatever reason, so I said, “Fine, I’m leaving, and I’m taking my songs with me.” [Laughs.] That ended up being recorded by The Cult, and it really helped to define our sound.
    susieq88on June 15, 2014   Link

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