"The Eton Rifles" as written by and Paul John Weller....
Sup up your beer and collect your fags
There's a row going on down near slough
Get out your mat and pray to the west
I'll get out mine and pray for myself
Thought you were smart when you took them on
But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

Hello-hooray, what a nice day, for the Eton rifles, Eton rifles
Hello-hooray, I hope rain stops play, with the Eton rifles, Eton rifles

Thought you were clever when you lit the fuse
Tore down the house of commons in your brand new shoes
Compose a revolutionary symphony
Then went to bed with a charming young thing

Hello-hooray, cheers then mate, its the Eton rifles, Eton rifles
Hello-hooray, an extremist scrape, with the Eton rifles, Eton rifles

What a catalyst you turned out to be
Loaded the guns then you run off home for your tea
Left me standing, like a guilty schoolboy

What a catalyst you turned out to be
Loaded the guns then you run off home for your tea
Left me standing, like a naughty schoolboy

We came out of it naturally the worst
Beaten and bloody and I was sick down my shirt
We were no match for their untamed wit
Though some of the lads said they'll be back next week

Hello-hooray, there's a price to pay, to the Eton rifles, Eton rifles
Hello-hooray, I'd prefer the plague, to the Eton rifles, Eton rifles

Hello-hooray, there's a price to pay, to the Eton rifles, Eton rifles
Hello-hooray, I'd prefer the plague, to the Eton rifles, Eton rifles

Eton rifles, Eton rifles
Eton rifles, Eton rifles


Lyrics submitted by planetearth

"The Eton Rifles" as written by Paul John Weller

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Eton Rifles song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentYeah definately an excellent track, and definately about class warfare looked at in a satiricall maner.

    I think its also aimed at would be revolutionairies, warning them not to underestimate the Establisment they are up against.
    Comrade_Liaron June 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song's basically about class warfare in the form of a rugby match. The Eton Rifles represent the upper class, while The Jam represents the working man. Very cool!
    pumkinhedon December 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought is was meant to be about when he got beaten up in a pub by some rugby players(????)
    jackd36on February 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a depiction of the English obsession with class and also a comment on class warfare taken from Weller's left-wing perspective. It highlights the divide between the Eton elite and the common man, who Weller urges to unite against the powers that be. This is not a strong conflict mind, more of a satirical look a complex subject. Excellent track by an excellent songwriter!
    dinseyjon April 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis was the song that really got me into the Jam. I think it's about people who like to sit around in pubs discussing revolution but then run off home for their tea when the action starts.
    Boss Manon June 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it may refer to memories of a school fight between the public school of Eton and Pauls school Sheerwater Comp. located quite close to each other.

    Later in life as he longs for the working class revolution, he realizes that the Elite class are not a bunch of weak sissys. "Thought you were smart when you took them on
    But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
    All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
    What chance have you got against a tie and a crest"
    Mojo Workingon September 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI definately think you're right Mojo Working. He realised they're not weak physically, but also that he's no match for the power that comes with being elite.
    joAKAmegalomaniacon July 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom Wikipedia:
    The song recounts a street battle Paul Weller had read about in the newspapers concerning elements of a Right To Work march going through Slough in 1978 breaking off to attack pupils from Eton College who had been jeering the lunchtime marchers (hence Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles), rashly thinking that a bunch of 'posh schoolboys' would be an easy target: only for the outnumbered but far fitter college pupils to give them a beating.

    I guess you want to be sure of your ground before taking on the establishment...
    callcopseon February 22, 2013   Link

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