"Billy Budd" as written by and Steven Patrick/whyte Morrissey....
Say, Billy Budd
So you think you should?
Oh, everyone's laughing
Say, Billy Budd
So you think that you should?
Everyone's laughing!
Since I took up with you

Things have been bad
Yeah, but now it's twelve years on
Now it's twelve years on
Yes, and I took up with you

I took my job application
Into town
Did you hear? They turned me down
Yes, and it's all because of us
Oh, and what was in our eyes
Oh, what was in our eyes, yeah

I said, Billy Budd
I would happily lose
Both of my legs
I would lose both of my legs
Oh, if it meant you could be free
Oh, if it meant you could be free

(Don't leave us in the dark!)

Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"Billy Budd" as written by Steven Morrissey Alain Whyte

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Billy Budd song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt's mainly about Johnny. Of course it is. The 1st verse references the fact that it's 12 years since they had met at the point of Vauxhall & I's release (1994).
    The 2nd verse references the fact that when Moz tried to get others to collaborate with him after the Smiths demise he was rejected by a few (mainly Roddy Frame- Aztec Camera). He then says "it's all because of us and what was in our eyes"- surely meaning that the likes of Frame and others either were intimidated or apathetic by the brilliance of The Smiths output and credentials in the climate of 1987-88 and maybe the few years after.
    And the final verse was Moz probably saying he would give anything if Johnny would be happy to break out of his then ambivalence towards his own legacy and to set him free from his mindset. It probably is also a reference to his commitments with (the brilliant The The) and Electronic and his (2nd youth) clubber mentality.
    withnailson December 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is taken from the Herman Melville work.
    cactusdaveon July 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBilly Budd was an innocent Christ-like perfect male specimen who was executed because he accidentally killed the conniving, evil first mate of the ship he served on.
    I think this song is about the social repercussions of choosing homosexual love.
    I wonder what the "12 years" line means, though.
    unexplained_lightson November 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe 12 years on has been taken by numerous people to refer to Johnny Marr because allegedly (I don't know this for sure of course) but it had been 12 years since they met when the album this was on was released...?? take from that what you will - I've read numerous people say this song is about Marr is some respect but I dunno??
    tallulaton January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf it is about Johnny, it definaetly fits other Smiths/Moz songs said to be about him -- I Won't Share You, He Knows I'd Love To See Him and more. Morrissey recognizing what they have and that he would probabley do anything to be together again. Their relationship is totally a microcosm of the greater whole of Morrissey's work: the theme of loneliness, the inability to connect with one's fantasy, dissapointment, despair and greatness. Although the songs has gay tones, and if not about Johnny, could certainly be about a male lover; I think that Johnny and Moz's relationship is one that goes beyond love; it approaches artistic nirvana. Solace and brilliance found in a friend.
    davidbeauyon August 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"...because of what was in our eyes."
    -By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, by Elizabeth Smart

    Billy Budd is a novel by Herman Melville
    marquiceriseon December 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the last line "Dont leave us in the dark" in a pleasant english accent.
    Mode000on February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsounds like paul weller singing
    kempeon September 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am shocked that no thinks this song is about smoking pot (budd)! Why do you get turned down for a job? What is in your eyes? (Red, glazed, or dilated). You could be free. (Legalize pot). Some people grow pot in the dark to make it grow faster.

    I don't no for sure...I'm just sayin...
    Garfinatoron September 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with Withnails interpretation- makes a lot of sense to me. But what does, 'so you think you should...everyone is laughing mean? And seems pretty meanspirited to refer to Marr as Billy Budd- Billy Budd was a simpleton in the Melville novel and something of a sidekick. I think it's funny how he ends the song with the 'please don't leave us in the dark' reference- knowing that his oblique and inscrutable references would likely confound his fans.
    BillyBuddon December 12, 2009   Link

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