"Billy Brown" as written by and Michael Holbrook Penniman....
Oh, Billy Brown had lived an ordinary life
Two kids, a dog and the precautionary wife
While it was all going accordingly to plan
Then Billy Brown fell in love with another man

He met his lover almost every single day
Making excuses through his dodgy holiday
Unto religion that he said he newly found
They didn't know that his faith was earthly bound

Brown, oh, Billy Brown
Don't let the stars get you down
Don't let the waves let you drown

Brown, oh, Billy Brown
Gonna pick you up like a paper cup
Gonna shake the water out of every nook
Oh, Billy Brown

Oh, Billy Brown needed a place somewhere to go
He found an island off the coast of Mexico
Leaving his lover and his family behind
Oh, Billy Brown needed to find some peace of mind

And on his journey and his travels on the way
He met a girlie who was brave enough to say
When they made love he shared the burden of his mind
Oh, Billy Brown you are a victim of the times

Brown, oh, Billy Brown
Don't let the stars get you down
Don't let the waves let you drown

Brown, oh, Billy Brown
Gonna pick you up like a paper cup
Gonna shake the water out of every nook
Oh, Billy Brown

Brown, oh, Billy Brown
Gonna pick you up like a paper cup
Gonna shake the water out of every nook
Oh, Billy Brown

Oh, Billy Brown had lived an ordinary life
Two kids, a dog and the precautionary wife
While it was all going accordingly to plan
Then Billy Brown fell in love with another man


Lyrics submitted by jonisofsparta, edited by queertopia

"Billy Brown" as written by Michael Holbrook Penniman

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Billy Brown song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think the song is along the same lines as what people have previously said, being sexually confused, but I think that "He met a girlie who was brave enough to say,
    When they made love he shared the burden of his mind.
    Oh Billy Brown you are a victim of the times. " is more speaking of the fact that people are made to choose a label, gay straight, or otherwise, and then have problems trying to live up to that image, instead of just living their lives openly.

    I think him being a victim of the times is about how he basically destroyed his own life because he couldn't live with a lie, but also couldn't commit to his "secret life" because it wasn't right for him. And then he met this girl that's like "You poor guy, twisting yourself up for no good reason"

    I really didn't mean to go that in depth with an analysis. Damn you, Mika :-D

    I really do like his music, though. He has a brilliant way of making the most depressing thing into a happy format.
    Mystnmiston March 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMika explained his setiments towards the song here:

    I just thought it was a brilliant story to put into a pop song — the idea of a man leaving his wife for another man. I really don’t know why it hasn’t been done before.

    When you’re writing songs, you always want to play with intrigue and you always want to pull certain strings. The point of writing pop music is that, in a way, you can write about anything.

    And it’s amazing how many younger listeners really love it and really identify with this little character Billy Brown, this cartoon character.

    A few of my cousins are all around 12 to 15 years old. This is their favourite song. They find it funny and sweet.
    Del Marquison April 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty sure it's "precautionary wife" rather than "cautionary". It makes more sense, and there's obviously a syllable before that phrase. "Precautionary" would mean to keep others from thinking he was gay to start with. "Cautionary", on dictionary.com, means "of the nature of or containing a warning", which doesn't make much sense.

    As for the girlie on the island, I think it was meant to be punctuated like this:

    He met a girlie who was brave enough to say,
    "When they made love he shared the burden of his mind.
    Oh Billy Brown you are a victim of the times."

    Meaning, she thought that when he made love with this man, Billy Brown was freed of the burden of keeping his sexuality hidden. And the fact that he HAD that burden in the first place made him a "victim of the times".
    amaleesunshineon May 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen you copy and paste lyrics... at least check them out.
    I think you'll find it's 'dodgy' holiday, 'unto his faith he said he'd duty found' and maybe his faith was 'earthly' bound?
    Kinda narrative song with a clear meaning, the guy realises he's gay, but tries to hide from it and ignore it?
    The chorus suggests it may be kinda applicable to a larger range of things, basically, be who you are, and don't feel forced to change yourself because of what others think and say. do what's natural?
    Avatar-rockon January 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the proposed changing of lyrics, and actually created this account for the purpose of righting them myself. Glad to see that someone else is paying attention. :)

    I think the version I have might be different? Because the lyrics in the one I'm listening to are definitely "On some relgion that he said newly found." instead of, "Unto his faith..." Aside from that possible difference, I agree with Avatar-rock's revisions.
    yes_justloveon February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song.. definately my favourite Mika one.. im surprised theres hardly any comments here.. im hoping mika releases this as a single.. this is pure genius and the tune is so frikken catchy.. but in a good way!!
    i hum this all the time!!
    and as for the meaning.. well i think the song speaks for itself.. its written so simply and easy to understand, unlike most sings these days..
    Mika is a genius!!
    -Lisa
    5thgairon March 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*songs these days
    ** sorry im a shitty typer
    5thgairon March 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI definitely hope this song gets released as a single because it will be a controversy in music and that will make Mike stand out for who he is. The entire cd, which I got upon day of release *yesterday*, is absolutely amazing. I love Mika. He's incredibly talented.
    bluchickenlvr04on March 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit has great lyrics. "it was all going according to plan, then billy brown fell in love with another man"
    sedativeon March 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFYI,

    if that is straight from Mika's own mouth in some interview, I'm surprised he didnt also put in what he said in another interview. When asked if it was autobiographical, Mika said "No, it's actually about a friend I knew."

    Billy Brown isnt just a character.
    bluchickenlvr04on April 09, 2007   Link

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