"Top of the Hill" as written by and John Kander Fred Ebb....
I'm gonna get me on the ride up
I'm gonna get

Can I have a little more on my voice?

Get me on the ride up
I'm on the top of the hill
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

New corn yellow and slaughterhouse red
The birds keep singing baby after you're dead
I'm gonna miss you plenty big old world
With our abalone earrings and your mother of pearl

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

I need your moon to be the sky against
Don't get your trouser button stuck on the fence
Diego red and bedlam money are fine
Why don't you come up here and see me sometime

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

There's very little leeway
I seen a mattress on the freeway
The moon rises over Dog Street
Jefferson said not every thing's reet
Have all the lights burned out on heaven again
I'll never roll the number 7 again

I'm made of bread and I'm on an ocean of wine
I hear all the birdies on the phone just fine

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

Black joke and the bean soup
Big sky and the Ford Coupe
Old maid and the dry bones
A red Rover and the Skinny Bones Jones
47 mules to pull this train
We're getting married in the pouring rain
You need your differential and plenty of oil
You load the wagon till the end of the world

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

What's your throttle made of, is it money or bone
Don't you doddle or you'll never get home
Opium, fireworks, vodka and meat
Scoot over and save me a seat

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

If I had it all to do all over again
I'd try to rise above the laws of man
Why don' cha gimme 'nother sip of your cup
Turn a Rolls Royce into a Chicken Coup

Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin'
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill

I'm only goin' to the top of the hill
Hey!


Stop and get me on the ride up
Stop and get me on the ride up
I'm only goin' to the top of the hill
Ha! Ha!


Lyrics submitted by deliriumtrigger

"Top of the Hill" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC , CARLIN AMERICA INC

