"Advertising Space" as written by Robert Peter Williams and Stephen Duffy....
There's no earthly way of knowing
What was in your heart when it stopped going
The whole world shook
A storm was blowing through you

Waiting for God to stop this
And up to your neck in darkness
Everyone around you was corrupted
Say something

There's no dignity in death
To sell the world your last breath
We're still fighting
Over everything you left

I saw you standing at the gates
When Marlon Brando passed away
You had that look upon your face
Advertising space

No one learned from your mistakes
We let our prophets go to waste
All that's left in any case
Is advertising space

Through your eyes the world was burning
"Please be gentle, I'm still learning"
You seemed to say as you kept turning up

They poisoned you with compromise
But at what point did you realize
Everybody loves your life but you?

A special agent for the man
Through Watergate and Vietnam
No one really gave a damn
Do you think the C.I.A. did?

I saw you standing at the gates
When Marlon Brando passed away
You had that look upon your face
Advertising space

No one learned from your mistakes
We let our prophets go to waste
All that's left in any case
Is advertising space

No one learned from your mistakes
We let our prophets go to waste
All that's left in any case
Is advertising space

I've seen your daughter man
She's cute
I was scared but I wanted to
Boy, she looks a lot like you


Lyrics submitted by minimoorcroft

"Advertising Space" as written by Robert Williams Stephen Duffy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Advertising Space song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentPersonally i feel that, yes the song is about Elvis ,there're many referneces to him in the song (not to mention the video)

    .1. 'What's in your heart when its' stopped going.' Elvis died of a heart attack, althought there have been many contradicting theories.

    .2. 'Their still fighting over, everything you left' Maybe about all elvis's possesions being sold - everybody wanted a piece of him.

    .3.'Advertising Space' Message of emptiness- space to advertise and/or in reference to the many media endorsements the 'elvis image' has been used in. For example countless songs being remixed , merchandise.

    .4. 'Everybody loves your life,But you.' It was always thought that Elvis had depression in his later years, he found coping with fame difficult and turned to drug use.

    .5.I've seen your daughterr man she's cute,I was scared but i wanted to.Boy she looks a lot like you. '
    Reference to lisa marie presley, who does bear a striking resemblance to Elvis.

    .6.'There's no dignity in death,' Elvis was said to have died on a toilet which has been made into a joke e.g. eminems video

    7.' Marlon brando' Elvis and Brando were around in the same era it was often a case of whose better looking, i presume they're friends or have some link to each other.
    Underground0on December 20, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment1. "Special agent for the man,
    through Watergate and Vietnam"
    This refers to Elvis writing a letter to President Nixon in autumn of 1970 requesting to be made a federal agent.
    In December of that year he met with Nixon and recieved his badge making him an agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (Later to become the DEA). Thus he was an agent through Watergate (1972-1974) and at least some of the Vietnam war (1957-1975) until his supposed death in 1977.
    Despite being made an agent, he didn't have much of an impact on the war on drugs. - Perhaps because "No one really gave a damn".

    2. "And up to your neck in darkness"
    This could be another reference to Elvis' depressions.

    3. "To sell the world your last breath"
    Possibly a reference to the theories (by Albert Goldman amongst others) that Elvis killed himself by overdosing on drugs, and that the evidence was removed before paramedics arrived. To sell something usually indicates that you have a choice, which you would have in a suicide.
    The lines "waiting for God to stop this, and up to your neck in darkness" from the previous verse also seems to point towards suicide, since he is waiting for God to do something, but is so depressed that he cannot go on.
    On the other hand it could also refer to Elvis performances (the last of which came 3 weeks before his death) in which he, metaphorically speaking, gave his last breath to the world.

    4. "I saw you standing at the gates"
    This could double as a slight reference to the numerous Elvis sightings over the years. I still agree that the explanation made by the_wombat above is the primary one though.

    5. "No one learned from your mistakes,
    We let our profits go to waste".
    Probably a reference to Elvis management contract with Colonel Parker which secured Parker 50% of Elvis' earnings. And of course artists still get caught up in unfair deals with record companies and managers today.
    It could also refer to the money Elvis wasted on i.e. prescription drugs. Perhaps Robbie also feels that he has wasted money on too many useless things.
    Sphinxeron January 07, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentjaja-:
    Hey there,
    Sorry if I explain something you know, but you didn't say exactly which words you didn't understand.

    Basicly what Underground0 is saying is that "advertising space" is an empty space (like in a news paper, or on a sign at the side of the road) where ads can be placed.. So "You had that look upon your face - Advertising space" would mean to have a blank look in the face. She thinks this could be about how Elvis is being used today. For example, people are still selling things related to Elvis, "best of"-collections, making remixes of his songs and so on. And many times the image of Elvis is being used to sell things that has nothing to do with him or his music.

    My explanation of the "Special agent for the man"-part of the song was that in 1970 Elvis asked the President of the USA to be made an agent because he believed he could help. ("the man" usually means the president, the government, or some other group of people with a lot of power).
    Elvis was made an agent by Richard Nixon who was the president at that time. Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam war (search wikipedia or google if you don't know about these two things, it's too complicated to explain in a short way) and they both happened while Elvis was an agent.
    "No one really gave a damn" means that even though Elvis was made an agent, nobody cared about it, not even the CIA (The American Central Intelligence Agency).

    Hope this explains it better. :)
    Sphinxeron January 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthat's what i thought.
    Skunkfishon December 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I saw you standing at the gates,
    When Marlon Brando passed away"

    I think the explanation for this can be found in the next line, "No-one learned from your mistakes". He's saying that when Brando died - old, fat, a shadow of his former self destroyed, by indulgence and addiction - he was reminded of Elvis. They had both led glamorous lives and met less than glamorous ends. Brando had not learned the lessons of Elvis' life.

    I also love the line about realising everybody loved your life but you.
    the_wombaton December 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI dont think it is about Elvis. Elvis died in 1977 and Marlon Brando died in 2004......so couldnt have "seen (Elvis) standing at the gates when Marlon Brando passed away"
    kmehon June 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentok let me try to {hopefully} clear up some confusion about the Marlon Brando reference.

    Like some others mentioned, elvis and brando were of the same era and quite similar personality wise- rebels/sex symbols. I think elvis was onces described as "Marlon brando with a guitar".

    "And no one learned from your mistakes,
    The little prophets go to waste.
    All that's left in any case,
    Is advertising space."

    Elvis was the prophet, people didn't/wouldn't learn from his mistakes. Like elvis had died depressed/fat/addicted to drugs so too did Brando.

    Robbie Williams is hypothesising that could elvis look at how things havn't changed since he died, he would be disapointed that he died in vain and all he, and his fellow celebrities are good for are advertising space.
    star_lacedon September 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionHis favorite actors were James Dean, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando - who ironically strongly disliked Presley.

    I copied and pasted this from the website IMDB.com. Brando was one of Elvis's idols. I've heard and read that many of times.
    elvisfan76on August 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is very good. i like the lines:
    There's no dignity in death,
    To sell the world your last breath.
    Your still fighting over everything you left,
    this will be another great song
    Factory3on December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the ??? line is. 'd'you think the C.I.A. did?'
    Skunkfishon December 14, 2005   Link

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