"Thunderbird" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
I know, I know, I said that I would quit
All right, I promise, no more after this
You don't know how I've tried
To forget what it was like

I remember now
I remember now
Why they called it Thunderbird
Why they called it Thunderbird

Man, oh man, my throat is dry
Man, are you thinking what I
Am? Well what about it then?

Before you fall, you have to learn to crawl
You can't see heaven when you're standing tall
To get the whole sky
On the ground you have to lie

I remember now
I remember now
Why they called it Thunderbird
Why they called it Thunderbird

We like fun, me and my girl
We'll have fun fun fun until
T-bird takes her dad away

I know, I know, I said that I'd desist
All right, I promise, no more after this
Not to be what I was like
Not to soar across the sky
Spread my thunder wings and fly
Spread my thunder wings and fly

I remember now
I remember now
Why they called it Thunderbird
Why they called it Thunderbird


Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

"Thunderbird" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Thunderbird song meanings
Add your thoughts

11 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, I think this song is about the cheap wine that you can buy for a couple bucks. This song would be what a bum would sing, with his wine in a brown paper bag. Perhaps about alcoholism -- the part about crawling before falling, for instance, is probably making a reference to drunks needing to bottom-out before they can get better (before they realize that they need help).

    Fun Fun Fun is a ref, obviously, to the Beach Boys - not sure why, though.
    Sir_Larrikinon October 15, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOut of curiousity, I gave a second try to playing backward "On Earth My Nina" from TMBG's internet-only album Long Tall Weekend. Because it's clearly an odd song. Years ago when I first tried, I couldn't understand it played backward. But just now, it is clear that it's some of the lyrics from Thunderbird. It's done in the classic Twin Peaks style of playing the lyrics backward and figuring out English words that seem to match. Then, singing those. When you reverse, you get something similar to the original! Creepy and interesting. Lyrics sitting on the shelf since 1999 before finally being released in 2004.
    FireFox31on October 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentadding to what Sir Larrikin said...

    both "Fun Fun Fun" and "T-Bird takes her dad away" are references to the Beach Boys song Fun Fun Fun(like sir larrikin said!)

    Get it? instead of "until her daddy takes the T-Bird away" its the other way around! haaha! I dunno why, though.

    I think the title of the song (and therefor, the whole song) has something to do with Fun Fun Fun, but I dont know what.
    haunter259on December 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenton an older live version of the song which had a cooler, faster feel, the line was "before you crawl you have to learn to fall", which to me was a really strong line that made a lot of sense. switching the words kind of defeated the purpose (at least it seems that way to me.) it doesnt fit with the getting the whole sky line. listening to the recorded version fore the first time i even considered whether or not linnell had messed up during recording.
    mmarcon March 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about being reckless and drunk in the glory days, then looking back (drunk of the same Thunderbird wine maybe?) and telling someone you're done with those days, but remember how they were.
    ndoon February 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOlder live versions also had a section taken out:

    "They devised a plan
    They would melt a man
    And they called it 'Thunderbird'"

    It kind of gave the song a darker, more... sinister edge. If TMBG can ever be remotely sinister.
    Spacecowon May 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is about a guy driving drunk with his girlfriend and he acidentally hits and kills her father (T-bird takes the dad away)...and now he wants to quit drinking but he simply can't.
    Deviot86on June 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about a guy who has rediscovered the vintage car from his youth. "T-Bird takes her dad away" is a play that when the middle aged guy has responsibilities, they fly out the window for the addiction and rush of driving the car, low to the ground, at great speeds.
    But, apparently, his wife makes him give up the rush for a more sensible vehicle.
    thezpnon April 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is definitley about alcohol. I had no idea what Thunderbird refered to and when alcohol was mentioned the whole song lit up.

    Man, oh man, my throat is dry
    Man, are you thinking what I
    Am? Well what about it then?

    Says: let's go drink!

    Before you fall, you have to learn to crawl
    You can't see heaven when you're standing tall
    To get the whole sky
    On the ground you have to lie

    I think this line is more about alcohol than life. I think when he says "To get the whole sky
    On the ground you have to lie" he's saying "To really be in the happy place alcohol takes you, you have to be flat on your back drunk"

    Just some fun ideas, i love discecting stuff.
    coreysuckson September 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, Thundebird used to be a cheap type of fortified wine, that was notorious for being what winos and bums would buy to get drunk on little cash. No idea if it's still around.

    The "till T-Bird takes her dad away" thus can possible have a darker meaning, beyond the play on the Beach Boys song. The singer is an alcoholic and will soon die if he doesn't give up his drinking, leaving behind a daughter.
    gravitonon October 14, 2008   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