In Chocolate Town all the trains are painted brown
In the silver paper of the wrapper
There's a dapper little man
And he wears a wax mustache
That he twists with nicotine fingers
As he drops his cigarette ash
And someone comes and sweeps it up
And then he doffs his cap
And there's a rat in someone's bedroom
And they're shutting someone's trap
And they'll soon be pulling down the little palaces

And the doors swing back and forward, from the past into the present
And the bedside crucifixion turns from wood to phosphorescent
And they're moving problem families from the South up to the North,
Mother's crying over some soft soap opera divorce,
And you say you didn't do it, but you know you did of course,
And they'll soon be pulling down the little palaces

It's like shouting in a matchbox, filled with plasterboard and hope,
Like a picture of Prince William in the arms of John the Pope
There's a world of good intentions, and pity in their eyes,
The sedated homes of England, are theirs to vandalize

So you knock the kids about a bit, because they've got your name,
And you knock the kids about a bit, until they feel the same
And they feel like knocking down the little palaces

You're the twinkle in your daddy's eye, a name you spray and scribble,
You made the girls all turn their heads, and in turn they made you miserable
To be the heir apparent, to the kingdom of the invisible

Well you knock the kids about a bit, because they've got your name,
And you knock the kids about a bit, until they feel the same
And they feel like knocking down the little palaces

Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Little Palaces Lyrics as written by ELVIS COSTELLO

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Little Palaces song meanings
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  • +1
    Song Fact

    In the 1987 on the Irish television programme THE SESSION Live, Elvis explained before singing this song:

    "This is in a town where my family finally ended up, and the things that have happened to it ever since.

    There is a company there that makes chocolate. You probably know it, Cadbury's. They've got a fixation about painting everything the same colour as their wrappers, even the train. You'd see these chocolate trains that went by, sort of brown and silver. (?) As if anybody'd stolen it, maybe they will. (?)

    Last year we made an albumn sleeve that looked exactly like one of their chocolate wrappers and they sued us. Cause it's obvious our cassette looked, you know, tasted a lot better than their chocolate. Anyway, enough of this comedy."

    fortune8on December 05, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Clearly about the plights of Ireland. This is one of his most beautiful songs.

    snizzon March 19, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i agree. when i first heard it i automatically thought child abuse, you know with the 'so you knock the kids about a bit..' lines, but that totally makes sense now

    uncomplicatedon February 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    are you sure it's not

    "there's a rat in someone's bathroom and there's shit in someone's trap"

    ?? makes more sense... and sounds better.

    kokakolaon May 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Always assumed this was about council houses, originally thought of as little palaces but today are abused by the tenants who, by and large, have lost the memory of private slum landlords (with wax moustaches) and respect for property or persons.

    lagerfrenzyon April 15, 2012   Link

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