"Pull Out the Pin" as written by and Kate / Bush....
Just as we hit the green,
I've never been so happy to be alive.
Only seven miles behind
You could smell the child,
The smell of the front line's survival.

With my silver Buddha
And my silver bullet,
(I pull the pin.)

You learn to ride the Earth,
When you're living on your belly and the enemy are city-births.
Who need radar? We use scent.
They stink of the west, stink of sweat.
Stink of cologne and baccy, and all their Yankee hash.

With my silver Buddha
And my silver bullet,
(I'm pulling on the pin,)
Ooh, I pull out, pull out the pin.
(pulling on the pin, oh)

[Chorus]
Just one thing in it
Me or him.
Just one thing in it
Me or him.
And I love life!
Just one thing in it
Me or him.
And I love life!
I love life!
I love life!

I've seen the coat for me.
I'll track him 'til he drops,
Then I'll pop him one he won't see.
He's big and pink, and not like me.
He sees no light.
He sees no reason for the fighting

With my silver Buddha
And my silver bullet.
(I'm pulling on the pin,)
Ooh, I pull out, pull out the pin.
(pulling on the pin, oh)

I had not seen his face,
'til I'm only feet away
Unbeknown to my prey.
I look in American eyes.
I see little life,
See little wife.
He's striking violence up in me.

With my silver Buddha
And my silver bullet.

[Chorus: x2]


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Pull out the Pin" as written by Kate Bush

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Pull Out the Pin song meanings
Add your thoughts

8 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General Comment^ Thank you :)

    KB: "I saw this incredible documentary by this Australian cameraman who went on the front line in Vietnam, filming from the Vietnamese point of view, so it was very biased against the Americans. He said it really changed him, because until you live on their level like that, when it's complete survival, you don't know what it's about. He's never been the same since, because it's so devastating, people dying all the time. The way he portrayed the Vietnamese was as this really crafted, beautiful race. The Americans were these big, fat, pink, smelly things who the Vietnamese could smell coming for miles because of the tobacco and cologne. It was devastating, because you got the impression that the Americans were so heavy and awkward, and the Vietnamese were so wbeautiful and all getting wiped out. They wore a little silver Buddha on a chain around their neck and when they went into action they'd pop it into their mouth, so if they died they'd have Buddha on their lips. I wanted to write a song that could somehow convey the whole thing, so we set it in the jungle and had helicopters, crickets and little Balinese frogs."
    ~ ZigZag, "Dream Time in the Bush", Kris Needs, 1982
    gaffa.org/reaching/…

    The documentary KaTe refers to may have been by John Richard Pilger. Pilger's Vietnam films include: "The Quiet Mutiny" (1970), "Vietnam: Still America's War" (1974), and "Do You Remember Vietnam?" (1978). So it could have been one of these films which KaTe saw and which inspired POTP.

    John Richard Pilger (born 9 October 1939) is an Australian journalist. "The Quiet Mutiny" in 1970 was the first of over 60 documentary films by Pilger. Filmed at Camp Snuffy, the film presented a character study of the common US soldier during the Vietnam War, revealing the shifting morale and open rebellion of Western troops. Pilger described the film as "something of a scoop" because, he said, it was one of the first pieces to demonstrate the low morale of US troops in Vietnam. "When I flew to New York and showed it to Mike Wallace, the star reporter of CBS' 60 Minutes, he agreed. "Real shame we can't show it here"", Pilger said in an interview with the New Statesman.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon April 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyes it's about the Viatnam war i believe she's singing from the point of view of a communist soldior fighting the Americans who "stink of the west.
    Stink of sweat
    Stink of cologne and baccy
    And their Yankie Hash" and "He sees no reason for the fighting"
    mateusz14on June 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPOTP deserves to be in an anthology of war poetry... The song is as packed and explosive as a hand-grenade... full of the psychosis of war and violation. The song conveys, with existential intensity, the life-and-death living of the battlefield.

    For the Việt Cộng, the war is purpose, definition, violation. All his senses are elevated and involved, like he's never felt alive before. Beyond fear, he has reached an historical, spiritual, life-through-death determined necessity. Psyched up, he can smell the west, smell their fear and mistakes, sniff them out like an animal riding the earth to hunt its quarry (or a 'deer hunter' after a trophy "coat"). This man's 'hit' is as deadly as it is Godly.

    The song is (dis)located late in the war. The American Outsiders (pink-faced conscripted teenagers) are scared, mistake-prone, purple-hazed, out of their depth. Survival dominates pursuit. They don't understand the terrain or the 'why' of the war. They hit the ground, while he hits the high.

    The poetry emphasises the ugliness and screwed-up nature of war... The VC's 'never been so happy'. He smells the child and learns to ride the Earth.

