"The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" as written by and Andy Partridge....
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Peter Pumpkinhead came to town
Spreading wisdom and cash around
Fed the starving and housed the poor
Showed the Vatican what gold's for

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead fooled them all
Emptied churches and shopping malls
When he spoke, it would raise the roof
Peter Pumpkinhead told the truth

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead put to shame
Governments who would slur his name
Plots and sex scandals failed outright
Peter merely said
Any kind of love is alright

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?

Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you
And an awful lot like me!

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?

Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkin
Hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead
Oh my oh my oh!
Don't it make you want to cry, oh


Lyrics submitted by pumkinhed

"The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" as written by Andy Partridge

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead song meanings
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19 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentIt is perhaps instinctive to try to work out exactly who Peter Pumpkinhead is supposed to be a metaphor for. In fact, he is no-one in particular. Rather, he is a generic figurehead who advocates a more tolerant, progressive, and inclusive society. The unfortunate truth is that there have been a great many such individuals throughout history who have had their efforts for good stymied through various means - some of them fatal.
    EvolutionBeanFeaston October 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's widely believed that Peter Pumpkinhead is basically Jesus.
    pumkinhedon December 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlord_lacolith is correct, Peter Pumkin is in fact a carved out Hallowe'en pumpkin, although he may be interpreted as a kind of everyman for any figure in history who died trying to do good, but "made too many enemies of the people who would keep us on our knees". There are references to both Jesus and JFK ("emptied churches and shopping malls", and "plots and sex scandals failed outright" respectively, for example), but to view the song as being about any single figure is a rather narrow interpretation, and I doubt Andy Partridge (like many other great songwriters) would ever write anything so specific.
    whapcapnon June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the first song I have ever heard by XTC and while I liked it at first it took me awhile to get into and now I really enjoy listening to it. In fact this song is the reason why I bought more XTC cds.

    My favorite part has to be is when he sings "he looked a lot like you / and an awful lot like me".
    adistantshipon December 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually it sounds very much like they are talking about John F Kennedy.

    Peter Pumpkinhead, refering obviously to being shot in the head and it exploding like a pumpkin.


    Plus he did have conflicts with the Vatican and other such people. And he was killed for trying to make the world a better place.

    Or so the 'conspiracies' say.
    Krackonison February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCrash Test Dummies cover better? That is sacrelige. Krackonis must be burned.

    Also, according to Andy, it's not about any particular person, not even JFK. Peter Pumpkinhead was the name of a jack-o-lantern he had carved, and, in typical quirky Andy fashion, he decided the gourd should be a hero in a song. The song is just about a general sort of too-good-for-his-own-good type.
    lord_lacolithon April 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn xtc newsletter quotes Andy describing this carved Jack-o-Lantern that sat on a fencepost somewhere between his house and the "back shed" where he recorded. He observed it decaying day after day and had a thought to put it in a song.

    Further meanings have been covered well, though. XTC songs are never very vague in message or story. They tend to say exactly what they're about, and it's often something simple but passionate, like love, lust, hate, or compassion.

    go Andy!
    -phase
    warmPhaseon July 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEven as a kid I figured this one out. Why are people having such a hard time with this?
    slagoniaon January 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Kennedy angle seems to stem largely from the XTC video, which are not usually good indicators for song lyrics or meanings; but which people have taken literally.

    This song to me is about Jesus, placed in a modern setting, as well as the general intolerance of society towards people who want to make life and the world a better place.
    Webnikon August 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIt is obvious he is talking about John F. Kennedy. If some of you may already know Kennedy had the nickname of Peter Pumpkin Head because his head was a little large since he was a kid. And not only that, what other person had the balls to confront the vatican about its mistakes? He made too many enemies, so they killed him. Thats my opinion. Check and you'll see I'm right.
    youb6ib9on May 27, 2011   Link

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