There was a house half way round the world
And I was invited in for a small taste of gin
There was a hall with a thousand birds long
But the biggest one of them all was in a cage too small

I asked the caretaker cause he was the maker
He looked at me and laughed, took another sip from his glass and said
Open up your ears and hearts
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song
That we all love to sing along
To the sound of the bird that mourns

Well we rolled into town into sweet New Orleans
To the Apple Bell Bar there's a hole in the wall
The ceilings weren't tall, the floors were the ground
But the sound they made just warmed your heart

Well it's a quarter to twelve when the boys walked in
They got their black suits on and the songs would begin
You open up your ears and hearts
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song
That we love to sing along
To the sound of the bird that mourns
To the sound of the bird that mourns
To the sound of the bird that mourns
To the sound of the bird that mourns
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song
You put a big bird in a small cage and he'll sing you a song


Lyrics submitted by jooce, edited by tjc45, jacktrembath

Big Bird In A Small Cage song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI think the song illustrates the point that art comes from being in a poor situation. People often say that poetry and writing and painting is fueled by sadness, and that when they're happy, they have nothing to express. The 'bird needs the small cage in order to create beautiful art.
    MayWriggleon June 04, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt makes me think of Taming of the Shrew. Alot. Think about it.
    DJgifon January 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think its a song could be interpreted in many ways but it made me think of it as a metaphor for the rich 1% of the world keeping small children in factories so that they can enjoy good for cheap. The small children being the big birds ( big birds meaning could have big futures) in a small cage ( in the factories that control their lives ) and the sad song they sing that the 1% enjoys being the goods that are sold for cheap because of child labor.

    Another interpretation I think of is of a free-spirited child being trapped in a very controlled environment. The free spirit being the large bird (big personality, bright future and large imagination) being trapped in a small cage ( or a small town where they are not challenged or have very controlling parents who do not encourage their free-spiritedness) The lovely song the free spirit sings is the song that their parents and their peers wish them to sing. They are trapped because of where they grow up.
    mmparker178on January 05, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat first line of the third verse is "Well we rolled into town, into sweet New Orleans"

    airtankon September 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere was a house half way 'round the world

    and I was invited in for a small taste of gin

    there was a hallway a thousand birds long

    but the biggest one of all was in a cage too small


    I asked the care taker 'cause he was a maker

    looked at me and laughed, took another sip from his glass

    he said open up your ears and hearts...


    you put a big bird in a small cage

    and he'll sing you a song

    that we all love to sing along

    to the sound of the bird that warns



    [verse]

    well we rolled into town in the sweet new orleans

    to the Apple Barrel Bar it was a hole in the wall

    the ceiling's weren't tall, the floors were the ground

    but the sound that you make would just warm your hearts

    [verse]

    well it was quarter to twelve and the boys walked in

    they got their black suits on and the songs would begin

    you open up your ears and hearts...


    you put a big bird in a small cage

    and he'll sing you a song

    that we all love to sing along

    to the sound of the bird that warns

    applishon September 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's "to the sound of the bird that mourns"
    elfrijolon September 16, 2009   Link

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