"Bishop's Robes" as written by and Thomas Edward/greenwood Yorke....
Dressed in Bishop's robes
Terrifies me still
In Bishop's robes

Bastard headmaster
I'm not going back
I'm not going back
I'm not going back

Children taught to kill
To tear themselves to bits
on playing fields

Dressed in Bishop's robes
I'm not going back
I'm not going back
I'm not going back


Lyrics submitted by shut

"Bishop's Robes" as written by Edward John O'brien Colin Charles Greenwood

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Bishop's Robes song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentFirst time hearing it blew me away, Radiohead could be the Beatles if they wanted to. Wow, that may have been the greatest first listening I have ever had. Deeply moving moment.
    HijackedAffairson February 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's entirely to do with the headmaster. In a concert in 1995 in Stockholm he introduced the song with:

    "This is a song, this is a new song called Bishop's Robes. This is about an old headmaster we had, cause we went to the same school, cause we're sad. It's about him, and he suddenly decided he was close to God, cause he was a useless headmaster. But now he's a fascist idiot. And this song is about him"
    btherlon May 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti read that Thom wasnt the happiest kid at abingdon and was often bullied (his lazy eye probably didnt help). i would have been surprised if he hadnt written a song about his dislike for the traditional boarding school. perhapse bishop's robes was made a b-side because the song doesnt have any profound ideas and it is simply about his bad experiences at abingdon.

    i spent a year at st. edwards school which is another boarding school right down the road from abingdon in oxford. i can completely relate to thom
    Drewb18c1on May 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAw poor Thom. Thom you're fucking awesome.
    i wonder if any of his old bullies are fans of his music.
    quietwaron September 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think he's just being nice.. maybe he met up with the headmaster later and realized that he was only doing what he thought was best. It's never too late to forgive.
    btherlon June 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHypocrisy, someone in religious/school/adult authority teaching children to 'kill' (this always reminds me of primary school, standing in a line on the playing field for the people to pick who will be on their team and always being last because I'm hopeless at sport). "Tear themselves to bits," could mean not only tearing each other to bits, but also themselves- competition of sport/school/life and how that may ruins ones self worth if one doesn't accept it.
    forgotten412on July 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRadiohead began taking shape at Abingdon school, expensive private place with a strict conservative headmaster. He looked like he'd stepped out of the 19th century, went in for the academic gown wearing thing, hence "Bishop's robes". The second verse is a reference to the competitive nature that can seemingly be encouraged at schools like Abingdon and how this tended to manifest itself on the rugby field.
    cakeordeathon February 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThom has repeatedly stated this song has nothing to do with his old headmaster, but it has to be said that it really looks like it does. Perhaps he's trying to spare the feelings of his now aged "bastard headmaster," who is said to be very proud of his former schoolboys.
    boss_2kon May 31, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lyrics are too abstract, you can't undestand the song unless you listen to it, screw what the lyrics are.
    CÆTon December 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's funny that Thom later denied that the song was about his headmaster. What, did the guy threaten to sue or something?
    YanYan108on October 23, 2006   Link

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