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Top of the Hill song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentTom Waits “Top Of The Hill”
    Sex? No
    Drugs? He lists “opium, fireworks, vodka and meat” seemingly out of the blue and follows it up with “scoot over and save me a seat”. Maybe these four items are elements to a show, the kind of show that Tom Waits would attend…
    Rock and Roll? Yes!
    What does it tell me? This is somehow reinventing rock and roll, by adding beatboxing and a hip-hop beat, Waits made what could have been straight dirty rock and roll, and turns it into something new. The abstract poetry rapped in a guttery voice is interesting enough, but the funkyness added to it makes it randomness you can dance to.
    Reminds me of: Hobos rapping at Gambler’s Anonymous; a cartoon farmhouse; driving a cherry red Rolls Royce that turns into red chicken coop; riding with my 55-year old dad as we tap our hands and get close to home for the summer after driving three hours from my last day as a sophomore from college
    From the get-go, you can tell this is something monumental. “Can I get a little more on my voice?”, asks Waits, knowing his voice is an instrument crucial to the song. And it is. It revs like a chainsaw immediately after the spacey futuristic music that opens the track, making it sound like a radio transmission from an alien world. Wait’s voice slurs and sounds more stretched and painful than ever. The beatboxing sounds like a shocked dog with an electric collar yelping as it runs past it’s invisible boundaries. “I seen a mattress on the freeway” and “ocean of wine” are the kind of dream-like images you get throughout this song. The static horn that breaks up the song gives a frantic “step right up!” feeling of listening to a ranting old man at a circus who should not be missed do to his obscure fantasies he boasts as his non-fiction past. Sometimes the song feels like just a bunch of random sentences that sound good together but are really like a miscellaneous pile of rhymes Waits complied together because he didn't know what else to do with them. But that’s the beauty of the song, how it feels like Freud’s unconscious seeping out random information and memories into dreams; putting things together on the same stage in some sequence of “chance encounters”, blurring fantasy and reality. The menacing laughter at the end of the track comes on as both sincere and appropriate, as if Waits is amused by the absurdities of his own unconscious dream world as a kind of inside-joke, and all the pride and frustration that comes with such moments of esoteric euphoria.
    Shep420on May 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentQuoteables:
    “New corn yellow and slaughterhouse red
    The birds keep singing baby after you're dead”
    A realistic and new way of saying “life goes on”, but said in a way that sounds like Waits is trying to convince someone that they aren’t the center of the universe.
    “Have all the lights burned out on heaven again
    I’ll never roll the number seven again”
    I never knew what Waits was saying in the first line until now, and wow! It sounds like something a cynical religious person would say whenever there is a tragedy in the world. And to follow up that line with a problem gambler’s lament? Such a small tragedy! It’s a parallel of comedic proportions - at first, I think the narrator has something profound to say about the world and then to find out he’s just being over-dramatic in the wake of his own gambling problem – to think he’d ask for such pity is insulting!
    “What’s your throttle made of, is it money or bone?
    Don’t you doddle or you'll never get home”
    I don’t even know what the first line means – is he asking what my thrill is? Am I looking to put a price on my thrills and profit in a financial stance or looking for thrills of the flesh? These are both material thrills, and since they are my only options, my spiritual and mental thrills are denied, which totally debases my humanity, man. The second line is just cute, like something Waits’d say to his son. Oh and my heavens these two lines work so well together, what with the rhyme scheme and all – “throttle” goes with “doddle” and “bone” with “home” – it looks like Waits is a good a rapper as any of ‘em.
    “If I had it all to do all over again
    I’d rise above the laws of man”
    How much regret can we take? First he’s a gambler sad because he’s down on his luck and now he’s an old man, or at least a settled down one, reflecting on his life, saying “If I had to do it all over again, I’d change one thing: I’d be more of an asshole” and break the law whenever it suited him, no matter how much trouble he got into or how much he hurt his family. Just kidding. He’s saying to “rise above” the laws of man, which indicates something holier than just being a rebel hippie up to his Birkenstocks in situational morality. He wishes he was a man values, principles and convictions, and stood by them no matter how much trouble he got into. Like Sir Thomas More getting on the wrong end of the guillotine of the king because he would not bend his Godly morals to the whim of his country’s laws. Waits feels like sacrificed divine law for earthly laws, I can only speculate. He’s into Jesus, so I can assume “rise above” means to replace the earthly, worldly city of man with the city of God and all its permanent grace, which puts earthly objects to shame.
    “Turn a Rolls Royce into a chicken coop”
    I know the lyrics on his web site say “Chicken Coup” referring to a kind of car by some crackpot drag strip racer who named car a “Chicken Coupe”, but how in the hell was I supposed to know that, I already got the image of a car magically poofing into a stationary house for birds in my head and I love it and I’m not gonna change it. Plus when I listened to this I thought how clever I was when I came up with a “chicken coup”, you know, ousting the leader chicken party and replacing it with another because it has a stronger militia. Of chickens. I was going to make a movie out of it. How bout the whole Iran conflict is filmed in a barnyard with footage of roosters and hens lazing around and fucking and roosters fighting and we get George Clooney and Brad Pitt to dub the voices of all the major players.
    Shep420on May 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPretty sure this is about dying and being taken to a cemetary on "top of the hill," since that's only as far as he's going. Not heaven or hell, just staying stuck in the ground. He hopes people visit him ("why don't you come up here and see me some time"), he's gonna miss life ("never roll a #7 again," "gonna miss you plenty big ol' world"), and he even draws the jesus allegory by saying he's made of bread and a whole ocean of wine.

    A lot of it is just things he saw in "his life" that stand out to him, kind of a life flashing before his eyes thing. And talking to the driver in idle chat :D
    eggytoaston March 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like eggytoast's explanation that he's dead. Seems to make sense...
    taal_19on September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is about the end of the world.

    need your differential plenty of oil/you load the wagon til' the end of the world.

    top of the hill is a metaphor for some sort-of ironic devilish joke we don't get.
    it's not him dying. it's all of us.
    and given the political tone of the rest of the album. it's more likely he's speaking in a
    sociopolitical way, rather then in a more personal sense.

    just my opinion.
    ShakeyFan2on November 23, 2009   Link

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