"Silly Boy Blue" as written by and David Bowie....
Mountains of Lhasa are feeling the rain
People are walking the Botella lanes
Preacher takes the school
One boy breaks a rule
Silly Boy Blue, silly Boy Blue

Yak butter statues that melt in the sun
Cannot dissolve all the work you've not done
A chela likes to feel
That his overself pays the bill
Silly Boy Blue, silly Boy Blue

You wish and wish, and wish again
You've tried so hard to fly
You'll never leave your body now
You've got to wait to die

La la la la la la la la la la [Repeat: x2]
La la la la la [Repeat: x2]
Silly Boy Blue, silly Boy Blue

Child of Tibet, you're a gift from the sun
Reincarnation of one better man
The homeward road is long
You've left your prayers and song
Silly Boy Blue, silly Boy Blue
Silly Boy Blue, silly Boy Blue


Lyrics submitted by nagromnai

"Silly Boy Blue" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

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Silly Boy Blue song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentJust a small point, the word quoted as 'Botella' should probably by 'Botala' or 'Potala'. The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the ancient home of the Dalai Lama before the Chinese invasion.

    In the late 60s Bowie was of course very interested in Tibetan Buddhism, and interest he picked up from reading Jack Kerouac as well as meeting Tibetan refugee monks.
    DavidBon January 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTheThornbired is wrong. The song is about the next reincarnated Dalai Lama.
    Once the Dalai Lama has died, they wait about 3 years or so, then they seek around the world, starting in India, seeking the boy child who is his reincarnation. The Dalai Lama is not chosen he is found. The current Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama and ultimately the reincarnation or a manifestation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. He was born two years after his last incarnation ended. Senior Tibetan monks recieve information during meditation which helps them track down the new Dalai Lama. They have a secret set of criteria which they use to determine whether the child they have tracked down is the Dalai Lama. Although, Familiarity with the possessions of the previous Dalai Lama is considered the main sign of the reincarnation. The search for the reincarnation typically requires a few years.
    The current Dalai Lama is was born Tenzin Gyasto
    They set many tests for him, so they know they finally have the right one. The child is very young, and leaves his family to enter into the Tibetan Monastery to learn his role as the Dalai Lama. He is no longer a "child" free to play and live his present life, he must take up his role once more to guide the people.


    Chela has two main meanings. One derivation comes from Hindi (cela) from Sanskrit (ceta), meaning "slave" or "servant". In English, the word means a religious student or disciple.


    Montains of Lhasa are feeling the rain
    People are walking the Botella lanes
    Preacher takes the school
    One boy breaks a rule
    Silly boy blue, silly boy blue

    Yak butter statues that melt in sun
    Cannot dissolve all the work you've not down
    A chela likes to feel
    That his overself pays the bill
    Silly boy blue, silly boy blue

    You wish and wish, and wish again
    You've tried so hard to fly
    You'll never leave your body now
    You've got to wait to die
    La la la la la la la la la la [x2]
    La la la la la [x2]
    Silly boy blue, silly boy blue
    Child of the Tibet, you're a gift from the sun
    Reincarnation of one better man
    The homeward road is long
    You've left your prayers and song
    Silly boy blue, silly boy blue
    Silly boy blue, silly boy blue
    Did I lose you?
    Its a song about the child Dalai Lama
    FeydaWeyeon April 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLike all Bowie Songs there's plenty of room for interpretation, however mine is this :)
    A young Tibetan Monk, being told to be a reincarnation of a deceased great teacher , revoltas against his teachers, thinking this makes him already wiser and smarter than they are.
    So he runs away from his Monastery thinking he doesn't need to learn anything from them...
    Yet that he turned his back to his teachers and to the spiritual being it will take him a long time till he will be able to be reincarnated in such a beautiful and peaceful place again, cause he decided to be a part of the materialistic world of pain and suffering again... This might take him a million years in a million different lives and this brings me literally to tears everytime I hear this song :(
    This is also some sort of critic of that reincarantion-thing that the tibetan buddhism is teaching, cause this is a thing that can happen to anyone who is told that.Very very sad song and probably my all time favorite
    Morzanon June 06, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't it "older self pays the bill" that's what I hear.
    Longpigon August 30, 2016   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIt's about a kid in Tibet who is wiser than his teachers. The line "Preacher takes the school/one boy breaks a rule" is where you see the initial reaction of his boy to his environment. The "preacher" in this song is maybe a member of an organized Eastern religion like Buddhism or Confuscianism, (confuscianism has many potential 'rules' the boy could break) but the boy is more enlightened somehow, like he knows something that the others don't.
    TheThornBirdson February 11, 2009   Link

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