"Galileo" as written by and Emily Ann Saliers....
Galileo's head was on the block
The crime was lookin' up the truth
And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode
I try to trace them to my youth

And then you had to bring up reincarnation
Over a couple of beers the other night
And now I'm serving time for mistakes
Made by another in another life time

How long 'til my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo king of night vision
King of insight

And then I think about my fear of motion
Which I never could explain
Some other fool across the ocean years ago
Must have crashed his little airplane

How long 'til my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light
I call on the resting soul of Galileo king of night vision
King of insight

I'm not making a joke
You know me I take everything so seriously
If we wait for the time 'til all souls get it right
Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation in my life time
I'm still not right

I offer thanks to those before me
That's all I've got to say
'Cause maybe you squandered big bucks in your lifetime
Now I have to pay

But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration
To let the next life off the hook
Or she'll say look what I had to overcome from my last life
I think I'll write a book

How long 'til my soul gets it right
Can any human being ever reach the highest light
Except for Galileo, God rest his soul
King of the night vision, king of insight
How long (until my soul gets it right)
How long (until my soul gets it right)
How long


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

"Galileo" as written by Emily Ann Saliers

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Galileo song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentTo show how great of song this is - Jackson Browne and David Crosby sing backup on it. These are two of the greatest lyricists ever - singing on a very well-written song.
    Tmo2199on April 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNot to take anything away from the song, but they forgot to mention that Galileo also went blind staring at the sun through a telescope. I guess nobody's the king of insight.
    EZEebson February 16, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti love the images this song makes. like every time i hear the lines "some other fool across the ocean years ago/must have crashed his little airplane" i think of amelia earhart. i know it says his, but that's just the picture my mind conjures for me.
    whyyesitscaron March 12, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Some other fool across the ocean years ago, Must have crashed his little airplane"

    I always wondered if that referred to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of "The Little Prince", which has strong themes of "the heart can see what the eyes cannot", and remember the little prince devoting so much time to the rose and the fox telling him that is what makes it so special to him...

    The whole book has insights to human nature.
    etriganon September 29, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat a cool song! Everytime I play it, I experience a soaring feeling in my soul!

    This is about the soul's yearing for higher wisdom and fulfillment. The highest heights are attainable only through commitment to truth. The Indigo Girls know what they're singing about here!
    SongMeaningGuyon June 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe lyric that starts "I think about my fear of motion" is amazing! They're using the idea of past lives to explore moving away from the baggage in your past and attain a better way of living. Great song!
    colum1225on June 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is just SUCH A GOOD SONG! 'nuff said...
    kindraon March 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch incredible lyrics. Not to take a position on the idea of reincarnation, but this song is great at pointing at all the implications of such an idea.

    For instance,

    "If we wait for the time till all souls get it right
    Then at least I know there'll be no nuclear annihilation". How could a soul that got it right ever resort to nuclear annihilation. Wow!

    Or, the idea that reincarnation can result in nothing but fingerpointing.

    "But then again it feels like some sort of inspiration
    To let the next life off the hook
    But she'll say "Look what I had to overcome from my last life"

    Such a great song.
    SpringsteenisGodon June 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMan, can I ever relate! Though I do not believe in reincarnation, the thought it proposes is intriguing none-the-less. My favorite verses:

    "Galileo's head was on the block
    The crime was lookin' up the truth
    And as the bombshells of my daily fears explode
    I try to trace them to my youth"

    And...

    "I offer thanks to those before me,
    That's all I've got to say"

    I think she is both appreciating the knowledge that Galileo contributed to the world ("I offer thanks to those before me...""kind of nightvision, king of insight") and in her own quest for the truth, feels as though she has comitted some crime when, indeed she can trace this part of herself way back to her youth.

    That realization this many years later (since I loved this song before) nearly makes me cry. Life can become so bizarre and complicated sometimes that it's book worthy.
    driftingdreameron June 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI used to hear the Golden Overtones sing this song every week on Sproul Plaza. They kicked ass.
    gilbagon March 19, 2005   Link

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