"Is That All There Is?" as written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller....
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire
I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement
And I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames
And when it was all over I said to myself, is that all there is to a fire?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

And when I was twelve years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads
And as I sat there watching
I had the feeling that something was missing
I don't know what, but when it was over
I said to myself, "is that all there is to the circus?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

And then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world
We'd take take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other's eyes
We were so very much in love
And then one day he went away and I thought I'd die, but I didn't
And when I didn't I said to myself, is that all there is to love?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep

I know what you must be saying to yourselves
If that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me I'm not ready for that final disappointment
'Cause I know just as well as I'm standing here talking to you
When that final moment comes and I'm breathing my last breath, I'll be saying to myself

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is


Lyrics submitted by TheDirge, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Is That All There Is?" as written by Mike Stoller Jerry Leiber

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Is That All There Is? song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentWell it looks like I have the first Peggy Lee comment.

    They used to play this song at the end of the Hoolihan and Big Chuck show (later Big Chuck and Little John show) in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Anyway it is a very interesting song indeed. Very deep and profound. Well written. Basically house catches on fire, go to a circus. Fall in love and ultimately on your deathbed, is that all there is?

    This is a song that really makes you think. Basically you go through all this stuff in life and really...who cares? What is the big deal? Nothing spectacular happens. You win the football game, get married, make a lot of money, have kids and at the end of the day....whatever.

    You go through life expecting the big thing and really...whatever happens that is really important or signficant in the big picture?

    What would be interesting is to see a real live ghost or a close up of a UFO or have something really significant happen. But nothing ever seems to. You live, you die and 200 years from now, nobody is going to care or know who the hell you were.

    And the break out the booze is like....F*** it. No sense in getting all mellodramatic or whatever. Enjoy it while it is here and don't get all hung up. Eventually we are all going to kick off anyway.

    Ultimately, this song is about sadness that the great optimism that we had of life as kids and all the possibilities that await us...it really didn't live up to the hype now did it?
    JamesLoveon December 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBut under the surface poignancy there is an ultimate optimism. Very subtle but this makes it what it is- a great, perceptive song. If that's all there is then what better reason to live your life to the full- to enjoy it? Lovely song.
    toperic02on August 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI remeber this song being very popular on AM radio (WIP Philadelphia) when I was a kid. It makes me chuckle now that we had the radio on as entertainment in the house back then. Color TV was still kind of a novelty even then, in 1969. Personally I think this song says a lot about the human tendency to have inflated expectations about life-you see it in many people. Holidays, birthdays, even presidential elections-excitement runs high, then hopes are suddenly dashed.
    So, I think this song is sort of a jaded or sarcastic view, and is just trying to say, let's not get too worked up about anything. FIre destroyed her home, but she had her apparently loving Dad. She saw the circus, but maybe it was not as good as she had hoped. She fell in love, but maybe the boy had reservations or maybe went off to war. Life is like that. I think you can read a lot into the song and it seems a little too close for comfort and that is it's appeal-we have likely all felt this way. The danger in it is it's alcoholic and suicidal suggestion (again that is what got the attention of everyone I think) however.....if you take a step back I think all the writers were trying to say is, everyone, please relax, enjoy the moment you are in and not the one you were hoping for, because it is all we have. You can avoid a lot of disappointment by enjoying and being present in the moment. A hard lesson to learn, but it can be done! Finally, I don't think anyone could do this song like Ms. Lee did. She had a strange person a that came right through the TV as I remember-kind of boozy, narcotic, and a great voice. She told stories with her songs. Thanks for reading!
    bruce10154on April 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionI think it means that ALL roads lead to disillusionment.
    sdz896542on October 16, 2016   Link

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