How many times do you hear it?
It goes on all day long
Everyone knows everything
And no one's ever wrong
Until later

Who can you believe?
It's hard to play it safe
But apart from a few good friends
We don't take anything on faith
Until later

Show (show) don't tell (don't tell)
Show me don't tell me
You've figured out the score
Show me don't tell me
I've heard it all before
Show me don't tell me
I don't care what you say
Show me don't tell me

You can twist perceptions
Reality won't budge
You can raise objections
I will be the judge
And the jury

I'll give it due reflection
Watching from the fence
Give the jury direction
Based on the evidence
I, the jury

Show (show) don't tell (don't tell)
Show me don't tell me
Hey, order in the court
Show me don't tell me
Let's try to keep it short
Show me don't tell me
Enough of your demands
Show me don't tell me
Witness take the stand
Show me don't tell me

Show (show) don't tell (don't tell)
Show (show) don't tell (don't tell)
Show me don't tell me
Hey, order in the court
Show me don't tell me
Let's try to keep it short
Show me don't tell me
I don't care what you say
Show me don't tell me
Let's see exhibit A
Show me don't tell me
You've figured out the score
Show me don't tell me
I've heard it all before
Show me don't tell me
I don't care what you say
Show me don't tell me
Witness take the stand
Show me don't tell me
Hey, order in the court
Show me don't tell me
Let's try to keep it short
Show me don't tell me


Lyrics submitted by MasterDuncan03

Show Don't Tell Lyrics as written by Geddy Lee Neil Peart

Lyrics © Anthem Entertainment

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Show Don't Tell song meanings
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  • +1
    Song Meaning

    Going to do a step by step breakdown. One of those songs that just deserves it, and really, someone has to make up for there being only 3 comments on this!

    "How many times do you hear it? It goes on all day long Everyone knows everything And no one's ever wrong Until later"

    True enough; people have a hard time admitting fault in general, or saying "I don't know", or just asking a simple question. The culture in general has become one of "accept no blame", we'd rather be stupid than appear stupid >.< One could even stretch this bit out to encompass a bit more as well, to things like bad parenting, or other cases of neglect, where people blame everything imaginable other than themselves. The sun's in my eyes, crappy team, violent video games, FFS take responsibility for yeur actions or lack thereof for once! Of course... in the end, the truth catches up with yeu; yeu screwed up, deal with it.

    "Who can you believe? It's hard to play it safe But apart from a few good friends We don't take anything on faith Until later"

    Trust noone. General theme of this section really, yeu generally don't believe 'everything' yeu're told, or take everything at face value. I swear, this's the reason kids are told about santa claus... so when they grow up they know better. Even so, we often will confide in a select few we can generally trust, people that if they tell yeu something, yeu know they wouldn't lie to yeu. Which can be a really big problem when they do but that's not mentioned here. Thing is though, as we age, we do become a bit more trusting in most cases, except for the rare few who just turn into well... grumpy old men XD

    "SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME You've figured out the score SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME I've heard it all before SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME I don't care what you say SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME"

    So yeu think yeu know it all like everyone else huh? Yeu better have proof to show, because I won't believe empty promises just because yeu said so. Such is sadly the way of things though, we get so used to being mislead, tricked, cheated, and lied to, that we often refuse to believe in anything after a point. And sometimes it comes back to bite us in the ass, a la boy who cried wolf style. Though that's not in that line either but still, the point is the lead up to it... unless yeu can show proof, I don't care about whot yeu have to say. Words are meaningless without action to back them up.

    "You can twist perceptions Reality won't budge You can raise objections I will be the judge And the jury"

    *and executioner. Yeu know it's implied, as much as I do.

    The one thing yeu can't kill is the truth. Or well, yeu can, but it'll always come back to haunt yeu. (B5 quote, had to use it ^^ ). In any case, the point here is that people DO do just this; statistics are especially guilty of it... if someone's quoting statistics, generally they have no clue whot they're talking about or they do and are trying to lead yeu astray with misleading information. Fact is though, we do in fact do the whole judge, jury and executioner thing all the time. When dealing with people on an individual basis, we aren't given fair trial. Often we're not even given trial at all. Sometimes it's guilty right from the start. Of course, this is something which was created on a matter of neccesity and convenience; if we carefully studied and evaluated every single claim made in a day, we'd never get anything done and would die of starvation since we would be too busy double checking if it really was butter or margarine. So such things have to be done, but it can lead to problems regardless.

    "I'll give it due reflection Watching from the fence Give the jury direction Based on the evidence I, the jury"

    As stated, we already do play both judge and jury, but an interesting thing to note here... is that the jury doesn't always come to the verdict the judge wants them to... in this case, the judge thinks carefully, weighing the options, and providing the information needed to grasp the situation, however the jury are just "normal" people, or in this case, one's gut instincts and subconcious; yeu can weigh a decision all yeu want, but it can still be made based on intuition, emotion and other subjective means rather than the preferred objective ones that the judge would rather use. Was this the intent of this part of the verse? Hard to tell really, but it does raise the question, that when yeu're playing judge and jury, which part of the mind is judge, and which is jury?

    "SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME Hey - order in the court SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME Let's try to keep it short SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME Enough of your demands SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME Witness take the stand SHOW ME DON'T TELL ME blahblahblah Let's see exhibit A "

    Despite the attempt to make sense of things logically, things still fall out of hand too quickly. Sure yeu'd like to make things short and sweet, present evidence and go "well this's obvious enough" but it never really goes that way in practice does it? The person telling yeu their side of the argument can often be very aggressive, using sheer force of personality to try to force a matter, demanding that they're right, raising their voice or offering threats if they have to. In the end though, the evidence must stand trial, not their demands.

    The song in general is mostly focusing on the blunt point of refusing to take things on face value, and insisting to see proof first, but to be honest, I'd have liked to've seen it go a bit more in depth on some of the consequences of such, but then again, then it'd wind up taking forever and we'd have another hemispheres album XD

    Katsunion August 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Very interesting both lyrically and musically, I'm surprised no-one has commented on this one yet! An amazing piece of music, with a very strong guitar sound, and Geddy's bass playing is as refined as ever (thats Wal basses for you). Amazing. An excellent way to open the album.

    Razormasticatoron July 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is pretty self-explanatory after reading over it just once. It's about making choics. Don't take anything at face value... don't be tricked by people who "twist perceptions". Make decisions yourself based on all the evidence. Think for yourself, and don't make decisions too early without thinking them through.

    Clark3934on June 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Presto is definitely one of my favourite Rush albums. Clark pretty much nailed the hammer on the head wiht the meaning. Great song!

    NUMBER 4on May 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    After watching the video for the song (Rock of Ages vs Ages of Rocks), it pretty plain to see that the lyrics deal with the frustration of being an atheist in a world of believers.

    paul116943on October 12, 2021   Link

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