"Master And Slave" as written by and Steve Perry....
No pennies from heaven, no pennies in my hand
Think your drinkin' wine, Dad, it's blood of the lamb
That's no way to treat your son now is it, Abraham
After he busted his ass for you
You've never known no hunger, never took a risk
Through you know you should, you know you'd never raise a fist
If the boss asked you to jump you know
You'd find the nearest cliff
That man talks down to you
And you talk down to me too now

Master and Slave in equal parts
split down the middle,
drinkin' doubles at the bar
Master and Slave,
God bless you both
I got two for the price of one

Master and Slave in equal parts
split down the middle,
drinkin' doubles at the bar
Master and Slave,
God bless you both
I got two for the price of one
Such a deal for your only son

When will this tension be all over
For fallen sons and fathers too
I'm down to my last dime
No faith in mankind
c'mon let's swing into the groove...

Like Jack Horner wrapped up in a corner
But I never saw a slice of no pie
Ooh, too busy standin' in line
Just waitin' for bread
But the father he walks the water
He ain't never tossed a nickel to his son
Ain't I your prodigal boy?
Ain't I your pride and joy?

Friends and Romans, I'm your brother
I'm scratchin' to hang on
The pursuit of happiness is just a carpetbaggers con
When a can of pork and beans could change my attitude
You won't give it up but I coulda been you
While the masters and slaves scratch
For pieces of the dream
For purple mountain majesties
Whatever the hell that means
They give up on each other
And that's the way they get ahead
But I can still see the stars
Through these red, white, and blue prison bars

Master and Slave in equal parts
split down the middle,
drinkin' doubles at the bar
Master and Slave,
God bless you both
I got two for the price of one

Master and Slave in equal parts
split down the middle,
drinkin' doubles at the bar
Master and Slave,
God bless you both
I got two for the price of one
Such a deal for your only son

Master and slave
Master and slave
Ooh, Master and slave

Lyrics submitted by JoKeR4MeNToR

"Master and Slave" as written by Steve Perry

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Master And Slave song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentTo me the song is more about a father referring his anger at being trodden on at work into treading on his own son when he comes home, sung from the son's perspective. Sick of being the slave at work to his bosses (and always doing what he gets told to do, without question), he hypocritically acts the same way towards his own son, giving him no help but demanding everything.

    So the father is both master and slave, finding it hard to cope with the dual responsibilities of work and home. The father may see his "success" as being down entirely to his own hard work and so uses the tough love approach to the son, not giving him any help/money to start on his way in the world at all being "I never got that when I was young", unfortunately this is leading to a downward spiral in the son.

    The Abraham line refers to his own father's attitude. Abraham's son worked hard for his father, and Abraham loved his son, but as soon as Abraham's master (God) ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham was willing to do this - sacrificing the ones he loves to appease those above him.

    "Friends and Romans" is a line from Shakespeare's Julias Ceasar, where Mark Anthony turns the mob (the proletariat) against the upper class conspirators. This could be taken as a call to arms (like a lot of the American-based phrases mentioned above) to change the way that the system works. The song suggests that the only way to make it in America (the pursuit of happyness) is to step on those below you, forget about them and schmooze with those above you. However the narrator still retains a glimmer of hope in the end "I can still see the stars" (although this could be taken more literally to mean that in prison he can literally see stars at night)
    Gremeon January 16, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI cant believe no one has commented, this song fuken rules!
    Lyrics are pretty self explanatory.the boundaries between a master and slave
    MikePattonRuleson September 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthahahhaha try that again

    look deeper, this song is not just about any ordinary master or slave
    Eruapadionon January 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song's not simply about an ordinary 'master and slave,' but I can't figure out what it's about. There's Biblical references: wine and lamb's blood, Abraham (who was a prolific father), the prodigal son, walking on water.

    But there's also a lot of American references and iconography: the pursuit of happiness (an inalienable right, according to the Declaration of Independence), and carpetbaggers (after the American Civil War, some Northerners moved into the weakened South in order to exploit it for personal and political gain; they were called 'carpetbaggers' because they supposedly packed all their stuff into a cheap bag made of carpet and rushed South to take advantage of what they could), purple mountain majesties (from the song 'America the Beautiful'), stars and red, white (and blue) bars.

