"40,000 Headmen" as written by and Steve/capaldi Winwood....
Forty thousand headmen couldn't make me change my mind
If I had to take the choice between the deafman and the blind
I know just where my feet should go and that's enough for me
I turned around and knocked them down and walked across the sea.

Hadn't traveled very far when suddenly I saw
Three small ships a-sailing out towards a distant shore
So lighting up a cigarette I followed in pursuit
And found a secret cave where they obviously stashed their loot.

Filling up my pockets, even stuffed it up my nose
I must have weighed a hundred tons between my head and toes
I ventured out before the dawn had time to change its mind
And soaring high above the cloud I found a golden shrine.

Laying down my treasure before the iron gate
Quickly rang the bell hoping I hadn't come too late
But someone came along and told me not to waste my time
And when Iasked him who he was he said, 'Just look behind.'

So I turned around and forty thousand headmen hit the dirt
Firing twenty shotguns each and man, it really hurt
But luckily for me they had to stop and then reload
And by the time they'd done that I was heading down the road.

Lyrics submitted by HippoMan

"40,000 Headmen" as written by Steve Winwood Jim Capaldi

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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40,000 Headmen song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentHeadman Shabalala was a member of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a group that Traffic allegedly stole some riffs from. Winwood and Capaldi felt guilty about this and wrote this song about being pursued by an army of Headmen. The stashed loot refers to the money they made on the stolen riffs. Obviously, though, they did not feel guilty enough to give back the loot, and escaped while their pursuers were reloading.
    DaveDaGoonon August 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThis is a wonderful inspired song. It's obviously about a dream but it has topic value as well. It teaches that things in life are not attained unless you are willing to step away from the usual boring humdrum rat race and take real chances, venture out; find your destiny, don't just sit and let the future come to you or you may later suffer deep disparaging remorse. The first verse sets the tone that way. The other verses are like a dream and are totally cool. Yo, awesome song indeed!
    jviceroyon June 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou have to understand that Traffic's first three albums came out at the height of the psychedelic period of the 60's. 40,000 Headmen was a fantasy that meshed perfectly with the LSD mindset. The interpretations are great, showing that songs like this have longevity.
    if6ws9on June 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentawesome song. why does nobody ever comment on the good songs??
    lzphishheadon April 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of those guys was probably reading some of Jack London's South Sea Tales.
    jeremiadon January 27, 2016   Link

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