    Contempt and disdain strike violence. There is no 'cult of honor' restraining the ferocity. The American represents the cologne-stinking, alien, charmed life of the West. And traditionally, the silver bullet is the only bullet effective against a person living a charmed life (wiki). Moreover, the American's 'Western' life will end, whereas the VC's 'Eastern' life will not... In Buddhism, life does not end, it merely goes on in other forms. The VC has no fear of death for it leads to Karmic rebirth. Hence, the 'I LOVE LIFE' chorus is both a War Cry and a 'chant' to generate rebirth in a higher realm. The 'I love Life' affirms his acceptance of death in order to love life again...
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon November 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFRONT LINE (1979) and The Sensual World

    The documentary KaTe refers to is FRONT LINE (1979), featuring the Australian cameraman, Neil Davis, who worked in Southeast Asia from 1964 until his death in 1985. Davis was eventually killed by a burst of shrapnel in a street in Bangkok on 9 September 1985.

    Tim Bowden, a close friend of Davis, wrote a biography of Davis called One Crowded Hour: Neil Davis, Combat Cameraman (1987). The foreword of this book begins with lines from The Call:

    "SOUND, sound the clarion, fill the fife!
    Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
    One crowded hour of glorious life
    Is worth an age without a name."

    The lines are by Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (1730 - 1809), written during the Seven Years' War of 1756 - 1763. Bowden's biography states that Davis wrote the last two lines of Mordaunt's verse in the flyleaf of every work diary he kept in Southeast Asia. Davis told Bowden it was his motto, and summed up his philosophy.

    So it is possible that KT went on to read Bowden's biography and took THE SENSUAL WORLD (1989) album title from Bowden's forward. Maybe JCB's interest in camerawork - and war? - led them to the book?


    Pull Out The Pin is about the Front Line (1979) documentary. The song absorbs the Neil Davis documentary, and reflects the multi-sided nature of the Cambodian—Vietnamese War. The lyrics are a killing field of fighting South Vietnamese, Việt Cá»™ng, American, Cambodian and Khmer Rouge soldiers.

    KaTe describes POTP as "looking at the Americans from the Vietnamese point of view." So, until I saw the Davis documentary for myself, I'd assumed POTP was an American versus a Viet Cong soldier. But the documentary shows that it was the Cambodian soldiers who wore the silver Buddhas. So, POTP draws on the many layers of the Cambodian—Vietnamese conflict, as featured in the Cameraman's documentary.

    Writing on POTP in the KBC article about The Dreaming, it is clear that KaTe approached the song with the determination of a method actor. Pull Out The Pin is a distorted and subversive war poem, packed and explosive as a hand-grenade - full of the psychosis of war and its violation. The song conveys, with existential intensity, the life-and-death living of the jungle battlefield.

    For the Asian soldier, the war is purpose, definition, violation. All his senses are elevated and involved, like he's never felt alive before. Beyond fear, he has reached an historical, spiritual, life-through-death determined necessity. Psyched up, he can smell the west, smell their fear and mistakes, sniff them out like an animal riding the earth to hunt its quarry (or a 'deer hunter' after a trophy "coat"). This man's 'hit' is as deadly as it is Godly.

    The song seems (dis)located late in the war. The American Outsiders (pink-faced conscripted teenagers) are scared, mistake-prone, purple-hazed, out of their depth. Survival dominates pursuit. They don't understand the terrain or the 'why' of the war. They hit the ground, while he hits the high.

    The poetry emphasises the ugliness and screwed-up nature of war. The Asian soldier has 'never been so happy'. He smells the child and learns to ride the Earth.

    The identification with the Việt Cộng suggests a Rejection of Americanism and 'Westernity'; and the violation theme seems to run through The Dreaming.

    Contempt and disdain strike violence. There is no 'cult of honor' restraining the ferocity. The American represents the cologne-stinking, alien, charmed life of the West. And traditionally, the silver bullet is the only bullet effective against a person living a charmed life (wiki).

    Pull Out The Pin also expresses the East/West and Buddhist/Communist spiritual divide. The American's 'Western' life will end, whereas the Asian soldier's 'Eastern' life will not: In Buddhism, life does not end, it merely goes on in other forms. The Cambodian soldier has no fear of death for it leads to Karmic rebirth. Hence, the 'I LOVE LIFE' chorus is both a War Cry and a 'chant' to generate rebirth in a higher realm. The 'I love Life' affirms his acceptance of death in order to love life again.
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon July 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs Kate singing this from an asian soldiers point of view?
    winterycappyon October 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTheresa: that was a beautiful and well-thought out interpretation of one of the most prolific pieces of poetry/music created. Thanks for that!
    SeaSurfaceon May 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNeil Davis' Vietnam Part I
    mefeedia.com/watch/…

    I've seen the coat for me
    I'll track him 'til he drops
    Then I'll pop him one he won't see
    He's big and pink, and not like me
    He sees no light
    He sees no reason for the fighting...

    ND: "I've often seen soldiers who pick a target. They get it in their mind that they're gonna kill that man because there's something about him. And he'll track him and track him and track him in an engagement. And that happened to me a couple of times. When a man is actually targeting and trying to kill you it's quite frightening, something you have to be very wary of..."

