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Hand to Mouth Lyrics

Jimmy Got Nothing made himself a name
With a gun that he polished for a rainy day
A smile and a quote from a vigilante movie
Our boy Jimmy just blew them all away
He said it made him crazy
Twenty five years living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth, hand to mouth, hand to mouth

Sweet little baby on a big white doorstep
She needs her mother but her mother is dead
Just another hooker that the lucky can forget
Just another hooker
It happens everyday
She loved her little baby
But she couldn't bear to see her living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth, hand to mouth, hand to mouth

I believe in the gods of America
I believe in the land of the free
But no one told me
(No one told me)
That the gods believe in nothing
So with empty hands I pray
And from day to hopeless day
They still don't see me
(See me)

Everybody talks about the new generation
Jump on the wagon or they'll leave you behind
But no one gave a thought to the rest of the nation
"Like to help you buddy, but I haven't got the time"
Somebody shouted save me
But everybody started living hand to mouth
Hand to mouth, hand to mouth, hand to mouth

There's a big white lady
On a big white doorstep
She asked her daddy and her daddy said "yes"
Has to give a little for the dollars that we get
Has to give a little -
They say it's for the best
Somebody shouted
But they kept on living from hand to mouth
Hand to mouth, hand to mouth, hand to mouth

So she ran to the arms of America
And she kissed the powers that be
And someone told me
(Someone told me)
That the gods believe in nothing
So with empty hands I pray
And I tell myself
One day
They just might see me...
Song Info
Submitted by
Submitted on
Jun 06, 2001
6 Meanings
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The lyrics are a bit obscure but there seems to be an underlying political message. George Michael had said that although Britain had improved its economy, Margaret Thatcher wanted to turn the country into a little America. So one could assume that the big white lady = M. Thatcher, big white doorstep = the White House and the powers that be = Ronald Reagan.

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Personally, i think this is one of George Michael's most amazing songs. The lyrics are quite profound and very deep. I'm surprised no one has commented on it!!

Does anyone understand what the meaning of the verse beggining: "There's a big while lady..." Does anyone understand what that is about? And why does she run to the arms of America?

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one more comment - i was wondering if anyone finds this song to be anti American.

Personally, i dont feel that way about it at all. To me, it is just a song that speaks for the plight of the poor and destitute and is a commentary on how their difficulties are generally not a top priority for governments in general.

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1st verse poor guy has nothing so kills a bunch of people to become someone but he just becomes a poor person in jail. A hooker cannot afford to keep her baby coz she is afraid the baby will be like herself so she leaves the baby at a rich person' s doorstep so they can give the child a better life than she is living as a hooker. It seems her way of life then leads to her death.This verse ties to the 5th verse. 3rd verse is like the way people generally glorify USA but the narrator of the song followed the dream to live there only to find that those he glorified were empty in terms of their beliefs(maybe having no character) because he thought he would become rich but stayed poor while there.Also he believes himself invisible to the gods who "led" him to go there in the first place as he has failed to attain the promised dream. 4h verse focus on new generation to the exclusion of the people who really need the help. And that new generation is the one that continues to alienate the poor no matter how much they cry out for help.It seems the poor are not only poor in monetary terms but time as well. 5th verse the little baby that was left on the doorstep is now a big white lady (big meaning older to contrast the little (younger ) baby she was in the 3rd verse). The guy (daddy to whom she refers to in the song is actually her sugar daddy) pimps her out. He gets her to feel like its something she has to do for the good of the family( the they referred to in the verse). Family could be a crime family or a whole bunch of other people involved in the trade. Which is ironic as her mother’s intention for leaving her on the doorstep was so she would not become a hooker. I think in this case the girl is a high class hooker but she doesnot believe the lies the “family’ tell about the reasons why she should be okay being a hooker( somebody shouted maybe) Which ties in with the 6th verse where she goes to America thinking she can escape the kind of life she is leading only to becomea high class prostitute to the people holding high positions in the USA.(hence she kisses the powers that be)

I would not say the song has Anti American sentiment . It just highlights the ironies and sad plights of some people who reach for the dream from inside and outside America’s borders only to have their experience there fall short of their expectations.

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As for verse 5 could be the baby has become an overbearing overweight person living with a man who is older than her. She is not free to make her own decisions regarding money (she asked her daddy and her daddy said yes). She gives a little(drugs) in exchange for a lower monetary value than they are worth. Generally the people are experiencing pverty not only in moetaary terms in terms of freedom, time, choice etc.

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OK, here are my ideas regarding the 5th verse. First of all I believe that in this verse George gives a general perspective of the things he described above. So, I believe that “big white lady on a big white doorstep” must be a Statue of Liberty. Her “daddy” is the president of USA, whoever he is. I guess “She asked her daddy and her daddy said ‘Yes’” means that any universal idea (liberty, freedom, equality etc.) isn’t pure any more, it’s in the service of the powers that be, who only give their permission for good works if they will. With “Has to give a little for the dollars that we get, has to give a little — they say it’s for the best” George calls upon the idea of sharing at least a little part of our wealth with the poor people, like those described in the beginning of the song. But then he sings: “Somebody shouted: Maybe... But they kept on living from hand to mouth” which means that they consider the idea of sharing (or at least pretend that they are), but after all nothing changes and indigent people keep on living the same way, because nobody really seems to care. And then he goes: “So she ran to the arms of America And she kissed the powers that be” Once again, “she” doesn’t mean someone particular. It describes how the pure ideas become spoiled by power and money bags, making one finally realize that “the gods believe in nothing”, where “gods” are social elite, plutocracy and upper class.

It’s a bit hard for me to get the whole point, ‘cause English isn’t my native language. But that was my interpretation of the lyrics. I just hope someone would find it eligible.

Song Meaning
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