"The Bewlay Brothers" as written by and David Bowie....
And so the story goes they wore the clothes
They said the things to make it seem improbable
Whale of a lie like they hope it was

And the good men tomorrow had their feet in the wallow
And their heads of brawn were nicer shorn
And how they bought their positions with saccharin and trust
And the world was asleep to our latent fuss
Sighings swirl through the streets like the crust of the sun, the Bewlay Brothers

In our wings that bark
Flashing teeth of brass
Standing tall in the dark
Oh, and we were gone
Hanging out with your dwarf men
We were so turned on
By your lack of conclusions

I was stone and he was wax so he could scream and still relax
Unbelievable
And we frightened the small children away
And our talk was old and dust would flow
Through our veins and though it was midnight back at the kitchen door
Like the grim face on the cathedral floor
The solid book we wrote cannot be found today
And it was stalking time for the moon boys, the Bewlay Brothers

With our backs on the arch
And if the Devil may be here
But he can't sing about that
Oh, and we were gone
Real cool traders
We were so turned on
You thought we were fakers

And now the dress is hung, the ticket pawned
The factor max that proved the fact is melted down
Woven on the edging of my pillow
And my brother lays upon the rocks
He could be dead, he could be not, he could be you
He's chameleon, comedian, Corinthian and caricature
Shooting up pie in the sky
Bewlay brothers
In the feeble, in the bad
Bewlay brothers

In the blessed and cold
In the crutch-hungry dark
Was where we flayed our mark
Oh, and we were gone
Kings of Oblivion
We were so turned on
In the night walk pavilion

Lay me place and bake me pie I'm starving for me gravy
Leave my shoes, and door unlocked I might just slip away

Just for the day, ay
Please come away, ay
Just for the day, ay
Please come away, ay
Please come away, ay
Just for the day, ay
Please come away, ay
Please come away, ay
Please come away, ay
Please come away, ay
Away
Away


Lyrics submitted by lauramars, edited by EnglishNic, jbalakhdar, hop, EasyMeat

"The Bewlay Brothers" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

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The Bewlay Brothers song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about David Bowie's step brother who was committed when David was still very young. I think his name was Terry or something. Well, Terry bought him a saxophone and talked his mom into paying for the lessons. He was also the one who suggested that he change his name. Telling him that he would be confused and compared to the Monkeys drummer; David Jones.

    This song is about his mixed feelings about his brother, in the last couple lines of the song you can see that he's talking about Terry being schizophrenic.

    In 1986 (Some years after the release of this album . ) His brother killed himself. He did not attend the funeral afraid that he would bring the press with him.. David said in an interview shortly after marrying Emon: "...Theres still ways that I'm not sure how to approach them, and I'm still trying to address the situation, because for me it was quite traumatizing."

    Terry first appears in 'The Man Who Sold The World.' album in the song "All the madmen" Then on this song and then in a song on 'Black Tie White Noise' called "Jump they say."
    CrossbowProphecyon January 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirst of all, the lyrics seem to be incorrect. Bowie's own notes say "he can't sing above that", not "about that".

    Bowie wrote that the song is simply intended to make no sense, but since he said that after taking on his trickster role and probably wanted to fend off questioning about the song, and the actual song seems brutally sincere and vivid and was part of his most brutally honest record, I don't believe that comment.

    Third, the song contains religious imagery and sexual connotations that cannot be ignored. "The cathedral floor" "Corinthian and Caricature" "the devil may be here" "the blessed and cold", "with our backs on the arch", "real cool traders", "so turned on" "flayed our mark".

    Allusions to secrecy: "the solid book we wrote cannot be found today" "the dress was hung the ticket pawned, the factor max that proved the fact is melted down"..

    One things seems apparent, these guys are together through everything, In the feeble in the bad, in the devil may be here, in the blessed and cold, etc.

    That, and the secrecy and darkness, is all I can come up with for now.
    tmw009on November 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy god I don't know if I want to know completely. It seems purposefully shrouded in cryptic imagery about something dark in his past. I get the idea that he's talking about the older men that seduced him into a world of drugs and cross-dressing and what not. He talks about "dust in the veins" and "shooting up," and the whole thing is in the past tense and has a nostalgic ring to it. He says "we were so turned on by..." and "you thought we were fakers." He must be talking about older friends or just more experienced friends who showed them the morbid yet apparently somewhat beautiful underworld of heavy drugs and perverted sex that he was apparently a part of. One thing's for sure: this ain't the New Kids on the Block.
    jtatfsuon January 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout his own brother, who was committed? Fab lyrics, also fab use of the electric guitar on the chorus - so haunting and beautiful
    nagromnaion February 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhy doesn't anyone post on bowie? I love this song, i just don't really get it- unfortunately. I might spend some more time translating it, but it guess it wont help much.

    About the underworld of drugs and perverted sex- i don't think it would be past tense if it was about that. The album is (as far as i remember) from 1971.

    I thought it was about being different and trying to rebel, and when you weren't alone it was a easier. It micht be about love too. I don't know
    christina201288on May 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a sad song, it's about his step brother who was taken away to a mental institution. I love the sense of rebellion in this song, it makes me think of childhood, but more what Bowie's childhood would have been. The line -
    I was stone and he was wax
    So he could scream, and still relax, unbelievable
    is just brilliant. Bowie always sounds like an outsider, on this song it sounds like his brother was an outsider with him.
    siradskion May 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, it is albout instanity and his step brother. I think this is about the most personal Bowie song he has. I think he lets the veil down on this one and we get a glimpse into madness. Powerful song and very personal. Love the way he uses organ and background vocals to give effect.
    Motown1on September 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttmw009 is right. Bowie wrote this to make no sense.
    I read some where that Ken Scott(his manager at the time) said it was great because it would get the americans to find the hiden meanings it coz they like to read into things.

    i love the song to bits...especially the 'kings of oblivion'part!
    ziggy_who?on May 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpoignant.

    probably some of the greatest words i've ever read.

    it's an insult that only 9 replies have been made.
    heartshotsupernovaon June 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI completely agree, It is such a shame that only so many people have commented on such a brilliantly written song. The imagery evoked by this song are so real---I love
    "Now my brother lays upon the rocks
    He could be dead, he could be not
    He could be you"

    Plus, Bowie has the most smooth and naturally beautiful voice.
    WarholMetricSystemon November 26, 2008   Link

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