"Good Old Bill" as written by Shepherd Rupert Alexander J. Jarvis, Robert Dylan Thomas, Orlando Thomas Penhale Weeks, Felix White and Hugo White....
Spearmint Rhino was taking our money when Gran was robbed of her own life honey.
The driver-less hornet last post on the trumpet.
His blind, crippled crumpet don't like it but lump it.
The engine won't start without him.
The engine won't start without.

So I went down to Sherry's mod suits and Paul Weller.
All pork pies and drainpipes to wear in all weather.
All of us shed a tear thinking of yesteryear.
Raise whiskey, raise beer, the old boy is not here.
The engine won't start without him.
The engine won't start without.

So he's left us done to the nines with satin for lining and a coating of pine and the engine is broke I can't fix and I've lost all the coals and we're running quite low
And the engine is broke I can't fix and I've lost all the coals and we're running quite low.

Lyrics submitted by blanktom

Good Old Bill song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI like this song, and I'm gonna try and hazard a guess at it's meaning...

    "Spearmint Rhino" is a famous British stripclub chain.

    I presume Gran being robbed of her life honey is her dying, or else her husband dying (read on).

    The de Havilland Hornet is a WWII fighter plane. Driverless i.e. the driver has died.

    "Last Post" is a song, played on the trumpet (or rather bugle), to commemorate war heroes, particularly of world wars.

    His "blind crippled crumpet", I'm a bit unsure of. Crumpet either means a type of snack or a pretty woman - so I will opt for it meaning pretty woman. So his blind crippled wife (?) doesn't like living without her husband who died in the war.

    "The engine won't start without him". She won't do anything without her husband, compares the woman to her husband's fighter plane.

    The narrator get's well dressed in "mod" style, from mod clothing he buys at Sherry's of London. (Paul Weller is a famous mod). He sheds a tear, and toasts to the war hero (his grandfather.)

    The war hero left his family wealthy (well-dressed at least "done to the nines with satin for lining".)

    The war hero's wife is now dying (the narrator's grandmother). Her metaphorical "engine" is running low. The narrator can't fix it.

    Well that's what I managed to figure out, could be wrong. :)
    jonwood1on August 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFantastic!
    gatsbycab4cutieon July 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolutely excellent interpretation jonwood1, I doubt anyone will top that. It fits so nicely. I'd never heard of the Havilland Hornet and that unusual use of "crumpet"!

    mkeion January 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think that's an awesome interpretation, and it makes the song much clearer to me now! Thanks! xx
    lannypopson March 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthave to commend jonwood1 too! such a good interpretation, i had a general gist but your analysis really helped :) my only difference is - maybe the 'satin for lining and a coating of pine' means a coffin? it's pretty morbid i know, but it could make sense. it's an incredible song, lyrically and musically it's so powerful.
    deliciousbiscuiton April 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to their page on Daytrotter,

    'Is the story of my grandfather who gave his traction engine to a museum and then the day he died the museum phoned my
    grandmother for the first time to say that it wasnt working and could Bill come and have a look at it.'
    loisloisloison May 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTriple lois...thats incredible....just...wow...lots of feelings about that.
    ryanfusson July 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit can only be about a train driver due to the line "I've lost all the coals" which is repeated twice in the final verse

    The narrator is searching for the coals in frantic hope of starting a steam engine or otherwise metaphorically reviving Bill, the subject

    perhaps he belives getting the steam engine running will revive his grandfather?

    The coals suggest to me he could not have been a pilot as planes do not run on coal.

    Powerful song with powerful lyrics
    Ollie-Barneson July 23, 2008   Link

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