"If Everyone Was Listening" as written by Roger Hodgson and Richard Davies....
The actors and jesters are here
The stage is in darkness and clear
For raising the curtain
And no-ones quite certain whose play it is
How long ago, how long
If only we had listened in.
If we'd known just how right we were going to be.
For we dreamed a lot
And we schemed a lot
And we tried to sing of love before the stage fell apart.

If everyone was listening you know
There'd be a chance that we could save the show
Who'll be the last clown
To bring the house down?
Oh no, please no, don't let the curtain fall

Well, what is your costume today?
Who are the props in your play?
You're acting a part which you thought from the start
Was an honest one.
Well how do you plead?
An actor indeed!
Go re-learn your lines,
You don't know what you've done
The finales begun.

If everyone was listening you know
There'd be a chance that we could save the show,
Who'll be the last clown
To bring the house down?
Oh no, please no, don't let the curtain fall.

Lyrics submitted by Philosophy, edited by sokorny

If Everyone Was Listening song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think the whole album is loosely based around the life of one man living (and wasting) his life. I believe this song is about that man dying. His life is coming to an end, and he knows it and he is scared.
    Stingfanon November 15, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think this song is about idealistic liberal artists, who tried to change the world through their artwork, but failed when the movement collapsed (both because no one was truly listening and because the movement fell apart from the inside out). This was written in the early 70s, around the same time that Hunter Thompson was writing about the collapse of the populist hippie movement - they "tried to sing of love" until the stage fell apart, either dying of overdose or succumbing to hedonism, nihilism, and/or capitalism. Using the theatre as a metaphor could also be a reference to earlier Bohemian movements.

    Dreamer has a similar theme, but a much lighter tone. I'm not sure the CotC is a concept album per say, but there are definitely some recurring and interrelated ideas. I like the take by bookends as well, I think that message is there - they compliment the potential of singing of love, lament the fact that people aren't/weren't truly listening, and criticize the artists for failing to see their own role in the downfall of their movement.

    As an aside, I have to say that this is a great song off a truly classic album - a timeless masterpiece, I say.
    McManuson July 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought that Crime of the Century was a concept album in a way. About a man who grows up and loses a few marbles along the way and is convicted of a crime and in the end he pays dearly due to everyone's mistakes.
    leegeddyfanon January 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt seems relevant today with the concerns about the environment especially man-made climate change, 'if everyone was listening, there'd be a chance that we could save the show'.
    IntravenusDeMiloon September 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song was a representation of the state of the band at that time. Their benefactor (Sam), who had paid for everything including European tours and through two unsuccessful albums, had moved on. The band was broke and their contract only gave them one more chance.

    Those were dark times for the lads, who were starting to doubt whether or not what they had was good enough ('How do you plead, an actor indeed! Go re-learn your lines!)

    They put everything they had on the line to make 'Crime of the Century'. Fortunately, it paid off, but there was no guarantee it would. I think this was Roger's curtain call, his last song if things didn't take off, and his plea of 'don't let the curtain fall' was hoping for another chance.
    ctlizyrdon September 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how humanity is playing a play...

    ''There raising the curtain, and no-one's quite certain whose play it is''
    Well its the play of life...

    Choose your role... Good or bad... Big or Small...

    I think the last clown represents the final decieving...Like the 666, or whoever will give the earth the last blow...

    Plz dont let the curtain fall... Start thinking and listening

    The play isnt gooing anywhere and we can change it, but no one is listening...
    bookends_smileon February 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is life in general. We all take on the project or community as if we were the brightest; the answer to it all. So we plunge ahead with an ill advised plan because in our arrogance we are certain we are the smartest. In America we cannot listen or work together . Each party uses dirty tricks and deception to undermine the work of the other party. It is sickening. When will we ever reach across the isle? Half of the country can't be stupid. We need each other; need to listen now.
    Gnich40on May 03, 2017   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationFrom reading the lyrics over and over, and those on the entire album I felt this song was about how we could stop nuclear war from happening if we would just listen. "Who will be the last Clown to bring the house down" and "Don't let the Curtain Fall" to me sounds like "which country will be foolish enough to use nuclear weapons, that may lead to our end." and "don't let this happen"
    AlanCRossion July 26, 2012   Link

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