"Great King Rat" as written by and Freddie / Mercury....
Great King Rat died today
Born on the twenty first of May
Died syphilis forty four on his birthday
Every second word he swore
Yes he was the son of a whore
Always wanted by the law

Wouldn't you like to know ?
Wouldn't you like to know people ?
Great King Rat was a dirty old man
And a dirty old man was he
Now what did I tell you
Would you like to see ?

Now hear this
Where will I be tomorrow ?
Will I beg ?, Will I borrow ?
I don't care, I don't care anyway
Come on, come on the time is right
The man is evil and that is right
I told you ah yes I told you
And that's no lie, oh no no

Wouldn't you like to know ?
Wouldn't you like to know ?
Wouldn't you like to know ?
Great King Rat was a dirty old man
And a dirty old man was he
Now what did I tell you
Would you like to see ?
Show me

Oooh oooh oooh oooh
Wouldn't you like to know ?
Wouldn't you like to know people people ?
Great King Rat was a dirty old man
And a dirty old man was he
Now what did I tell you
Would you like to see ?

Hit it

Now listen all you people
Put out the good and keep the bad
Don't believe all you read in the Bible
You sinners get in line
Saints you leave far behind
Very soon you're gonna be his disciple

Don't listen to what mama says
Not a word - not a word mama says
Or else you'll find yourself being the rival
Sure, the great lord before he died
Knelt sinners by his side
And said you're going to realise tomorrow, oh woh oh woh oh woh

No I'm not going to tell you
What you already know
'Cause time and time again
The old man said it all a long time ago
Come on come on the time is right
This evil man will fight
I told you once before

Hear it

Wouldn't you like to know ?
Wouldn't you like to know ?
Just like I said before
Great King Rat was a dirty old man
And a dirty old man was he
The last time I tell you
Would you like to see ?

Lyrics submitted by DB0ne

"Great King Rat" as written by Freddie Mercury

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Great King Rat song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentPippin the Mercury...when Freddie says, "don't believe everything you read in the Bible", no truer words have ever been written about the Bible...why? Because it was written by men and men are not perfect. God's "words" can be found inside everyone, if you look hard enough, not just words in a book.

    If you are a Bible reader("offended christian"), do you not remember when God told Moses not to use cutting tools on the altar for God? Why? Because it was to be known as "God's Alter" and anything known as God's cannot be touched by man's tools...that includes writing tools. People who LIE and title the Bible "God's Word" are insulting God's perfection.

    The reason preachers and religious leaders brainwash their followers to believe God's word is whatever particular version of canon(insert any religion's handbook) is so their rules aren't questioned...it's a control tactic that's been used dating back to the era of the first recorded language. Look it up.

    Freddie obviously believes there is a God at this point in his life, but is unsure what to believe. Fortunately, he knows enough not to believe EVERYTHING he reads...you live, you learn...research helps.


    "Don't listen to what mama says" is probably because "moma" is still clinging to what her pastor tells her...like a good little sheep...

    Truth hurts,"in the beginning"(Genesis 1:1), until you can "put away childish things"(1 Corinthians 13:11)...like old "Jewish myths"(Titus 1:14)...unless you ENJOY being made a spectacle of(1 Corinthians 4:9).

    That's what Freddie meant when he wrote "Or else you'll find yourself, bein' a rival".
    spicyfloon July 17, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is epic, didn't really like it at first until I listened to it over and over. Genius lyrics, really makes you think about yourself. Talk about a message in the music. Strange that Freddie did die around 44 from a similar fate. Looking back too many of his songs lyrics were so prophetic to be coincidental. Absolutely love Queen, their intellect matched their talent, no other group like them.
    Queenforever13on April 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe seduction of the soul by an unashamedly evil man, perhaps the devil himself. The usual tools of evil are employed, calling out religion (don't believe all you read in the bible) and authority figures (don't listen to what mama said) as liars and offering the 'truth' (wouldn't you like to know). It finishes off with the flatterous proclamation that you has the power to see the truth, or at least the truth on offer (I'm not going to tell you what you already know).

    It's about the seduction of the spirit, the glamor of evil and the choices we make in our lives as to which path to tread.
    Jimvinon December 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that Great King Rat is a metephor for the people who live terrible, dirty lives and end up dying as they lived. The lines in the middle that seem anti-religion (which would ordinarily offend me as a Christian) don't strike me as really meaning it. I think it's just somebody like Great King Rat telling somebody to do the things he did, except they're just there as a warning not to do them. (You get what I mean, kind of?)

    But after all, let us remember that this is indeed a Queen song, and an early Queen song at that. Queen was never really into lyrics with very specific meanings. (I mean, look at all the confusion Bohemian Rhapsody has caused!) So if it's a Queen song, I don't think we ought to analyze it TOO much.
    Pippin the Mercuryon June 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthas anyone else attempted to search google for somebody that died on their 44th bday of syphilis?
    smcoscion February 12, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great piece of heavy royal rock and one of my Queen favourites. I wrote one line from the lyrics in fat black letters onto my bible... you may guess what line it was!
    SammyWasLowon March 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis first album took me quite a while to come around to, but i love it now, not that its my favorite, but this song is up there with some of my favorites, it seems to be about some power being revealed as 'evil' perhaps the devil, or 'Angra(of Zoroastrianism)'.
    Italian Phaethonon May 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is actually one of the best things in classic rock like Queen or Bob Dylan: The lyrics aren't always crystal clear. Think about it, you have bands like Linkin Park or Creed, who express their feelings or critizism openly. The lyrics are quite blunt. Personally, I just get depressed when listen to Creed...
    Coyote_FHon July 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is obviously about someone, just read the first verse! For some reason Al Capone crops up but i doubt its him.
    Ben2k9on January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove this song. Love this song. Love this song. lol it kinda sounds to me like a nursery rhyme in the chorus, really innocent, but the lyrics seem to be about a drug dealer...that's just a theory...
    mercury_girl86on March 05, 2005   Link

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