    I had not seen his face
    'til I'm only feet away
    Unbeknown to my prey
    I look in American eyes
    I see little life
    See little wife
    He's striking violence up in me...

    ND: "I would always try to go to the extreme front line because that's where the best film is. You can't get the spontaneity of action if you're not there. You can't get it if you're a hundred meters behind the soldiers trying to get it with a telephoto lens. You don't see the face, the expressions on their faces. You don't see the compassion that they may show for their wounded comrades or their enemy, for that matter. I wanted to show all those things, and the only way to show them was being in the front line, the real front line."

    Just one thing in it
    Me or him
    And I love life!
    (Pull out the pin)

    ND: "I was covering a grenade thrower, the man I knew as the grenade thrower... South Vietnamese... and I'd known him before... It was a big action, overall... but the big action is like a small action - you're only concerned about what happens to you... And we're in a village in an overgrown graveyard... and the V.C. were in that graveyard... And he had a little plastic sewing pack in which he carried his grenades... he crawled out to the closest tombstone which gave him some cover and then he would just pick them off one after the other quickly and spray them where he knew the V.C. were..."

    ND: "I liked to work alone because I didn't want to be responsible for the life of any other person. I felt that I had enough to do just to stay alive for myself. If you have to make a decision just for yourself, right or wrong, you stay by that decision. I was never afraid of being killed because that's that..."

    ND: "I preferred to go with the South Vietnamese forces because it was their war. It meant a great deal to them, and they were fighting it on their own terms. I know it was fashionable for the Americans and the other allies to blame the South Vietnamese army for the losses in Vietnam over the years, but in fact they fought very well and the Viet Cong acknowledged that..."

    Who need radar? We use scent
    They stink of the west, stink of sweat
    Stink of cologne and baccy, and all their Yankee hash...

    ND: "The Americans, they used to call 'The Elephants'. They said they bumble around, you can hear them coming a mile off... and they could smell them too - smell their shave-cream and toothpaste, cigarettes and things like that..."

    (I'm pulling on the pin,)
    Ooh, I pull out, pull out the pin
    (pulling on the pin, oh...)

    ND: "Americans were burdened down with about 70lbs of equipment... On one occasion I suddenly heard an American yelling out in great fear as he was because his hand grenades he'd attached to his pack... and a twig went through the pin of the grenade and he went on and it pulled the pin out and he had no hope to get to it and he was clawing around trying to get to it, and of course it blew up and killed him."

    Neil Davis' Vietnam Part II
    mefeedia.com/watch/…

    Cambodia was a peaceful country before it was dragged into the war. For years, the Cambodian leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, had tried to be neutral. He knew that favouring one side or the other would invite disaster. President Johnson's administration had ignored the Viet Cong sanctuaries in Cambodia, but President Nixon thought clearing the sanctuaries could shorten the war. Within five years, Cambodia lay in ruins. Twelve hundred years of Cambodian culture and civilisation had been destroyed.

    ND: "When the war started, the Cambodian army only numbered thirty thousand... they were thrown straight in against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong... but there was a great feeling of patriotism because they were fighting against their traditional enemies, the Vietnamese... They had no need to draft their soldiers. They had too many volunteers, including young boys and girls... Cambodians, they wanted intelligence of just where the Communist forces were. The soldier put on civilian clothes, tucked a couple of grenades into his belt and cycled off down the road to the Communist positions. If he was lucky, he escaped and came back... they were fighting an enemy who paid scant regard to the old-fashioned way of fighting..."

    You learn to ride the Earth
    When you're living on your belly and the enemy are city-births...

    ND: "As a cameraman, there was only one position to be in this type of fighting and that was right up with the soldiers - you were much more likely to be hit if you were waiting fifty or a hundred yards behind them. The only way across open paddy fields is to run across them - you can't stand in the middle, you must get to that next paddy field dug, even though it may be only twelve or eighteen inches high, and you get to it in any way possible - slither like a snake if you have to..."

    With my silver Buddha
    And my silver bullet...

    ND: "When danger threatens, their Buddha idols that they all wore round their necks went straight into their mouths, to bring Buddha as close as possible to them, to protect them, or to lead them into a new life..."

    Just one thing in it
    Me or him
    And I love life!

    ND: "I was only ever twice put in a position where I had to use a weapon. I fired some shots on one occasion, the situation was in Cambodia and our position was being over-run by the Communists. At least one third of the defending troops were killed, many more were seriously wounded. And four or five Cambodian soldiers and myself were cut off and there was no way but to pick up a weapon and help defend the position, which we fortunately did successfully, or, to be more exact, it enabled us to escape. I always thought that such a situation would pose a moral question. In actual fact, there was no moral question in my mind - it was either be killed or defend myself. I chose to defend myself."
    Theresa_Gionoffrioon July 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I love life.....so I pull out the pin" These are missing here
    misssammydaphneon August 30, 2010   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain