"Singapore" as written by and Tom Waits....
We sail tonight for Singapore, we're all as mad as hatters here
I've fallen for a tawny Moor, took off to the land of Nod
Drank with all the Chinamen, walked the sewers of Paris
I danced along a colored wind, dangled from a rope of sand
You must say goodbye to me

We sail tonight for Singapore, don't fall asleep while you're ashore
Cross your heart and hope to die when you hear the children cry
Let marrow bone and cleaver choose while making feet for children shoes
Through the alley, back from hell, when you hear that steeple bell
You must say goodbye to me

Wipe him down with gasoline 'til his arms are hard and mean
From now on boys this iron boat's your home
So heave away, boys

We sail tonight for Singapore, take your blankets from the floor
Wash your mouth out by the door, the whole town's made of iron ore
Every witness turns to steam, they all become Italian dreams
Fill your pockets up with earth, get yourself a dollar's worth
Away boys, away boys, heave away

The captain is a one-armed dwarf, he's throwing dice along the wharf
In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, so take this ring

We sail tonight for Singapore, we're all as mad as hatters here
I've fallen for a tawny Moor, took off to the land of Nod
Drank with all the Chinamen, walked the sewers of Paris
I drank along a colored wind, I dangled from a rope of sand
You must say goodbye to me


Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

Singapore song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentwhat imagery...i love the eery feel of this tune, sounds like gothic vaudelville. tom is king.
    Dead$yon December 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song def deserves more comments.. i think it's such an eccentric song.. the tune and the way he sings, and what he's singing... it's like the old-time world of sailors.. these are the parts of history that they don't put in textbooks..
    hoydenon October 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song, is flat out amazing.
    everything about it is great.
    I'm suprised there isn't more comments.
    Despise13on September 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe legend Tom here continues the sailor theme from his previous album Swordfishtrombones, particularly the second track from that album, Shore Leave. It also has shades of the opening track of that album, Underground. Both are jumpy, up-tempo (at least in Wait's world) introductory tracks about a wolrd of misfits. But where Shore Leave was downbeat, low-key and focused on the minutia of a rainy trip, Singapore is a tour of a carnival of misfits.

    Oh, and the lyric is 'rope of sin' not sand.

    LYRICAL EXPLANATIONS!

    The Land of Nod = Falling asleep obviously, but Nod was also the land that Cain took of for after killing Abel in the Bible.

    Making Feet for Children's shoes= euphemism for sex.

    In the land of the blind...= This is a quote from Erasmus.


    Spectacular track from a spectacular album. Long live The Tom!
    Omnicideon March 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow, making feet for children's shoes, thas an incredible line, thanks omnicide
    mulmoon March 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti believe land of nod means land of wandering (i checked. it's hebrew)
    hepon June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the tune! its very very pirate-y haha. i love singapore!
    xxasswipeon June 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's cool how tom alters his voice to fit with the theme of the song.. anyways this is a great opening track for rain dogs, his best album imho
    vulgaron May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is amazing; I can't believe it has so little comments!

    First off, "we're all as mad as hatter's here" refers to 18th and 19th century hatters, who went crazy from mercury poisoning. Korsakoff's syndrome is caused by this, which counted for the "mad hatters."

    I know the sewers of Paris are a popular tourist attraction., hence why they'd walk the sewers of Paris.

    "Let marrow bone and cleaver choose while making feet for children shoes" is a reference to sex, as Omnicide said. "Marrowbone and cleaver" is slang for penis.

    As for "Wipe him down with gasoline 'til his arms are hard and mean," I'm not exactly sure on the reference, but I know gasoline was used to treat head lice and to clean clothes a long time ago.

    "Wash your mouth out by the door, the whole town's made of iron ore." This could be a reference to the fact that too much iron is toxic.

    My favorite line of the song is "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king." As was said, this is a quote by Erasmus: "In regione caecorum rex est luscus."
    iamjacksgoaton January 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm from singapore.makes this song twice as awesome
    edwardthomas34on March 06, 2008   Link

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