"The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)" as written by John Flansburgh and John Linnell....
Hey,
Who's that playing?
Hey,
The guitar?
Is it Jim? I don't know
Is it Jim? I don't know
In the spaceship, the silver spaceship, the lion takes control,
In the spaceship, the silver spaceship, the lion takes control,
Hey,
Who's that playing?
Hey,
The guitar?
Hush my darling, be still my darling, the lion's on the phone,
Hush my darling, be still my darling, the lion's on the phone,

Hush my darling, be still my darling,
Hey,
Hush my darling, be still my darling
Hey

Turn it up
The guitar
I can't hear, the guitar

In the spaceship, the silver spaceship, the lion waves goodbye
In the spaceship, the silver spaceship, the lion waves goodbye

Hey,
Who's that playing?
Hey,
The guitar?
Hey,
Hey,
Hey,
Hey,


Lyrics submitted by sawg

"The Guitar" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © IMAGEM MUSIC INC

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The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI have a different theory, that Jim refers to their best friend from high school, Jim McIntyre, to whom they dedicated their first album (check the liner notes). The 3 of them hung out together after school, talked music and politics, and all wrote controversial stuff for their school newspaper.

    After high school, John & John went into creating music, and Jim went to work at radio stations. Jim died in 1986, at the age of 25, just as John and John were gaining popularity. John & John travelled to Virginia to be with Jim in the hospital just days before he died.

    Jim was a Leo, born in early August, thus, the "lion" reference would make sense.

    Being in a spaceship could be a metaphor for a spirit travelling in the heavens. Hushing to hear faint sounds over the phone, or of a distant guitar, and the lion "taking control", could all refer to Jim's spirit trying to communicate to his friends, via electronic equipment, as a way of "waving goodbye" to them.

    It would explain why they would want to "turn it up" to hear what it's saying.

    (Note: I am a relative of the abovementioned Jim McIntyre, so if you want to blame me for personal bias, I won't blame you, but that's how I know all of this.)
    TheTruthIsFreeon December 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGREAT SONG
    ccsims4lifeon December 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti really dout there's much meaning to this song, but Jim that they mention is probably Jimi Hendrix.

    Rodan2000
    Rodan2000on December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with both of you.
    TheyMightBeGiantson June 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought I heard a rumour somewhere that 'the lion' was some refference or other to a character in a sci-fi movie or tv show. Not sure how acurate the rumour was, but it would fit....
    thatcheshiregrinon July 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is clearly about an acid trip.
    supertaster69on August 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThough there's not a whole lot of evidence for it, this sounds to me like a critique of the music industry.

    The silver spaceship is the record label's corporate headquarters, perhaps in a large building pointing high into the sky. The lion represents the head of the company, or maybe the band's agent, as he "takes control", is "on the phone" (spoken condescendingly to the inquirer by his secretary), and eventually "waves goodbye".

    Additionally, the song begins and ends wondering who the guitar player is, a question to which no one has the answer, perhaps representing the anonymity fame/marketing brings. The middle refrain of "Turn it up / I can't hear the guitar", though it sounds like an energetic middle section to a dance tune, could in fact be alluding to how the music eventually becomes swallowed by corporations.

    Anyway, that's just my take.
    knightwriteron August 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy brother and I were always convinced it was a reference to Jim Morrison's guitar-like vocalisations on 'The Cars Hiss By My Window'. He was, apart from being the 'Lizard King', known as the young lion...but that's stretching it:)
    paul110242on October 23, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentJim=Jimmi Hendrix. Hendrix used drugs. Drugs make you see lions and and spaceships.
    Done. Your welcome.
    relephant23elephanton November 01, 2009   Link

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