"A Soapbox Opera" as written by Roger Hodgson and Richard Davies....
I want to tell you something;
Listen to me,
I'm trying to say, I'm better than you,
I am only what I am"

"We must not stand still,
For the night is coming,
Every man, every woman and child,
Everybody help me"

I hear, only what I want to hear,
But, I have to believe in something,
Have to believe in just one thing.
I said father Washington, you're all mixed up,
Collecting sinners in an old tin cup.
Well, spare a listen for a restless fool,
There's something missing when I need your rule.

Well, hey there;
You tell me you're a holy man, but, although I am just a beginner,
I don't see you as a winner.
I said, sister Washington, you're all washed up,
Collecting teardrops in a paper cup;
If I could tell you what you need to know;
If I could tell you to get on with the show.

I'd rather never leave her,
There's a storm in my head,
Makes me hear what you say;
Just was it true?
So, what have I to do?
Well, what has he to do?-
Ooh, what is there to-oo do+
What oh-oh-ohoh

"All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful, the lord god made them all"

Mary, oh tell me what I'm living for,
Cause I feel like I'm tossed in the river,
Oh' have you a son to deliver.

I said, father Washington, you're all mixed up,
Collecting sinners in an old tin cup,
You tell the children what you need to know,
But, will they listen when it's time to go.

Oh, sister Robinson, you're all washed up,
Collecting teardrops in a paper cup,
Can someone tell me what I need to know,
Can someone help me to get on with the show


Lyrics submitted by cheeky_munkeys42, edited by Bryophyta, BradBelanger

"A Soapbox Opera" as written by Roger Hodgson Richard Davies

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

A Soapbox Opera song meanings
Add your thoughts

8 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentI do not know who transcribed the lyrics of "Crisis? What Crisis?" when the CD was remastered. They did not follow the songbook, which I have. Here are the lyrics to the questioned parts of "A Soapbox Opera:"

    "Who'll spare a listen to a restless fool, there's something missing when I lead your rule."

    Replace all the "saids" with "say" (I say Sister Robinson...)

    "But rather than a reason, there's a smog in my head, makes me think what you said just wasn't true.
    So, what am I to do, well what is he to do?"

    "Maybe, well tell me what I'm living for, 'cause I feel like I'm tossed in the river."

    There are also mistakes in the other songs from the 1975 Album.
    Nasamikeon July 14, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe line "I'd rather never leave her" is actually "But Father Ebeneezer", which is more in line with the song's theme of faith and doubt.
    Larchmanon December 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYes, definitely, this song has strong connotations to the dogma and regimented nature of religion.

    'I hear, only what I want to hear,
    But, I have to believe in something,
    Have to believe in just one thing.'

    The odd belief that we MUST believe in only one god, a confined image of God. Where he stands as only the light, the truth, a benevolent warden in the skies, that grants us with things like love, and sunny days, and jaffa cakes.

    It also refers to how religion looks at all that bad about you, 'father washington, you’re all mixed up,
    Collecting sinners in an old tin cup.' He states that religion is mixed up, how can something that's suppose to be so pure and free confine you to certain rules! its madness...

    'dont do that! gods watching'

    I think he wanted to express this feeling, for the ridiculousness of modern religion and faith.
    WanderingPebbleon January 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs you said this is obviously about the religion. I would also add my personal theory about Rudy ( yes the Rudy from the Crime of the Century song ). I believe that some Supertramp songs are about Rudy and this one is probably about him as well. Chronogically speaking I would put it right after " Hide in your shell ". Rudy, after suffering something real bad, comes back to where he spent time as a child: church and his bitter taste of life now shows him things he did not realize back then. He does not find the comfort he searches for and he turns even more bitter and the " downward spiral " commences.
    Ex Abruptoon February 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, definitely, this song has strong connotations to the dogma and regimented nature of religion.

    'I hear, only what I want to hear,
    But, I have to believe in something,
    Have to believe in just one thing.'

    The odd belief that we MUST believe in only one god, a confined image of God. Where he stands as only the light, the truth, a benevolent warden in the skies, that grants us with things like love, and sunny days, and jaffa cakes.

    It also refers to how religion looks at all that bad about you, 'father washington, you’re all mixed up,
    Collecting sinners in an old tin cup.' He states that religion is mixed up, how can something that's suppose to be so pure and free confine you to certain rules! its madness...

    'dont do that! gods watching'

    I think he wanted to express this feeling, for the ridiculousness of modern religion and faith.
    WanderingPebbleon January 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthmm first, i want to say its not "father ebeneezer" either, he says "reevrend ebeneezer" im sure thats what u meant....
    newayz, what an awesome song first of all, the melodies are so eerily magnificent and genius.

    And yah, you summed it up pretty good wandering pebble, especially what you said about the first part. Its human nature to find consolation in believing one thing.
    sdrawkcab88on May 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is not an attack on modern religion, but a questioning of Catholic faith.
    So much of what they preach has no biblical recognition. The Roman Catholic church has paganism riddled throughout its past, and sadly some of these pagans traditions have seeped into Protestantism.
    Namely, Sunday worship. THERE IS NOT ONE VERSE IN THE BIBLE THAT SPEAKS OF THE TRANSITION FROM THE OLD SABBATH (SATURDAY) TO SUNDAY (DAY OF THE SUN). I BET $1000 FOR ANYONE TO FIND ME ONE VERSE IN THE BIBLE THAT SAYS THE HOLY SANTIFICATION OF SATURDAY HAS BEEN DROPPED.
    JESUS SAID "THINK THAT I HAVE NOT COME TO DO AWAY WITH THE LAW OR THE PROPHETS. I HAVE NOT COME TO DO AWAY WITH THEM BUT TO ENFORCE THEM." CHECK SABBATH.ORG
    robbiepoynteron October 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt has been pointed out to me it the original lyric in the bridge is not "Reverend Ebenezer" - this is a misheard lyric, but Roger actually does sing that in some live versions - a wry sense of humour perhaps.
    Sunnyhillon July 07, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain