"Burn Down the Mission" as written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin....
You tell me there's an angel in your tree
Did he say he'd come to call on me
For things are getting desperate in our home
Living in the parish of the restless folks I know

Everybody now bring your family down to the riverside
Look to the east to see where the fat stock hide
Behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps
It's time we put the flame torch to their keep

Burn down the mission
If we're gonna stay alive
Watch the black smoke fly to heaven
See the red flame light the sky

Burn down the mission
Burn it down to stay alive
It's our only chance of living
Take all you need to live inside

Deep in the woods the squirrels are out today
My wife cried when they came to take me away
But what more could I do just to keep her warm
Than burn burn burn burn down the mission walls


Lyrics submitted by slickrickonu

"Burn Down the Mission" as written by Elton John, Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Burn Down the Mission song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI would best describe these lyrics as brilliant instead of "weridass", dummy. Berny Taupin is a fucking genius especially with all the great Elton John hit songs he wrote!
    floydian18on August 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs much as I love this song, I am not sure of its meaning. Literally, it could be a man and his wife living in a mission with other families and they decide to burn it down. On a deeper level, it could symbolize a man so frustrated with being in poverty while there are rich men controlling him, that he revolts. This sounds kind of Marxist. The true meaning? I have yet to figure it out. But still a great song.
    slickrickonuon February 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsame its some weridass lyrics
    "Deep in the woods the squirrels are out today"
    Xilovemimusicon February 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentberny taupin has written some most amazing lyrics, and Elton was just the one to sing them.
    i think it is just that doing whatever it takes to surviv. even the squirrels have a better life, then he.
    2flowerson November 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentslickrickonu pretty much got it...

    song has shades of mona lisa and mad hatters in it
    drewsgo77on July 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is more of a story than any allegorical concept or reflection of modern life.

    In many areas around the world, the "mission" was a place of residence owned by the Roman Catholic church, where priests could engage in the conversion of heathens to christianity. Many times these missions were protected by soldiers or free men who served a higher power, such as a royal family or the papacy.

    Many times these missions were not welcome, especially when poor, starving people would look and see missionaries and priests eating well, and living under good shelter. This was especially true when the hypocrisy became apparent between what the church preached and what it actually did.

    I think the song simply reflects an uprising by the people who the missionaries are trying to convert. They are freezing and starving and have had enough. They burn down the mission for warmth and shelter.

    At the end.. the high powers come to seek justice and drag the man, who we must assume is the ringleader, away.
    Ovichsanon August 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the above explanation is as good as any. At the time this song came out there were all kind of anti-Vietnam and anti-Nixon meanings attributed to the song. I think that the story is just a story and is vague enough to create many allegorical connotations to the lyrics. It is also a great dramatic rock and roll arena song.
    rcampbellon November 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is about a man during the times of the American Revolutionary war per Bernie Taupin. It's England that is referred to in 'look to the East to see where the fat stock hide' & George III is the one 'behind four walls of stone the rich man sleeps.'
    ledhed09on May 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't know, but the Spanish Civil War and the French Revolution both saw socialist-inspired church burnings on a massive scale.
    DJacques75on June 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRemember the title of the album this was on - Tumbleweed Connection. There are a number of songs about the "Wild West" on hte album. I suspect this has to do with the various conflicts that took place during the settling of the American West, when meny actual missions were in tact burned.
    PMassonon April 02, 2009   Link

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