Brown shoes
Don't make it
Brown shoes
Don't make it
Quit school
Why fake it?
Brown shoes
Don't make it . . .

TV dinner by the pool
Watch your brother grow a beard
Got another year of school
You're okay--he's too weird
Be a plumber
He's a bummer
He's a bummer
Every summer
Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care . . .
Smile at every ugly
Shine on your shoes & cut your hair

Be a joik
And go t' woik
Be a joik
And go t' woik
Be a joik
And go t' woik
Be a joik
And go t' woik
Do your job & do it right
Life's a ball
TV tonight . . .
Do you love it?
Do you hate it?
There it is . . .
The way you made it . . .
YARRRRRRRRRRRGH-H-H!

A world of secret hungers
Perverting the men who make your laws
Every desire is hidden away
In a drawer . . . in a desk
By a naugahyde chair
On a rug where they walk and drool
Past the girls in the office

Hratche-plche
Hratche-plche
Hratche-plche
Hratche-plche

We see in the back of the City Hall mind
The dream of a girl about thirteen
Off with her clothes and into a bed
Where she tickles his fancy all night lonnnnnnnnng

His wife's attending an orchid show
She squealed for a week to get him to go
But back in the bed, his teen-age queen
Is rocking & rolling & acting obscene
Baby baby
Hratche-plche
Hratche-plche
Baby baby
Hratche-plche
Hratche-plche

And he loves it! He loves it! It curls up his toes
She bites his fat neck and it lights up his nose
But he cannot be fooled, old City Hall Fred
She's nasty! She's nasty! She digs it in bed!

Do it again and do it some more
That does it by golly, it's nasty for sure
Nasty nasty nasty, nasty nasty nasty
(Only thirteen and she knows how to nasty . . . )

She's a dirty young mind
Corrupted, corroded
Well she's thirteen today
And I hear she gets loaded
P-pum-m-mum-m-mum-m-mum
P-pum-m-mum-m-mum-m-mum
P-bum

If she were my daughter, I'd . . .
What would you do daddy?
If she were my daughter, I'd . . .
What would you do daddy?
If she were my daughter, I'd . . .
What would you do daddy?
Smother my daughter in chocolate syrup
And strap her on again, oh baby!
Smother that girl in chocolate syrup
And strap her on again
She's a teen-age baby and she turns me on
I'd like to make her do a nasty on the White House lawn
Gonna smother that girl in chocolate syrup--
And boogie till the cows come home

Time to go home--Madge is on the phone
Gotta meet the Gurney's
And a dozen grey attorneys
TV dinner by the pool
I'm so glad I finished school
Life is such a ball
I run the world from City Hall!


Lyrics submitted by ThreeMilesDown

Brown Shoes Don't Make It song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favorite Zappa tunes. This lyric sums it all up: "Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care."
    enigmaticbasementon April 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's expanding on the theme of "the people who make the laws are sexually maladjusted" - the people who harp on about the underage sex are missing the main point of the song.
    Of course, if you believe the tabloids, girls like City Hall Fred's "daughter-substitute/prostitute" can be found on every rundown council estate!
    imrazoron July 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTruly A masterpiece by Zappa.
    kamehameha00on February 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe title of "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" was inspired by an event covered by Time Magazine reporter Hugh Sidey in 1966. The reporter correctly guessed that something was up when the fastidiously dressed President Lyndon B. Johnson made the fashion faux pas of wearing brown shoes with a gray suit. LBJ flew to Vietnam for an unannounced public relations visit later that day.

    From allmusic:
    "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" is considered Frank Zappa's first real masterpiece. This seven-and-a-half-minute song takes the form of a suite of short musical snippets of varying styles (from swing to contemporary classical) held together by the "story." It first appeared on the 1967 LP Absolutely Free. It is the best of the album's "underground oratorios." "The Duke of Prunes" and "Call Any Vegetable" do present better cohesion as a whole, but they don't go as far both lyric- and composition-wise. The story of this condensed two-hour musical (that's exactly how it feels) addresses social hypocrisy. The piece begins by a cynical praise of the lower obedient suburban lifestyle: "Be a loyal plastic robot/For a world that doesn't care," "Shine on your shoes and cut your hair," "Be a jerk and go to work." But those advocating this anti-freak lifestyle, so to speak, appear to be a lot more deviant than the people not following "the rules": "A world of secret hungers" hide in the offices of those telling everyone what to do. The song then follows one of these political rulers who fantasizes about a 13-year-old girl ("Smother my daughter in chocolate syrup/And strap her on again"). The song ends by mocking suburban politics, as the repressed pervert claims "Life is such a ball I run the world from City Hall." The studio version was striking back in 1967, going beyond any pop song recorded before, but lack of time and budget left it a bit sloppy: sections aren't edited perfectly, the band does not always land sharply on the right cues. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" was performed live in 1969, in 1973, and a lot in 1979, resulting in a definitive recording of it on the 1981 LP Tinseltown Rebellion.

    mageestouton March 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn 1967 our English lit class had a headphone system so the students could listen to music. We could bring in albums for everyone to listen to. They all heard the same music, it was 1967 after all. I brought in this Frank Zappa album. Some of the girls turned red and told the teacher. I thought I may get kicked out of school or at least the class. I was just told to never bring that album back ever again. At that point no one was allowed to bring any albums in, ever! Wish I still had that album, but my mom took it away and I assume she destroyed it.
    chris90627on November 01, 2015   Link

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