Why must I be the thief?
Why must I be the thief?
Oh Lord please won’t you tell me
Why must I be the thief?

Why must I be the thief?
He said to the hanging man
And how come you’re the only one
That’s black around, that always stares?

Why must I be the thief?
He asked of the hanging man
And how come you’re the only one
Who lived with an open hand?
Now why must I be the thief?
You’ve cursed with many clouds
And the hanging man without his hand
Looked beyond his heart

The thief was drawn to the cross
To share that other’s fate
But the Jesus man said, “Not now
My brother not now, it’s far too late”
Far too late
Far too late
Far too late
Far too late
Far too late
Far too late
Far too late

Do what you must
Take what you can
Steal the pride from every heart
Every angered man (3x)
I am the thief
I am the thief
And you will run
Yes and you will hide
But I’ll get you then
Yes I will
Because of you, because it’s justified
I will get you yet
Because it’s justified
I will get you yet
It’s justified
I will get you yet
It’s justified


Lyrics submitted by piewwe, edited by Mellow_Harsher

The Thief (Can cover) song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIt is a Can cover, and being a fan of both bands for years now, I was delighted when I finally heard this version. What an amazing job they did of it. If you like this, you'll love the original. It's just a shame that Radiohead have only played this once in public.

    As for the meaning, you have to understand a bit of Can's background. Basically, Can were a German band, but their at the time was Malcolm Mooney, an African-American sculptor living in Europe. Mooney supposedly wrote this about his lonliness and isolation living in Germany, as well as his crushing homesickness.
    Songmeaningsuseron March 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhy must I be a thief
    He asked to the hanging man
    And how come you're the only one
    Who's better off, and garble farble warble

    Why must I be a thief
    He asked to the hanging man
    And how come you're the only one
    Who gives with an open hand

    Why must I be a thief
    He cursed and then he cried
    And the hanging man held out his hand
    And looked beyond the skies


    Do what you must
    Take what you can
    Steal the heart from every man
    Every angered man
    Every angered man
    Every angered man

    I am the thief
    I am the thief
    And you can run
    And you can hide
    But I will get you yet, yes I will
    Cause of you
    Cause it's just your pride
    Cause it's justified

    This is what I hear on these verses. Thanks for submitting this, is a really great song :)
    ZA81on May 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey all
    this song is unreleased but kicks ass! if u find any mistakes in the lyrics tell me and ill fix it
    piewwe
    piewweon December 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a can cover.
    saturnineon December 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy must I be a thief
    He said to the hanging man
    And how come you're the only one
    Who's black around that always stands

    Why must I be a thief
    He asked to the hanging man
    And how come you're the only one
    Who gives with an open hand
    Why must I be a thief
    He cursed and then he cried
    And the hanging man put out his hand
    And looked beyond his eye

    The thief he cried on the cross
    To share that other's fate
    But the Jesus man said not now
    My brother not now its far too late
    Far too late

    Do what you must
    Take what you can
    Steal the pride from every heart of every angry man
    Every angry man
    Every angry man
    Every angry man

    I am the thief
    I am the thief
    And you can run
    And you can hide
    But I will get you yet, yes I will
    Cause of you
    Cause it's just your pride
    GOd God... God Gooddddd!!!
    I will get you yet
    cause its just your pride
    zepkid5678on September 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSociety sets up the crime and waits for the criminal to commit it.
    timothyrealon July 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKUDOS to the Halloween thief who burglarized my porch. Had he waited one day it would have been beside the road with a "free" sign on it and he wouldn't have had to work so hard :) My pride is hurt that both the dog and I didn't hear the nasty little bugger! Perfect song for this morning.
    MaryMaryQuiteContraryon November 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a CAN cover
    mateaon October 13, 2012   Link
  • -1
    Lyric CorrectionWhy must I be the thief?
    Why must I be the thief?
    Oh lord please won’t you tell me
    Why must I be the thief?
    Why must I be the thief?
    He said to the hanging man
    And how come you’re the only one
    Whose like a rock
    That always stands

    Why must I be the thief
    He asked of the hanging man
    And how come you’re the only one who live with an open hand
    Why must I be the thief
    Who cursed and then he died
    And the hanging man put out his hand
    And looked beyond his eye


    The thief he climbed that cross
    To share that other’s fate
    But the Jesus man said ‘not now
    ‘My brother not now it’s far too late
    ‘Far too late far too late
    ‘Far too late far too late
    ‘Far too late far too late
    ‘Far too late’

    Do what you must
    Take what you can
    Steal the pride from every heart
    And every angry man
    Every angry man
    Every angry man
    Every angry man


    I am the thief
    I am the thief
    And you may run, yes
    And you may hide
    But I’ll get you yet
    Yes I will
    Because you’re, ‘cos it’s just your pride
    Just your pride
    Pride pride

    I will get you yet
    It’s just your pride
    tomalderon December 04, 2010   Link

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