Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières

Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane
Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again
Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it

Whistling tunes, we hide in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes, we're kissing baboons in the jungle
It's a knockout

If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers, war without tears
If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers, war without tears
Games without frontiers, war without tears

Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières

Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching's is blue
They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu
Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games
Hiding out in treetops, shouting out rude names

Whistling tunes, we hide in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes, we're kissing baboons in the jungle
It's a knockout

If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers, war without tears
If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers, war without tears
Games without frontiers, war without tears

Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans


Lyrics submitted by Novartza, edited by GeoJoe1000, radio4head

Games Without Frontiers Lyrics as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Games Without Frontiers song meanings
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62 Comments

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  • +13
    General Comment

    For the longest time I thought Kate Bush was saying "she's so popular" instead of "jeux sans frontieres" and I couldn't figure out how it connected to the song. At least I finally figured it out lol.

    never.for.everon August 03, 2007   Link
  • +12
    General Comment

    It's an analogy of modern international relations. At the heart of it, war is just a childish game. All these little children represent the different nations among the world, and their "silly games" are just what war is. Even if looks could kill they probably will... Hiding out in treetops, whether you're "shouting out rude names", or "shooting out" bullets, it's all the same in the end.

    kupo75on January 15, 2005   Link
  • +11
    General Comment

    There are two things I want to add to this discussion: 1) The phrase "It's a knock-out!" appears – this was the British title of the (hilarious) Jeux Sans Frontiers TV show/tournament and the all-UK version as teams vied for the right to compete against our European neighbours. 2) In terms of the deeper themes in the song, the political angles are covered by some key moments in the lyrics. All the children have hills to fly their flags on, except one – whom I am guessng from their Oriental name is representative of Taiwain or some other country occupied/repressed by China (likewise Tibet)

    TheKeeperon June 13, 2006   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    I think the hiding out in treetops and kissing baboons in the jungle is referring to geurilla warfare. The song is clearly referencing war leaders in a microcosm just like 'Lord of the Flies'

    Beastie_Boyon January 26, 2007   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thought "Jeux sans frontieres" was "She's so popular". Apparently it's a common misheard lyric... and I swear it still sounds like that to me. I take French in school, even, and I still don't hear it!

    EnduringChillon May 17, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    Okay, these have popped up through the thread, but here's a recap:

    • The lyrics contain "Jeux Sans Frontiers", "Games Without Frontiers", and "It's a Knockout"
    • "Jeux Sans Frontiers" is French for "Games Without Frontiers"
    • "Jeux Sans Frontiers" was also the name of a ridiculous TV game show in which teams of regular everyday people would have to complete physical tasks with novelty props and the danger of falling in tanks of water, etc.
    • The British version of that show was called "It's a Knockout".

    PG draws a clear parallel between three lines of thought

    • a ridiculous, pointless game show in which people perform physical challenges to score points and beat each other
    • Childhood games, including how kids will pick on exclude each other, making rules to say who can come in their fort, and so on
    • The international arena of politics and warfare

    Essentially, the main message is that politics and war are stupid, childish pastimes, and our world leaders should just grow up. It is peppered with references to past public figures, such as Hitler.

    My research suggests Enrico is Enrico Fermi, a key player in The Manhattan Project...?

    DexXon January 09, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Lin Tai-Yu is not some book character. He is actually Nyugen Thaiu , head of South Vietnam and the key to winning the communist victory in 1975. But he was later killed in exile, hence ''hill to fly them on apart from Lin Tai Yu''

    itsaknockouton August 03, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    can u imagine war without tears-never

    captlafl69on January 06, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Although Jeux Sans Frontiers the competition show was meant to be amusing and a good natured knock-about it often played out national rivalry as competitors from one country strained to outdo the other country (the same component of human nature that can result in war)- all while dressed in over-size ridiculous costumes (military and war leaders dress up in costumes (uniforms)). In a way it was like a bizarre art metaphor describing the dark farce that war/conflict is. War is a 'game without frontiers' - a state that unleashes behaviour that goes beyond any normal boundary to limitless extremes.

    Spuffon May 16, 2012   Link
  • +3
    Memory

    Loving this song right now. In addition to the political allegories which many other users have commented on eloquently, this song makes me think of Lord of the Flies.

    River Wolfon January 07, 2018   Link

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