"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

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Peermusic Publishing, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Bungle In The Jungle song meanings
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  • +4
    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
  • +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 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
  • +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
    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
    My InterpretationI agree with the Vietnam War interpretation, but with a slightly different interpretation of a few lines.

    The "monkeys in dark tents" are US soldiers, going out and getting drunk at their "Friday" R&R and being mocked by the VC for how easily they are ambushed.

    The "Lions and Tigers" are in turn the VC, lurking in the jungle shadows, making swift lightning attacks and then retreating back, but rarely carrying out extended formal campaigns, spending their nights out in the wilds of Vietnam.

    The "Bungle in the Jungle" chorus is the VC saying "Hey, we have nothing to loose. We aren't going anywhere. Bring it on."

    The analogy of tigers and snakes has to do with Ho Chi Minh: during the WWII he initially appealed to FDR for American assistance in his revolution, potentially making a valuable US ally (tiger). But then Truman took over, followed by a succession of other anti-Communist presidents which backed the wrong people and eventually invaded and made and "enemy" out of Vietnam.
    NOTE: I'm not saying N. Vietnam was in the right, but the US certainly made some poor choices in the leaders they chose to support (Diem).

    The next verse is about how the VC are constantly popping out of nowhere, suddenly at the backs of US soldiers. The thunder and lighting are an interpretation of gunfire and explosions. The VC are also sarcastically thanking the US for aid (dinner), since the US had a tendency to send assistance to the Vietnamese peasants with the hope that they would gain allies, but mostly what happened is they used the US aid to secretly supply the VC via the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other secret supply routes. While the US may be winning in numbers, the sneaky VC through their animal-like strategies are ultimately winning the war.

    The last verse could either refer to Ho Chi Minh or the American leaders. Both of them while not at war were really very nice people with children, family and friends (kittens), but during the war, they could be as vicious and sneaky as anything. The "King" is probably Minh, lying in wait for more explosions to light up his land with the US more than willing to react.

    There. That's my $0.02.

    PS. I know there were more countries involved than the US, but as an American, they are the soldiers I happened to think of first. I am not trying to belittle the contributions of other nations.
    Vladislas32on September 22, 2013   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
  • +1
    General Commenthow right you are Tandek, Jethro Tull is actually a man who implemented new farming methods in the 1700s, and you are correct as well about this song being about the city life and how it a "survival of the fittest" attitude much like Guns'n'Roses "welcome to the Jungle" same idea. kill or be killed baby...
    mycroft45on December 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    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
  • +1
    General Commentanyone who believe's that jethro tull is a guy in tha band should frankly not be listening to there music btw why do so few people post about this band? there 1 of the best ever?
    jefrotullon January 21, 2005   Link

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