"Sheep" as written by and Roger Waters....
Hopelessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air
You better watch out
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem

What do you get for pretending the danger's not real
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
What a surprise

The look of terminal shock in your eyes
Now things are really what they seem
No, this is no bad dream

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knives he releaseth my soul

He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger
When cometh the day we lowly ones

Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water

Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream

Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead
You better stay home
And do as you're told
Get out of the road if you want to grow old


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by FlyFloydia, leech3, Title5, morrizon07

"Sheep" as written by Roger Waters

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Sheep song meanings
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  • +12
    Song MeaningThe song is about "sheep" going with the flow until they finally realize the rut that they're in (being led to the slaughter) and decide to do something about it (they learn karate). The "pigs" essentially charade as a "good shepherd", when in reality, they're anything but that. In the end, the sheep attack the "shepherd", and once that happens, everything falls apart (the dogs die, etc.), and they march onto freedom.

    At the end they're told to stay off the road - in other words, if you want to have a long/good life, then don't join the rat race.

    It's a song that fits well for any strict political or corporate culture. It's not really about religion - they just use the Psalm intro since it fits so well with what the elite want to be come: the "shepherd" that controls everything, even the dogs, even though in reality a shepherd is supposed to watch over the flock and keep it away from harm, not abuse it. False messiahs in suits.
    Ahmson August 13, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis is about people who are "sheep-like" and follow everyone else blindly. In this song the sheep rebel against their opressers, the Dogs. Cool little poem there by Rog.
    SongMeaningson January 05, 2002   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningI read somewhere that this album is about Roger Waters views on society. The sheep represent the lower class workers. The dogs represent higher class business men. I'm not sure if they have the same meaning on this song, though. The pigs represent the upper class, rich people.

    'into the valley of steel' I think represent the slaughterhouse, which from a human perspective would be the factories.

    Can't think of many more interpretations, but great song though.
    tforencichon January 02, 2011   Link
  • +3
    Lyric CorrectionTwo corrections to the lyrics:

    1. The opening line is "Harmlessly passing..." not "Hopelessly passing..."

    2. Despite what the actual lyric sheet says, the vocoded section quite clearly says "judo" not "karate".
    AmbientSheepon May 04, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDirect allusion to Animal Farm. Love George Orwell - genius. Love Pink Floyd- genius. Axtually, in the book, "Another Brick in the Wall" it says PF loved George Orwell. But then, PF never gave their stamp of approval the book, so you never know.
    It makes perfect sense that this song is directed at religion, but I don't think that was Pink Floyd's intent.
    It is my opinion that the whole "heil hitler" crock is absolute and undilluted crap. And unless I am very mistaken, Pink Floyd recoils at the mention of The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side of the Moon having similarities. I've tried it, just for laughs, and I didn't find anything too spectacular or earth-shattering.
    QuixoticComradeon March 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe rise of the commoners against the dictatorial (is that a word?) tyrants who selfishly take disgusting advantage of the people, to a point that it is anmost like devouring them, while deifying themselves as to justify the horrible acts of injustice they commit every day. The people excitedly take charge against the "Lord" (the deified leaders) as they "march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream", a dream of freedom and equality, with leaders no longer selfishly exploiting the people.
    Once the people have taken over, they establish a new world order. But, ironically and sadly enough, a NEW tyranny is esablished ("You better stay home and do as you're told, get out of the road if you want to grow old", almost EXACTLY like the situation that they fought so adamantly and sacrificed so much to abolish.

    A theme is that history repeats itself, be it good or bad...

    Brilliant...one of the greatest pieces of music of all time.
    deadeye093on July 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo understand any of the songs fully, you need a full understanding of what the album is about
    So here it is, even though some of it may be obvious.

    Animals
    ----Capitalist nations are nations made up of sheep that are owned by pigs, and competed for by dogs

    Dogs
    Cutthroat businessmen and always in vicious competition like dogs fighting for scraps that the masters (pigs) give them
    Either end up "sad old men dying of cancer" or "pulled down by the stone"
    All that competition actually give them no fulfillment in the long run
    The stone -- dirty tricks the pull and bad things they do to others to get ahead (conscious?)
    Probably not conscious -- more like getting caught breaking the law -- Enron or Bernie Madoff

    Pigs (3 different kinds)
    Heads of society who pull the strings and control all the dogs and especially the sheep
    1. James Callaghan - prime minister. Fat dude -- big man pig man
    Mining industry - keep on digging
    2. Maggie thatcher
    Bus stop rat bag -- "a man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure."
    3. Mary whitehouse
    Media censorship advocate -- pirate radioesque
    Hey you whitehouse

    Sheep
    Play on the bible: The Lord is my shepherd (but not primarily a religious commentary)
    Pigs: the "good" shepherd
    We are all just sheep in the flock mindlessly feeding on grass ignorant of our masters controlling our every move
    Dogs/wolves competing to pick off the sheep but we are ignorant until it is too late
    Therealdtaylzon May 08, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMmm...I think it's undeniable that, like most Pink Floyd, Sheep is a smidge too vauge to easily and simply define. Also, like most Pink Floyd, it's easy to interpret it in many ways.

    Regardless, I'd be willing to accept that it was based on the idea of 'lesser' creatures rebelling against their opressors. Perhaps (looking at the album booklet) unions fighting against opressive work conditions? Can't say I'm an expert on English factory conditions circa 1977.

    --sk
    Skunkson April 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree, SK. The song also suggests that the meek, the sheep in this case, shall inherit the earth (Rush, too).
    joepellion May 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCome on, guys... this whole ALBUM is Animal Farm paralleled! You have the pigs (those pretending to be what they're not), the dogs (supposedly the protectors, but according to the song have some deep inner deadness causing them pain), and then the sheep (who as stated before, see nothing and follow blindly). All you need now is Snowball (or whatever the goat's name was) and it would be Animal Farm to a T. Or an A, rather. Of course, when you're constrained to 40-some-odd minutes for a vinyl, things get cut. Who knows? Maybe Roger had a whole 2-album miniseries planned and had to forego that bit of creative genius for a couple years =P
    raven_lunitekon May 12, 2003   Link

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