    I almost want to interpret it as a condemnation of those who dismiss the poor as lazy when they themselves never had to struggle with being poor--it's a poor man telling a middle-class one that it's easy to look down your nose at me because "You've never known hunger, you've never took a risk/If the boss asked you to jump , you know you'd find the nearest cliff": you're as much a slave to your meager job as I am to poverty.

    I'm not totally sure what it's about, though. For a band whose bread and butter were songs about sex, drugs, and violence, this is a pretty deep song.
    ProfessorKnowItAllon March 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've been thinking about this more, and since nobody else will comment, I'll use this place as a scratchpad:

    "Master and slave, in equal parts/Split down the middle, drinkin' doubles at the bar" -- Not two people, but one person who feels like they're "split down the middle:" part master, part slave, and maybe "drinking doubles at the bar" because of the stress.

    There's a lot of mentions of sons and fathers, too: Abraham and his (unspecified) son, the prodigal son, "Such a deal for your only son," "Never tossed a nickel to his son, " "Think you're drinkin' wine, dad, it's blood of a lamb," "For fallen sons and fathers, too")

    There's also a common thread about being poor: "No pennies from heaven, no pennies in my hand," (i.e. having nothing and getting no help) "Never saw a slice of no pie/Too busy standing in line, just waiting for bread," "Never tossed a nickel to his son", "I'm scratching to hang on" (financially?), "when a can of pork-and-beans can change my attitude"--when I'm so broke and hungry that basic amenities like cheap food are a luxury to me--and every chorus ends in "Two for the price of one"--a bargain.

    The album this is originally off of, "Ferociously Stoned", has a couple of songs about an abusive past ("Drunk Daddy" and arguably "Answering Machine" for its "Daddy daddy daddy what's your problem?" chorus) and rising up from bad conditions ("Up From the Gutter").

    But how all the Bible references, American iconography, split personality, thematic continuity of the album, and rich/poor dichotomy fit together is still unclear to me.

    Is it another abused-son-pissed-at-his-father rant? Perhaps the father is a hypocritical preacher; hence, the Biblical references: the son feels angry at his father's poor treatment ("that's no way to treat your son, now is it, Abraham?") and refusal to help him out in life ("No pennies from heaven...," "Never tossed a nickel to his son"), and throws the father's two-facedness back at him ("Ain't I your prodigal boy?") .

    But then, what does this have to do with American iconography and slaves, as well as the opening verse about how whoever the protagonist of the song is addressing is a coward who's "never known no hunger..."? Besides, would a priest or preacher really have a condescending, psychotic 'boss'? (And would the boss be the next step up on the Church's hierarchy, or God Itself?)

    ProfessorKnowItAllon March 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentProfessor Knowitall has gotten what appears to me a closer touch on the song.

    I honestly have no idea what its about, but my ex said its a reference to a book "East of Eden." Which is about a man who has twins (Two for the Price of one.) and his wife leaves him and he get all depressed.

    I'm not entirely sure if thats true, seeing as I've never read the book, but from what she said, it makes sense.

    The biblical reference I assume is the man referencing to God that he never helped his son, and the same with the father/son quotes.
    The Master and slave is him with his depression. He's a Master of it, meaning he can deal with it when he wants, but he's also a slave to it. Same with the doubles at the bar.

    The references to American iconography and being poor, is the man lives on a farm, and I assume it is set in the past.

    This is just what I've heard, not entirely sure if its true.
    Scurveyon March 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the differences between the poor and the well off. I think it's from a point of view of a poor person who realizes that he's getting screwed by the system, and he realizes that, in the Bible, God (the master) always seemed to screw over his followers (Jesus, Abraham). So he realizes he can do nothing about it, that's it just the way it is.
    CFaz23on May 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me, this song has always been a Biblical one about Abraham, his son and God.
    I think that ''I got two for the price of one'' is God talking about Abraham and his song - God saying that he knows that they will do everything for him.
    I think I first have to read the Bible story to be completely sure, because there's also a lot about poor/rich people in it, and I have no idea whether or not that's in the story.

    One of my favs by this band.
    Plottoberryon November 12, 2010   Link

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