You try to play cool like you just don't care
But soon I'll be playin' in your underwear
I'm like a mage with the magic spell
You come like a dog when I ring yo' bell
I got the money and I got the fame
You got the hots to ride on my plane
You givin' me all that I desire
'cause down with me I'm taking you higher

I'm the baddest of the bad
I'm the best that you've ever had
I'm the tops, I'm the thing
All the girls get up when I sing, yeah
I'm the meanest in the place
Step up, I'll mess with your face
I don't care where you are
Look up and follow the star

I, I'm gonna tear down the wall
I may not be here when you call
So best be givin' me your all

After the havoc that I'm gonna wreak
No more words will critics have to speak
I've got to answers to the tangled knot
Sleep tight in your cot

Oh baby, I've been told I'm goin' crazy
Oh baby, I can't be held down
Oh baby, somehow I'm keeping it steady
Oh baby, I'm tearing up this town

Hey, this is what I like
Cut my heart with a martyr's spike
Hey, this is nothing new
I've got more than enough for you

I can take on anybody
I can do my thing
I don't wanna hurt nobody
But a bee has got to sting
I'ma fix it if you mix it up
Talk smack, and I'ma gonna shut you up

I am the greatest man that ever lived
I was born to give
I am the greatest man that ever lived, oh
Radioactive

Somebody said all the world's a stage
And each of us is a player
That's what I've been tryin' to tell you
In Act 1 I was struggling to survive
Nobody wanted my action dead or alive
Act 2, I hit the big time
And bodies be all up on my behind
And I can't help myself because I was born to shine
And if you don't like it, you can shove it
But you don't like it, you love it
So I'll be up here in a rage
'til they bring the curtain down on the stage

I'm the greatest man that ever lived
I'm the greatest man that ever lived
I'm the greatest man that ever lived

I am the greatest man that ever lived
I was born to give and give and give
I am the greatest man that ever lived
Radioactive

I am the greatest man that ever lived
I was born to give


Lyrics submitted by whybother737

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn) song meanings
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72 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentAs this song follows 'Troublemaker' as the second song on the album, I think it can be read as a companion piece to that, as a song about dumb, rich, sexist, oversexed rock stars thinking they are the greatest, and that they were simply born to give, to share their talent with us lesser mere mortals. In fact, I thought it might turn into a concept album about that after these first two songs, but it didn't.

    The songs' varied musical styles pay tribute to those different types of artists I think, and there are bits that sound like Limp Bizkit, Green Day (though I think they're friends, and it's not the first time Weezer have sounded like Green Day, in fact I think Rivers studied a lot of their music to see what makes a hit), that band with the singer who looks like a lion whose name I can't think of right now, Kid Rock, any number of rock/rap groups, Blink 182, etc..

    I think in some ways Weezer are parodying those bands, but also maybe paying tribute to their musical styles, or at least it's an affectionate parody, 'cos they do them so well. The choral voice bit sounds quite Beach Boys-y too, and I know Rivers is a big fan, but maybe it has to do with the Shaker hymn I haven't heard, I don't know.

    Also, all the different styles are just an accomplished band having fun playing, and creating something new.

    I still don't know about the radioactive line, or even if that is what he's singing at all, but I can't suggest anything better, so...

    But I think in some ways it's also a warning song about how inflated one's ego can get, when you become a "star". Because I have often found myself singing along and believing the lyrics about myself. It's a very seductive lifestyle, I imagine, being a rock star, and it must be easy to fall into that trap of thinking you're God because everyone is telling you you are, like the Facebook page about Rivers. So there's actually quite a lot going on in something that on first listen can seem quite shallow. That's the genius of Weezer, God bless 'em.

    And that's enough now. I've just finished a nightshift, so none of this probably makes any sense :)
    FishesWillLaughon May 16, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti love the "oh baby" part. rivers has such a great voice
    DaveyMHon May 19, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDID NO ONE CATCH THE VERY OBVIOUS MACBETH REFERENCE?

    The entire song isn't about Cuomo or Weezer, or a mockery of any modern artist. Its about Macbeth!

    The main tipoff is when he says:
    Somebody said all the worlds is stage,
    And each of us is a player.
    That’s what I’ve been tryin’ to tell you.

    This line is a direct reference to Macbeth's reflection on the pointlessness of life when he states:
    Life's but a walking Shadow, a poor Player, That struts and frets his hour upon the Stage, And then is heard no more.

    The Act I and Act II is talking about the progression of Macbeth's character. In Act I he doubted himself and his motivations behind planning to murder the king. In Act II he does the deed and becomes the king.

    Finally, he literally claims the song's character's identity as Macbeth when he states:
    I’m the tops, I’m the king

    The entire song simply tells the perspective of a Macbeth-like character, be him modern or the real Macbeth himself. Its an exploration into the inner ego of someone who fuels his aspirations by solely what he wants and no one else.
    yoshiaryon June 16, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment@Tiresias21: it could still be a reference to Macbeth, although I don't buy the rest of yoshiary's analysis.

    Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5:
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    As You Like It does fit better, but this is evidently what yoshiary was thinking of. I think it's hilarious that Rivers (the English graduate he is) calls Shakespeare "somebody".
    Domsteron July 29, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMove over Bohemian Rhapsody.
    thewordofrashion May 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is the greatest song that ever played
    I'll listen for days and days and days
    krazykarl920on May 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that rivers wrote this song to show his dislike of all the overly confident musicians out there and how they think they are the best ever when they aren't
    knutty830on May 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentis the first verse full of sexual innuendo for anyone else?
    AWESOME SONG. will be listening to it for a week, at least...
    paytbiddon May 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI say fuck you to anyone who doesnt like this album or this song.
    fpoppqon June 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone else think the line "I got the money and I got the fame" sound like the line "I got the money if you got the time" from Bright Eyes' "Lover I Dont Have To Love"?
    satansbrideon October 26, 2008   Link

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