"Pretty Mary K (The Infirmary) (Figure 8 version)" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Almost forgot
Started to say
Rode into the sun
Past everyone
Hallelujah, pretty Mary K

I found faith in the infirmary
There's a soldier lying in bed
With a wound to the head
Calling out to pretty Mary K

Here's what you get for things that haven't happened yet

I happened upon pretty Mary K
But a soldier's uniform waved you away
I walk round the dock and talk to St. James
Though I'm already done

And ask everyone "have you seen her?"
Pretty Mary K
Have you seen her?
Pretty Mary K


Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by ghost06

"Pretty Mary K" as written by Steven Paul Smith Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Pretty Mary K (The Infirmary) (Figure 8 version) song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentElliott** missed the 2nd t there by accident
    WiNTERSETHEARTon December 31, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like how pretty much none of the comments on this song are ABOUT this song. Thanks.

    So what do you all make of the line: "rode into the sun"? In Color Bars just two songs earlier on Figure 8, he says "everyone wants me to ride into the sun, but I ain't gonna go."
    itwaslike_musicon June 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti read an interview with the dude who created the OC and he is just the same as most of us: a young, clever guy who loves good music and is interested in art and literature. how he cam to create such a crap show i dont know but he said the music was all his choice. back to the song, i love the religious imagery in it.
    "found faith in thee (oooh)
    infirmary (aaah)"
    i love this line, as the first part is so religious and then he changes the meaning completely by saying "infirmary". suddenly the "thee" becomes "the" and the harmony voices even seem to acknowledge this play on words("aaah" as if to say, "nice one, i didnt see that! clever though!"). anyway, great song.......RIP
    badgeon May 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthere is a folk song, St James Infirmary, originally thought to be irish, then later adapted into a blues song, that goes like this (with alterations in each version):

    I went down to old Joe's bar room, on the corner by the square
    Well, the drinks were bein' served as usual, and this motley crowd was there

    Well, on my left stood Joe McKennedy, and his eyes were bloodshot red
    When he told me that sad story, these were the words he said:

    I went down to the St. James infirmary, I saw my baby there
    She was stretched out on a long white table, so cold, and fine, and fair.

    Let her go, let her go, God bless her, wherever she may be
    She can search this world over, never find another man like me

    When I die Oh lord please bury me In my high top stetson hat
    Put gold coins over my eyelids So the boys wil know I died standing pat

    Get six crapshooting pallbearers Six chorus girls to sing me a song
    Put a jazz band behind my hearse wagon To raise hell as we roll along

    Get sixteen coal black horses, to pull that rubber tired hack
    There's thirteen men going to the graveyard Only twelve men are coming back

    Well, now you've heard my story, well, have another round of booze
    And if anyone should ever, ever ask you, I've got the St. James infirmary blues!

    (taken from wikipedia)

    many Many versions of this song have been made...elliott being a lover of music undoubtedbly heard atleast one of them. whether he was referencing louis armstrong or bob dylan or billie holiday i don't know. maybe he just liked the mystery of the song, how it references an infirmary (i.e. mental health or rehab) and it's sadness/ lost love aspect.

    personally i love the song. i never noticed this reference to it even though i love elliott smith. i only read about it in the wikipedia article which can be found here:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    purple_redon August 31, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe alternate version of this song seems to be blatantly about being in love with a prostitute. It would seem strange to make another version titled the same to have such a different meaning.

    So by interpreting it that way perhaps it is the same. He's walking around town looking for this prostitute 'Mary K'

    "There's a soldier lying in bed
    With a wound to the head
    Calling out to pretty Mary K"

    I guess could be interpreted as other men who sleep with her, perhaps their 'wound to the head' is there lack of a sex life / a loved one. So they 'call out to' or visit her.

    The later half could be interpreted as him visiting a brothel perhaps. St James perhaps an ironic name for someone who runs the place.

    I'm not really sure on this song though, anyones guess is as good as mine.
    tycobb123on March 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my swim coaches told me she heard a girl say 'When's Elliot Smith playing his next concert' because they heard him on the OC. It made me sick. He had such a tragic life, and ended it himself -or that's what they believe. And to hear people with such disrespect for the music and the beauty of it's depth really saddens me. His imagry and capture of human emotion is the most realistic I've ever seen, Kudos' to Smith wherever he may rest, and may he rest in peace. OCTOBER 21, 2003
    WiNTERSETHEARTon December 31, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, the whole OC thing really pisses me off.. i was shocked when someone on his message board said they played 'twilight' one of the best off the new album, on such a shit teen soap opera.. you know he would have NEVER let that happen if he was still around. but you wrote that last post before that episode aired? did they play another of his songs earlier on in the season??!!!
    lisalynnon January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat's what I hear, because I can't even stand to watch or hear about that show. It's just a breeding ground for mainstream mindless trends.
    WiNTERSETHEARTon January 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually, from what i've heard, the OC tends to do pretty well with music choices. i watched the first couple of episodes, and there was one character that had a ben folds poster in his room. that same character apparently sticks up for other underappreciated artists (like elliott smith, though i don't know if he has ever said anything about elliott). i have no idea what's going on in the show because, as i said, i only watched the first couple of shows. anywho, i don't think it should be bad that any artist who is underappreciated suddenly gets a modicum of the recognition he/she deserves, even if the recognition comes from morons.
    brown_polyesteron January 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbrown polyester is right. Why would OC watchers have disrespect for the music? if they liked it, what's wrong with that?
    richiediamondon January 25, 2005   Link

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