"Levon" as written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin....
Levon wears his war wound like a crown
He calls his child Jesus 'cause he likes the name
And he sends him to the finest school in town.

Levon, Levon likes his money
He makes a lot they say
Spend his days counting
In a garage by the motorway

He was born a pauper
To a pawn on a Christmas day
When the New York Times
Said God is dead and war's begun
Alvin Tostig has a son today

And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
And he shall be Levon
In tradition with the family plan
And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
He shall be Levon.

Levon's sells cartoon balloons in town
His family business thrives
Jesus blows up balloons all day
Sits on the porch swing watching them fly
And Jesus, he wants to go to Venus
Leave Levon far behind
Take a balloon and go sailing,
While Levon, Levon slowly dies.

And he shall be Levon
And he shall be a good man
He shall be Levon

Lyrics submitted by kevlar_soul

"Levon" as written by Elton John, Bernard J.p. Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Levon song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentwikipedia claims:
    The song describes a family living with mental illness. The opening line is the first clue to Taupin's riddle. "Levon wears his war wound like a crown" refers to being used as a "pawn" in warfare, and receiving a head injury. His son, irreverently named "Jesus", is growing apart from his father, who seems to fixate on religious and status symbols. The song's refrain, "He shall be Levon", contains a subtle pun which John's phrasing alternately obscures and punctuates: "He shall believe on.

    before the time magazine featuring "god is dead" on the cover was released (april 1966) the new york times ran an article called "god is dead" (Jan. 9. 1966)
    draglineon March 23, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMy father loved the song so much that when he was 16 he declared that his first son would carry this name... so here I am... so I must be the Levon everyone is wondering about.
    levondallenon March 30, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is just a sad a depressing song. :(
    Thia007on December 01, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti identify with jesus re: references re blowing up baloons and letting them fly vs Levon bound by tradition of the family and the money benefits he derives. Hence, I sent you that quote the other day.

    All Levon does is sit and count money by the noisy motorway....a very mechanical place without fresh air (read life). He was boorn a poor person (pauper) to an unempowered person - pawn (his father Alvin Tosig) when there was no hope (NYT said God is dead and the War has begun). Facing these dreary circumstances Levon clung to the "family tradition and plan" "Ye shall be a Levon; ye shall be a good man".

    The Son benefits from the best the Father has..... sends him (Jesus) to the best school in town.

    Jesus blows up balloons all day - many ideas, hopes dreams, coming from the breath of life (his chest (lungs/heart).... and someday he will ride one of those dreams away into the sky -heaven? Leaving the slowly dieing Levon behind.

    Also, Jesus - a prophet is without honor in his own country...must leave all family obligations behind...follow the true father.

    Bernie Taupin (for you youngsters) wrote all Elton John's Lyrics. He is probably my favorite lyricists ever.

    Check out Indian Sunset and "Where to Now St. Peter"
    Soloon June 02, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"According to Gus Dudgeon, who produced Madman Across the Water and wrote an essay containing this information to accompany the remastered version, the name "Levon" was inspired by Levon Helm, drummer, lead singer, and founder of The Band, a group from the 60s and 70s. The Band was apparently Elton John's and Bernie Taupin's favorite group in those days. (Taupin is the guy who writes or co-writes a lot of Elton John's songs and who wrote the lyrics for "Levon.")"

    -wwwstraightdope.com is where my quote came from. Someone had been wondering who Alvin Tostig was, and he answered with this and more. It is a ficticious name, and simply enough, he is Levon's father in this song. Levon is a very normal man who loves his son, but they have a conflicted relationship.
    RainbowDemonon February 23, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"God is dead" is a famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote. It symbolizes a movement away from God and towards humanism and science for inspiration and answers. What it means in this song is to show you the time period Levon grew up in and the effect of this is that he didn't grow up a dreamer. All he has to believe in is what he can do himself and really all that amounts to is making money.
    heyf00Lon October 19, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is definitely my favourite Elton John song ever. It reminds me of something of the consumer culture, and somebody going against it. Levon is seen as the pinnacle of what is right: he is a family man, he makes a lot of money, he is successful, he has a son. But this son does not want this, but instead "wants to go to Venus/and leave Levon far behind" which makes me think of wanting to get out, go away, find something beautiful instead of the stinking motorway and balloon making he has grown up with.

    I love the lead-in to the chorus, the "He was born a pauper to a pawn on Christmas day/when the New York Times said God is dead/And the war's begun/Alvin Tolstig has a son today." For some reason, it gives me the image of the stock market crashing in the '30s and all these men walking around with briefcases realising their money and consumer culture was coming down to nothing.
    thequeenofscotson February 07, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentis he maybe saying "believe on" as apposed to "be levon"??
    juicenotguilty19on January 13, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWe are introduced to a man named Levon who has a kid named Jesus. He named him this because he liked the name, simply meaning he was a Christian man. He expresses his love through money by sending him to private schools. Levon is a greedy man we come to find out.

    Levon was born a poor man, a pauper, to a pawn, someone who was very weak and lacked power. He was born in WWI since this is when the Times cover that said "God is Dead" was released. The Times article was using Nietzsche's quote for the cover. Then we find out that Levon's father was named Alvin Tostig.

    Alvin named him Levon and instilled in him good traditional values that made him a family man. This turned out to be the thing that made him greedy and caused Jesus' resentment and desire to leave.

    We find out that Levon's successful business is selling cartoon balloons, a rather ridiculous business for a ridiculous man. Jesus helps because he has been raised to be a family man, something we come to find out he doesnt want at all. Jesus just wants to take one of these balloons and go sailing away from his greedy and traditional father, leaving him to die alone.
    ranceyoungon April 30, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLevon was born to Alvin Tostig (eastern european). Levon is likely an immigrant to America and is prideful of his war wound (WWI ?). I believe the song is about Levon's overwhelming pride. Levon was born on Christmas day -- he calls his son Jesus -- because he likes the name. Really he's just referencing his own birthdate. Again, pride.

    Jesus wants to go to Venus (meet a woman and get married, experience love). Leaving Levon far behind. The focus of Jesus is to find Love, the focus of Levon is making money...conflicting values
    jeffreygtcon May 07, 2014   Link

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