"Oh Industry" as written by Bette Midler and Wendy Waldman....
I am the captain and this is my shrine.
Lord of the manor. See what I leave behind.
River in flames, cities on fire.
Yes, I'm a relic trapped in the wire.

Hydrogen fuel, it burns so clean,
throbs in the veins; a mother lovin' machine.
She is my wife. Her mechanical heart
constantly serving 'til death do us part.

Now a glorious war draws to a close.
The yellow winds blow. And I have to know.
Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
Soon the cruel rains will start.
Is it true we must part company?
Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
What have I ever done?
Where did I go wrong?

Joined at the hip; pain, hunger and I,
leave our gift to the world 'neath the phosphorous sky.
A labor of love is the truest of all.
But will I be forsaken after the fall?

Now a glorious war draws to a close.
The yellow winds blow. And I have to know.
Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
Nothing after the flood but the fire and the mud's prophecy.
Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
Of me?

Industry, charity, faith, hope.
Industry, charity, faith, hope.
Industry, charity, faith, hope.
Industry, charity, faith, hope.
Industry, charity, faith, hope.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Oh Industry" as written by Wendy Waldman Bette Midler

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Oh Industry song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI thought I was all cool and artistic because we would watch beaches all the time and I pretended this song completely enraptured me lol...now I'm almost 32 and still couldn't tell ya wtf it's about, but it seems like a send up of those deep and meaningful off off off Broadway plays...like the ones every character in a long running sitcom placed in New York will inevitably get dragged to buy an actor friend lol
    seth101007on February 25, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have absolutly no clue as to what this song means, but if anyone has any ideas, however wrong they might seem, please write in! Im very curious now that ive seen the movie.
    lovelifeon October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsounds to me like its about The Great War (WWI).
    "Im a relic trapped in the wire" could be talking about no-mans land
    "Yellow winds blow" could refer to the mustard gas used

    haha dont quote me on this. just my opinion. i love the song nonetheless.love bette!
    MuchLoveeeeon October 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought that it could be about the music industry and how when you're just at the top you'll eventually fall down. But that's just me.
    Invincible500on June 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought this song was about a rich, ruthless, weapon making industrialist who at the end of his career (or life) is beginning to realize what his greed has done to the world around him. His company is still going strong , but the wind, the sky, the rivers, and the cities are polluted or in ruins. Now what will happen to him What was it all worth in the end?
    Quelargoon November 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't totally remember the context for the song, but I recall it as some kind of activism: a Cold War era vision of nuclear apocalypse. Hydrogen bombs, military industrial complex and that we're capable of reason not built to perform a function.

    At the beginning of the end, it cries out to its creator (Oh, Industry!) wondering what's to come. That artful, sudden self-awareness once our life's work is complete. Will I be forgotten? What's it all worth? I did what I thought was right, and maybe still do, as part of the larger machine. Ashes to ashes.
    itsacookbookon July 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always though she was talking about coal miners and the revolution...
    "I am the captain and this is my shrine.
    Lord of the manor. See what I leave behind." As is I am a miner in the caves and this is my land...When I am gone this will still be here

    "River in flames, cities on fire." coal is used as an energy source...that you burn
    Yes, I'm a relic trapped in the wire.".. Many people didn't want to coal because it was dangerous but had no choice it was the only pay...


    "Hydrogen fuel, it burns so clean," Coals by product...
    throbs in the veins; a mother lovin' machine.
    She is my wife. Her mechanical heart
    constantly serving 'til death do us part." Well they used machines to excavate the coal and it was dangerous equipment so death was always looming....

    "Now a glorious war draws to a close.
    The yellow winds blow. And I have to know." Eventually the forcing of young men into coaling industry was seized...once oil and gas companies moved in...
    "Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
    Soon the cruel rains will start.
    Is it true we must part company?
    Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
    What have I ever done?
    Where did I go wrong?" Eventually a lot of coal mines were closed...again with the bringing of oil an gas companies


    "Joined at the hip; pain, hunger and I,
    leave our gift to the world 'neath the phosphorous sky.
    A labor of love is the truest of all.
    But will I be forsaken after the fall?" Young men and boys often had to coal for food and to support families...after burning coal the phosphorus released into the atmosphere was often high levels and caused a lot of global issues...but its still a clean burning fuel thats byproducts can be contained...however again gas and oil companies began competing with coal....


    "Now a glorious war draws to a close.
    The yellow winds blow. And I have to know.
    Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
    Nothing after the flood but the fire and the mud's prophecy.
    Oh industry, whatever will become of me?
    Of me?" This the end of the revolution....coal miners are officially scarce because of the rise in gas and oil...

    "Industry, charity, faith,hope" the fall brings the loss of jobs for some coal miners who begin to seek charity...many stay faithful and hopeful they find new work....

    I'm not saying this is it...I'm just saying it seems to make sense to me this way...
    pure_chaoson October 02, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI always thought she was singing about the entertainment industry. How someone who's reigned supreme over Hollywood for so long is now having their downfall, whether it be because of age or illness, maybe death. I always felt like it was about the legacy they left behind and wondering if it was really worth anything in the end.
    dustinatoron March 18, 2015   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThe music is obviously evocative of a major industrial plant, very probably a steelworks, as evidenced by some of the lyrics and the fire in the stage play's background. The lyrics are from the POV of the industrialist (seemingly a 1890s robber baron) who created the plant, calling it his "shrine", "manor", and "wife". It seems he's likely at the end of his life and looking back on his legacy, mostly with regret for causing pollution, pain, hunger, and his lack of faith, charity, etc.

    It could be based on Andrew Carnegie, who built a steel empire, then sold it off and spent the rest of his life on philanthropy. Or could also be Henry Clay Frick, chairman of Carnegie steel and the "most hated man in America" due to his breaking the strikes of steel workers. Charles Schwab is another candidate, involved in the WWI effort, accused of profiteering, later squandered his huge fortune, and died impoverished.
    rcxbon June 27, 2015   Link

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