"What a Wonderful Man" as written by and Jim James....
He was leading us through the dark.
He was saying that "love goes on."
I was wanting some "ice cream."
He knew exactly what I meant.

From the drivers seat in the dark
He popped a tape in the dash of his car.
And when the singers started to scream
I knew exactly what he meant.

I never knew for sure
What a wonderful man he was.
What a sensible man he was.
What a marvelous man he was.

Why do we love what is wrong?
Big devil told us to sing along.
And like a loving flock we obey.
Except for him
He went his own way

I never knew for sure
What a wonderful man he was.
Till the day I found out his cause
Was to do it all for us.


Lyrics submitted by positive_tension

"What a Wonderful Man" as written by Jim James

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  • +2
    General CommentI read somewhere that Jimmy wrote this song for a deceased friend of his that had killed himself. He wrote it because he was sick of hearing sad songs about dead people especially since there are always good things to remember about them.
    He wanted to write a kinda tribute that celebrated his friend..

    This was all in magazine I read which had an interview with MMJ's front man.. He said something that stuck with me:
    He said that depressed people are put on anti depressants too soon and that no-one should ever feel that life is so bad that they have to take they're own life.
    He said, if things get real low, move town, leave the country, start again, do anything but don't go kill yourself.
    Makes sense doesn't it!
    SofiaOon January 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment*Dodante, not Gideon
    personmanthingguyon September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutely love this song! No idea what it's about but... I love it!
    adamxantoson February 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always gets the idea that this is some kind of religious song where what a wonderful man is a reference to jesus.
    I don't really think that's what Jim thought when he penned it down but some parts in the lyrics, the chorus and the third verse is really close on target.
    yellow_ledbetteron February 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentParts of this song made me think of Bill Hicks particularly with lines like 'Love goes on', 'Sensible man' and with the references to the 'Flock' these all match as references to or adapted quotes from the great man himself. I know the song really has nothing to do with this though.

    In reality it is about a friend of the band who passed away. The friend was a 'Wonderful Man' you see and Jim realised this more after losing him.

    Great, great song.
    chesterchumlyon April 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about tony little. At least to me. He knows exactly what I mean.
    nicoloon August 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSofiaO, I think you're mostly right, but I believe Gideon was about the same person. You can't exactly say that's a happy song. >_>
    personmanthingguyon September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe either this song or "look at you" (although I'm fairly certain Look at You is about Jesus Christ) is about Jim's friend from Kentucky who passed away. Jim was in a band (I forget the name) that was definitely more raw and almost punk sounding before MMJ. His friend passed away and he wrote this song about him.

    Yauson October 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionI have a very rare, special & unique insight into this song. I know many people involved both personally & loosely as acquaintances. It is abt a friend who died. He had several clandestine, discreet, NSA homosexual relationships when straight men, curious, experimenting or just horny.
    First off, these lyrics are wrong in VERY bad ways! A closer look @ what is actually said tells a far more revealing picture about the relationship btwn Jimmy & his dead friend & possibly why he committed suicide. This together w/ other songs talks about Jimmy's homosexual exploration. Only in the lyrics, it is reminiscent of Morrissey's "Come Back to Camden" (also about gay exploration among straight working men) where he also says, "I knew, I just knew" & here Jimmy's saying, "I knew exactly what he meant" & "I wanted ice cream, he knew exactly what i meant" Even the scenario MMJ paints of two guys driving in a car listing to music & interpreting for deeper meaning...a little gay I say- which is ok & even cool! "he lead us through the dark (sexual exploration)...love goes on (evolves & can be more than man & woman- it can be man & man) "I was wanting some ice cream, he knew exactly what I meant" (Not only is Jimmy saying he needed to "cool dwn" cuz' he was getting "too hot" thus, wanting ice cream. As for the double entendre, I'll let u do the research about what this references. Check Urban Dictionary Gay Terms- but its GAY! Trust me!) The references to the devilishness & how they go along for a while, but then his friend goes his own way. By go his own way I think MMJ says he couldn't reconcile his perceived "Evil Urges" (the title of the following album) & committed suicide "I knew for sure" (that his frnd was gay; they had sex) The lyrics above INCORRECTLY say he says "NEVER knew..." That's just wrong & that changes the message in a MAJOR way "the day I found out his cause" (suicide resulting frm gay shame. MMJ endorses the Tyler Clemte Memorial the Trevor Project) Also, "he did it for all of us" is saying his suicide was to protect others from scandal & disgrace. MAJOR OMISSIONS in these lyrics include "What a sensuous Man!" @ 1:30 in the song. Also another MAJOR & VERY TELLING OMISSIONS are the last words of the song. Then the song's final words "A beast to suck him off! YEAH!!!" I encourage everybody to back & look @ much of MMJ's work. Its very progressive & discusses @ the very least flirting w/ homosexuality. And, not in a black & white sorta' way. Human emotions, attractions & sexuality is FAR more complex than gay/str8/bi. At different points in life those distinctions blur for a multitude of personal reasons. MMJ puts that to art & music & encourages us to explore through dialogue- IF you can interpret the lyrics & their intentions properly. Here are the corrected lyrics:

    He was leading us thru the dark.
    He was sayin' that "love goes on."
    I was wanting some "ice cream."
    He knew exactly what I meant.
    From the driver's seat in the dark. He popped a tape in the dash of his car.
    And when the singer started to scream.
    I knew exactly what he meant.
    I never knew for sure, what a wonderful man he was.
    What a sensible man he was.
    What a wonderful man he was.
    I knew for sure,
    what a wonderful man he was.
    What a sensuous man he was.
    What a wonderful man he was.
    Why do we love what is wrong?
    big devil told us to sing along.
    And like a loving flock we obey,
    except 4 him, he went his own way.
    I knew for sure, what a wonderful man he was.
    Till the day I found out his cause, was to do it for all of us
    a beast to suck him off
    steventoddon October 13, 2011   Link

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