"Beside Myself" as written by and Ian Anderson....
Small child messing down, messing down
In the streets of Bombay;
Cities like this have no shame, no shame:
Indeed, why should they?

Out in the middle distance, several tragedies are playing.
I'm beside myself.
Big sister, can you hear him, can you hear him?
I'm beside myself.

Big sister, can you see him cry, see him cry?
I'm beside myself.

I saw you taking money in the shadows -
In the shadows by the station there.

I'll wish you up a silver train
To carry you to school, bring you home again.
Strip off that work paint and put a cleaner face on.
I'm beside myself.
Yeah, I'm beside myself.

Hollow faced mother with her babe in arms,
Babe in arms-looks through me.
Behind forgotten charms,
Forgotten charms to soothe me.
Between the guilt and charity -
I feel the wimp inside of me.

I'm beside myself.
Out in the middle distance, still more tragedies are playing.
I'm beside myself.

I'm so proud of you -
Swimming up from the deep blue.
Which one of me do you run to?
I'm beside myself.
I'm beside myself.
I'm beside myself.

Small child messing down, messing down.
In the streets of Bombay.
Cities like this have no shame, have no shame;
Indeed, why should they?
Out in the middle distance, several tragedies are playing.

I'm beside myself.
I'm beside myself.
I'm beside myself.


Lyrics submitted by Krendall2006

"Beside Myself" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Beside Myself song meanings
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    My Opinion"Beside Myself" is a lament. The setting is definitively India ("streets of Bombay"), but the situation could be anywhere where poor people have to struggle everyday to survive. The method of survival here is prostitution, as is implied by "I saw you taking money in the shadows" and "Strip off that work paint (makeup), put on a cleaner face." The purveyors are underage ("Small child messing down") and male ("Big sister can you hear him/Big sister can you see him cry").

    But the song is really about the narrator who sees these things, knows that they are wrong, feels powerless to do anything about them, and wonders if he even should ("Cities like this have no shame, indeed why should they?"). That contradiction, evils that persist because that is how the most desperate of us survive and that is the way it has always been, causes the narrator to be "beside himself" with anger that can find no release ("Between the guilt and charity, I feel the wimp inside of me").

    Musically, I would rate "Beside Myself" up there with the very best of Jethro Tull's songs. Its melody is complex and varied: light when it's required, heavy when it wants to be. It rocks as no other song on "Roots to Branches" does.
    ThreeSongRuleon October 01, 2012   Link

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