"Wind Up" as written by and Ian Anderson....
When I was young and they packed me off to school
And taught me how not to play the game
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success
Or if they said that I was just a fool
So I left there in the morning
With their God tucked underneath my arm
Their half-assed smiles and the book of rules

And I asked this God a question
And by way of firm reply
He said "I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays"
So to my old headmaster and to anyone who cares
Before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers
I don't believe you
You had the whole damn thing all wrong
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays

Well, you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines

How do you dare tell me that I'm my father's son
When that was just an accident of birth
I'd rather look around me, compose a better song
'Cause that's the honest measure of my worth
In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me
As you lick the boots of death born out of fear

When I was young and they packed me off to school
And taught me how not to play the game
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success
Or if they said that I was just a fool
So I left there in the morning
With their God under my arm
Their half-assed smiles and the book of rules

Well, you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
Have all the bishops harmonize these lines

When I was young and they packed me off to school
And taught me how not to play the game
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success
Or if they said that I was just a fool
So to my old headmaster and to anyone who cares
Before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers

Well, you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school
And have all the bishops harmonize these lines

I don't believe you
You had the whole damn thing all wrong
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays


Lyrics submitted by knate15, edited by DanHilbert, gjohnsonvp

"Wind-Up" as written by Ian Anderson

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Wind-Up song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe lines that i find interesting are the ones about him being his fathers' son. He explains that it was simply a product of birth, and he feels that he is his own man. And by composing a different song, he means that he can create his own life, make his own decisions. In other words, he will not be a victim of genetic dis- positions. He also talks about the fear of god that the church instills. Liking the boots of death, out of fear. Simply leading a godly lifestyle for fear you will rot in hell for all eternity, not because you love god and your fellow man. As usual, the phrasing and sheer bitterness, (perhaps this time a little apathy?) are superb.
    radiocakedoveson March 22, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song sums up exactly how I feel about organized religion. Ian Anderson does a great job of pulling from his childhood as well as other areas to create a voice for the people who may belief in a spiritual after-life, but are fed up with Church doctrines.

    A great song all around.
    jethrotull6352on April 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like the humorous sarcastic line "well you can excommunicate me on my way to Sunday school" that gets across a serious point.
    chrisb1on February 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song so much. The line I'm not the kind you have to wind up on sunday is my favorite. It Directly relates to all of those who come best dressed to worship only on Sundays and for their safe guard through the week, should something happen to them. I think that if these people really wanted to respect the lord they would take time to remember him not only on Sunday, but throughout the week as well. If they did all this outside of the church as well think of how much money, time, and effort they could put forth to do the Lords work rather than paying for upkeep on such a building and paying for a full staff of ministers, secretaries, etc.
    TurnOutTheLightson December 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like how he describes God speaking to him in a firm reply. It kind of implies to me that if those who teach of what God wants, means, expects, et. cet., would spend half as much time listening to him as they do interpreting him, maybe they would hear the same message Ian heard.
    dhkeysbasson September 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs a practicing Christian, I approve of this song. People with good intentions (or not-so-good intentions) often miss the whole point and put God in a box that benefits their whims and/or makes them feel safe. He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays, indeed.
    SilverEagleon May 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI can readily agree with all or parts of all of the previous comments. As a once-faithful Christian who "lost my religion" last year, this song was very much on my mind throughout the long process of evaluation, wondering, doubt & determination.

    I'm not completely sure that Ian Anderson was even giving God his props here when you listen to the whole album (remember those?). However, he sure condemns the lot of those who bend & interpret God, Christ & religion according to their whims & fancy. You have to remember the awful suffering still a part of the British institutional memory that was caused by the pairing of power & religion throughout the medieval period & the supposed "Renaissance" of mankind's understanding of his universe & existence. What wanton ignorance & corruption!

    For some reason, the whole composition always came back to me over the years since hearing it in my youth the year it was released. I was still young trying to tow the line that was fed to me innocently enough by my parents & those who loved me. I was conscious also that the depth & emotion of Ian's writing reflected someone who had already "done the thinking" that I was yet incapable of doing for myself. I can't believe it took some 40+ years to pay attention & give in.

    The lyric that grabs me the most after all these years is the assertion that "I'd rather look around me -- compose a better song / 'Cause that's the honest measure of my worth..." as a frank statement of whose responsibility it is to get what they will from this life rather than to blame or to put it in the hands of others.

    "Do not go gentle into that good night..." (Dylan Thomas), Indeed!!
    DanHilberton January 16, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA brilliant dismissal of religious hypocrisy, the kind of religion where rituals and tradition couple with social conformity and the fear of death to take the place of real searching for truth and authentic goodness.

    The line "How'd you dare to tell me that I'm my father's son when that was just an accident of birth?" is an argument for how stupid the idea is that we all have some kind of responsibility to carry on the religious tradition of our forbears and observe the same rules. rituals, laws, and traditions. We all could easily have been born into another tradition, and then we would be somehow obligated to observe a completely different "book of rules". But it we seek out a real vision of truth, God, and meaning without being tied down to all of the superficial nonsense and dogmatic conformity, we can become free from the stupidity. We may end up being excommunicated or we may be looked at as a fool or some kind of menace to society and its ways, but we will at least be free of all of the nonsense and have a chance to see the truth.
    JT1968on December 14, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with both of you...he's trying to change how he wound up on this earth...and that it's not all about religion (heaven or hell, God condemmng you).
    ffour4on December 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttake a stand and stare 'em down

    IA was just manifesting straight out heroism here

    I don't believe you:
    you had the whole damn thing all wrong --
    He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

    talk about walk tall, walk strong and look the world straight in the eye

    it reminds me of a man walking out of prison after a 20 year stretch



    kribhususon June 06, 2009   Link

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