"Bungle In The Jungle" as written by and Ian Anderson....
Walking through forests of palm tree apartments
Scoff at the monkeys who live in their dark tents
Down by the waterhole
Drunk every Friday
Eating their nuts
Saving their raisins for Sunday.
Lions and tigers
Who wait in the shadows
They're fast but they're lazy, and sleep in green meadows

Let's bungle in the jungle
Well, that's all right by me
I'm a tiger when I want love
But I'm a snake if we disagree

Just say a word and the boys will be right there
With claws at your back to send a chill through the night air
Is it so frightening to have me at your shoulder?
Thunder and lightning couldn't be bolder
I'll write on your tombstone,I thank you for dinner
This game that we animals play is a winner

Let's bungle in the jungle
Well, that's all right by me
I'm a tiger when I want love
But I'm a snake if we disagree

The rivers are full of crocodile nastiest
And He who made kittens put snakes in the grass
He's a lover of life but a player of pawns
Yes, the King on His sunset lies waiting for dawn
To light up His Jungle as play is resumed
The monkeys seem willing to strike up the tune

Let's bungle in the jungle
Well, that's all right by me
I'm a tiger when I want love
But I'm a snake if we disagree


Lyrics submitted by knate15, edited by Vladislas32, imbroglio

"Bungle in the Jungle" as written by Ian Anderson

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Bungle In The Jungle song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThis "homosexual" explanation is outrageous. What planet are you from? The song is from a whole collection of stuff written around the Passion Play period (as a matter of fact all of War Child / Passion Play ideas were conceived at the time of this ill - fated project that Ian refers to as the Chateau D'Isaster Tapes - the original album wasn't released until 20 some odd years later - Passion Play and War Child were recorded and released INSTEAD). All the material is reflective of a George Orwell (Animal Farm) and Sinclair Lewis (The Jungle) sort of analogy. "Bungle in the Jungle" is a clever song that simply says, "look at it all - this is us". My favorite existential line being..."and he who made kittens put snakes in the grass..." (He = God). And, by the way, ...Bungle means to mess something up as in, " he bungled the whole deal."
    jcaudioon January 21, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIf there is anything gay in this song, I'm not seeing it. I've always viewed this song as a modernized version of something William Blake would have written.

    If it was mentioned above, forgive my repetitiveness.
    But I must mention that there is plenty of reference to William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience here.

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes!
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, and what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? And what dread feet?

    What the hammer? What the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? What dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile, his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    See more here:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    In other words, God and Life (and according to Blake, men's souls) are dichotomous - sometimes the creator and provider and sometimes the thief and the destroyer.
    clarenancyon April 18, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation"He" and "His" is capitalized mid-sentence, which is grammatical standard for pronouns referring to God. I assume these capitalizations appear on the original liner notes, as most of the online lyric reproductions have them capitalized too.
    ---------------------
    The rivers are full of crocodile nastiest
    And He who made kittens put snakes in the grass
    He's a lover of life but a player of pawns
    Yes, the King on His sunset lies waiting for dawn
    To light up His Jungle as play is resumed
    ---------------------
    The song is likely pointing out the irony of "He" (God) who made [cute] kittens also made [mean, ugly] snakes. We are entertainment for the King in his jungle.

    The line "I'll write on your tombstone, 'I thank you for dinner' " likely refers to survival of the fittest. Kill or be killed.
    tom.t.walkeron June 30, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHow the do you get gay sex among men of different races from this? Crack kills.
    defuncton January 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is all about the way the city thrives and the people in it live. The word "jungle" that is used to represent the city is not new to Jethro Tull. There is a famous book called "The Jungle" which details the lives and work habits of certain people living in cities during the industrial age. I believe this song is almost a summery of this book.

    P.S. "Jethro Tull" Is the name of the man who invented the Seed Drill.
    toolmusikon January 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI also like the line "he who made kittens..." and I find the entire end of the song interesting, portraying God as a "player of pawns" who watches the interaction between humans -- no better than "monkeys" -- and probably sits laughing at their foolishness.
    greenbeanon December 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI spent a lot of time thinking about this and really think that he is talking about the Garden of Eden. A bungle is a mistake (picking the fruit from the tree of Knowledge). He says that its all right by him, which means that he'd rather have emotions (tiger wanting love, snake when angry). He is debating whether it is a bungle at all. He mentions God and says that He put snakes in the grass with kittens which goes against the perfection and peace in the Garden.
    seamland3394on June 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe tiger in the jungle?

    Tiger, tiger, burning bright
    In the forests of the night.

    Ah, any song that references Blake is all right by me :)

    and He who made kittens put snakes in the grass.
    He's a lover of life but a player of pawns ---

    has a touch of Blake's

    Did He smile His work to see?
    Did He who made the lamb make thee?

    amazing that a song with such lyrics and depth of meaning/thought was a hit on the pop charts.

    offhandon August 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI don't mean to rain on anyone's parade here, but this song is quite definitely NOT about the US-Vietnam War, or at least, I'm sure Ian Anderson never had that idea in mind. For starters, Tull is a British band and the UK were not involved in that war so it seems like an unlikely topic to choose, especially given the Brit-focus of most Tull lyrics. Not everything revolves around the good ol' US of A, folks.

    As various commenters have suggested, this is pretty transparently an allegory for nightlife in the big city (the concrete jungle). The monkeys in their dark tents (and probably the kittens mentioned later) are the innocent members of the urban populace who stay at home at night, while the wilder animals (lions and tigers) hang out in pubs or nightclubs (waterholes) lurking in shadows at night in search of a bit of action. These wild ones are "fast but lazy", as they spend their days asleep while the good people of the city work, and come out at night to take what they can.

    The singer self-identifies as one of these wild types, part of a gang ("the boys") who are clearly a bit on the scary side ("is it so frightening to have me at your shoulder?"). The song concludes with a reflection on the apparently dichotomous nature of God ("He"), who has made both snakes and kittens (a clear allusion to Blake's "Tyger, Tyger", as somebody else here noted), which in turn is a reflection of the dichotomous nature of the city (pretty and ordered by day, wild and dangerous by night).

    And finally, "bungle" is certainly not a made up word, but perhaps it's more common to UK English than US English. It refers to make a clumsy mess of things, and in the song I think it alludes to the clumsy, semi-destructive behaviour of the wild denizens of the urban nightlife, which, according to Mr. Anderson, "is alright by me".
    imbroglioon April 13, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttps12, I signed up for an account here and everything, just for you.
    To start off, there is no "Jethro" or "Mr. Tull", or at least there hasn't been in many hundreds of years. "Jethro Tull" is a band name, filed under "J" at your local music store, and Ian Anderson is the lead singer, song writer, and flute player (among other things).

    The song Bungle in the Jungle was Ian's shot at big city life. "Bungle" is a made up word. The "Jungle" is, of course, the city itself. It is basically painting city life as a situation not much unlike the life of animals in the deep jungle, filled with the lazy yet deadly "tigers" and thier prey.

    Although it would not surprise me that the "Christian right" would make up thier own connections, this is the first I've heard of this one.
    Tandekon March 26, 2003   Link

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