"King's Lead Hat" as written by and Brian Eno....
Dark alley (dark alley) black star
Four turkeys in a big black car
The road is shiny (bright shine) the wheels slide
Four turkeys going for a dangerous ride
The lacquer crackles (black tar) the engines roar
A ship was turning broadside to the shore
Splish splash I was raking in the cash
The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface (OOH)
King's lead hat put the innocence inside her, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat was a mother to desire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
In New Delhi (smelly Delhi) and Hong Kong
They all know that it won't be long
I count my fingers (digit counter) as night falls
And draw bananas on the bathroom walls
The killer cycles (humdrum) the killer hertz
The passage of my life is measured out in shirts
Time and motion (motion carried) time and tide
All I know and all I have is time and time and tide is on my side
King's lead hat put the poker in the fire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat was a mother to desire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
The weapon's ready (ready Freddy) the guns purr
The satellite distorts his voice to a slur
He gives orders (finger pie) which no one hears
The king's hat fits over their ears
He takes his modicate (indecipherable) cold turpentine
He tries to dial out 999999999
He dials reception (moving finger) he's all alone
He's just a victim of the telephone
King's lead hat made the Amazon much wider, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat put the poker in the fire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat was a mother to desire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat put the innocence inside her, it will come, it will come, it will surely come
King's lead hat was a hammer to desire, it will come, it will come, it will surely come.


Lyrics submitted by _dandy

"King's Lead Hat" as written by Brian Eno

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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King's Lead Hat song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentAll of eno's songs seem to be puzzles meant to be read many ways. In my mind they always conjure up the most striking imagery.
    SnarkyYarbleson September 30, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhile most of the lyrics are for sound more than meaning, King's Lead Hat is an anagram of Talking Heads, a band Eno took a shine to and ended up producing, as well as striking up a friendship with head Head David Byrne.

    Also note the quotations from a couple of old rock songs:"Splish splash I was raking in the cash" is a nod to "Splish splash I was takin' a bath", from the old Bobby Darin song, and "Time and tide is on my side" is from the Rolling Stones' "Time Is On My Side".
    bugmenot123on July 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel like this song heralds in the coming of science. The King's Lead hat. The idea is ridiculous, like most of our unecessary technology, but I don't feel like Eno condemns it. He's fascinated that the king wears a lead hat. The song seems to divide the album into its "before" and "after" Science parts too.
    paranoid schizoidon October 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation With those lines about weapons and guns giving orders, I think this could be a song about war and "lead hats" could refer to army helmets worn by soldiers, and "king" could refer to a general or government honcho, and the general -- or the government -- is ordering these fine young men to wear these "lead hats" and fight this war.
    CuteSparkinaon December 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDifficult to say huh? I love this song and appreciate being able to see the lyrics to it! I agree there seems to be a war related theme - nuclear war perhaps (lead is a radiation shield). But who are the four turkeys?
    CaptainCapturedon March 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningOur modern world is ruled by reason/science, but Eno wants to escape the tyranny of reason, returning to a time before science...or progressing to a time after science. So don't bust your balls trying to reason out these impressionistic, funny lyrics.
    evolved1on September 23, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionLooks like a song about Men in Black, not the nice 'Will Smith' ones but the really creepy ones.
    Good to see the lyrics after all these years, Lovely site.
    Dubcuton January 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty surprised no-one has pointed out the saliently sexual nature of most of these lyrics; I'm not the kind of guy that reads sex and drugs into most lyrics, but here, the double-entendres come thick and fast ;)

    E.g. "the biology of purpose", the repetition of "it will come", "put the innocence [i.e. a baby] inside her", "put the poker in the fire" etc.

    In fact, part of me wants to interpret the phrase 'king's lead hat' as a sort of futuristic metal condom. Of course, the whole song is probably just an Eno-esque joke, instigated by forming an anagram of 'Talking Heads' and then making a nonsense song out of whatever resulted. He's probably got other songs in the vaults, along the lines of "Stagehand Ilk", "Head Stalking", and "Death's Laking".
    as2191on August 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty surprised no-one has pointed out the saliently sexual nature of most of these lyrics; I'm not the kind of guy that reads sex and drugs into most lyrics, but here, the double-entendres come thick and fast ;)

    E.g. "the biology of purpose", the repetition of "it will come", "put the innocence [i.e. a baby] inside her", "put the poker in the fire" etc.

    In fact, part of me wants to interpret the phrase 'king's lead hat' as a sort of futuristic metal condom. Of course, the whole song is probably just an Eno-esque joke, instigated by forming an anagram of 'Talking Heads' and then making a nonsense song out of whatever resulted. He's probably got other songs in the vaults, along the lines of "Stagehand Ilk", "Head Stalking", and "Death's Laking".
    as2191on August 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty surprised no-one has pointed out the saliently sexual nature of most of these lyrics; I'm not the kind of guy that reads sex and drugs into most lyrics, but here, the double-entendres come thick and fast ;)

    E.g. "the biology of purpose", the repetition of "it will come", "put the innocence [i.e. a baby] inside her", "put the poker in the fire" etc.

    In fact, part of me wants to interpret the phrase 'king's lead hat' as a sort of futuristic metal condom. Of course, the whole song is probably just an Eno-esque joke, instigated by forming an anagram of 'Talking Heads' and then making a nonsense song out of whatever resulted. He's probably got other songs in the vaults, along the lines of "Stagehand Ilk", "Head Stalking", and "Death's Laking".
    as2191on August 16, 2013   Link

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