I know so many people who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads and stay in their saftey zones

Now what can you tell them
And what can you say that won't make them defensive

Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight

They come on like their peaceful
But inside they're so uptight
They trip through the day
And waste all their thoughts at night

Now how can I say it
And how can I come on
When I know I'm guilty

Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight

Now how can I say it
And how can I come on
When I know I'm guilty

So hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight

Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

Hang on to Your Ego Lyrics as written by Mike E. Love Brian Douglas Wilson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Hang On To Your Ego song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentProbably motivated in part by anxiety over his replacement as Wilson's writing partner (as Wilson increasingly relied on Pet Sound lyricist Asher and, later, SMiLE collaborator Van Dyke Parks), Love became increasingly hostile towards Wilson and his new material between late 1965 and early 1967, a period that critics and fans now widely acknowledged as the most creative phase of Wilson's career. He reportedly led the group's opposition to the Pet Sounds material and particularly objected to the song "Hang On To Your Ego", which, at his insistence, was partly re-written and re-titled; it was eventually released as "I Know There's An Answer". However, at this stage Brian Wilson still held sufficient sway to overrule his opponents and the album was completed more or less as Brian had intended. Another factor that is likely to have influenced Love's views is that, while Brian had withdrawn from touring in late 1964, Love and his bandmates had to perform Brian's increasingly complex music on stage. There is no doubt that Brian's rapid musical development placed the group in an increasingly difficult position, since they were being asked to perform material that, in the case of "Good Vibrations" Brian had recorded over a period of many months using the best musicians available. While the Beach Boys were of course equal to the task as vocalists, Brian's intricate arrangements were becoming all but impossible for them to perform as a five-piece band. Love's trenchant opposition to Wilson's new direction came to a head over the songs they were recording for their follow-up to Pet Sounds, the legendary SMiLE album, which was begun in mid-1966 but was eventually shelved in mid-1967. Some who have listened to Smiley Smile, the album that was released after Pet Sounds, concur that Love's pleas to Brian to "not fuck with the formula" made plenty of sense. Love is reported to have vehemently objected to Parks' oblique lyrics, reserving particular scorn for the song "Cabinessence". During a heated argument at a recording session, Love demanded that Parks explain the song's meaning; Parks demurred and walked out; some few weeks later he officially terminated his partnership with Wilson, effectively scuttling the album only weeks before its scheduled release. Although Love clearly had a strong personal dislike for Parks' writing he has often said that he was concerned that the band risked losing popularity by abandoning their successful formula. Many critics feel that Love's dogged opposition to Smile was the major reason that Brian finally abandoned it, and that his opposition was motivated in part by professional jealousy, as well as the fear that Wilson's departure from the Beach Boys' proven formula would cause them to lose ground. In a 2004 interview with Mojo magazine, Love argued that he was not opposed to Smile, as claimed, and that he liked and respected Parks' work, but this claim was strongly denied by Parks himself, who wrote to the magazine to protest at what he described as Love's "revisionism" and stated unequivocally that Love’s hostility to Smile was indeed the chief reason why the project was shelved. Love wrote the lyrics to their famous 1966 single "Good Vibrations", although the song also has an earlier set of lyrics written by Wilson's main Pet Sounds collaborator, Tony Asher, which Wilson restored on the 2004 SMiLE version. Partly in response to the band's concerns, articulated by Mike, Brian began writing songs that were easier to perform live, which turned up on the late 1967 album Wild Honey.

    Where Love was too commercial, too formulaic; Wilson was the true artist – true to himself and true to music. Like the controversy, the song divded the poppy early 60’s to the unashamedly dark late 60’s – Love that sax solo
    bkat004on December 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat cover from Frank Black, on his first album...
    By the way, thanks for your comment, bkat004!
    aaaaatchoumon September 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song FactApparently: Author Donald Brackett summarised that "Hang On to Your Ego" contains "Wilson's warnings about losing touch with one reality through effortless chemistry while coming closer to another one through the determined effort of talent ... don't let your identity be melted away during your search for enlightenment. It's an artificial paradise, he cautions, since as Jack Kerouac once remarked, enlightenment wasn't built in a day!"
    sokornyon May 16, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout taking acid
    Yer_Maon September 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment It's about taking LSD and ridding yourself of your ego, and putting things into perspective. Despite the title, it seems like Brian Wilson wanted people to lose their ego, as its made clear in the chorus:

    "Hang on to your ego
    Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight"

    However it was changed to "I Know There's An Answer" because Mike Love didn't want a song about LSD or a song with that title on the album.

    Or so i have read, wikipedia isn't always very reliable haha.
    ZombieGoldlumon January 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat's a cool story bkat004 (I especially loved the bit about Love calling out Parks on the meaning of a song). but does anyone actually know what Hang On To Your Ego is about, what it means, etc.? I've always been fascinated by it but never quite understood.
    KentuckyThunderon May 08, 2014   Link

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