"The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig)" as written by and Don Van Vliet....
Come on down t' the big dig
Come on down t' the big dig
Come on t' the big dig
Singin' the Smithsonian Institute blues
Singin' the Smithsonian Institute blues
The way it's goin' La Brea tar pits
I know you just can't lose
The new dinosaur is walkin' in the old one's shoes
Come on down t' the big dig
Can't get around the big dig
This may be premature but if I'm wrong
You can just say it's the first time I was happy t' be confused
Singin' the Smithsonian Institute blues
Alll you new dinosaurs
Now it's up t' you t' choose
It sure looks funny for a new dinosaur
T' be in an old dinosaur's shoes
Dina Shore's shoes
Dinosaur shoes
C'mon down to the big dig
You can't get around the big dig
C'mon to the big dig
Ya can't get around the big dig
Singin' the Smithsonian Institute blues


Lyrics submitted by captainlumpy

"The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig)" as written by Don Van Vliet

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Smithsonian Institute Blues (Or The Big Dig) song meanings
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  • 0
    My InterpretationTypical generation gap song, complete with dinosaur references to add to the outright humor of the piece.

    The whole gist of the song is how the old dinosaurs are dying off - and how the new dinosaurs are coming in. It symbolizes the transition from a predominant and then-trite genre of music to something noticeably more edgier (like how pop gave way to rock and roll in the '50s - and how rock and roll gave way to the British Invasion - and how the British invasion gave way to psychedelia - and so on), but at the same time, it's a sarcastic ode to musicians who attempt to keep the '50s style of rock rebellion alive (i.e. Sha Na Na; MC5; Chuck Berry) in an era of radically changing music. Then again, Beefheart shows sympathy for these back-to-roots performers - he knows their hearts are in the right place. He's afraid that they'll be ostracized for "wearing an old dinosaur's shoes."

    tl;dr - it's about music fads and how people get ostracized for looking back at the past. Typical Beefheart affair.
    Malkmusianon March 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRe: Malkmusian sorry song is nothing to do with fashion or music trends in 70's
    Beefheart sings about "La Brea Tar Pits" a place he visited as a child, it is an actual place and museum in Los Angeles A place with fossil remains and animal bones so its another theme of man's extinction, the new dinosaurs in the old ones shoes in the Smithsonian museum.
    TetragrammatonGhoston November 15, 2017   Link

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