Get 'em out by Friday
You don't get paid 'til the last one's well on his way
Get 'em out by Friday
It's important that we keep to schedule, there must be no delay

I represent a firm of gentlemen who recently purchased this
House and all the others in the road
In the interest of humanity we've found a better place for you
To go, go-woh, go-woh

Oh no, this I can't believe
Oh Mary, they're asking us to leave

Get 'em out by Friday
I've told you before, 's good many gone if we let them stay
And if it isn't easy
You can squeeze a little grease and our troubles will soon run away

After all this time, they ask us to leave
And I told them we could pay double the rent
I don't know why it seemed so funny
Seeing as how they'd take more money
The Winkler called again, he came here this morning
With four hundred pounds and a photograph of the place he has found
A block of flats with central heating
I think we're going to find it hard

Now we've got them
I've always said that cash cash cash can do anything well
Work can be rewarding
When a flash of intuition is a gift that helps you excel-sell-sell-sell

Here we are in Harlow New Town
Did you recognize your block across the square, over there
Sadly since last time we spoke
We've found we've had to raise the rent again
Just a bit

Oh no, this I can't believe
Oh Mary, and we agreed to leave

This is an announcement from Genetic Control
It is my sad duty to inform you of a four foot restriction on
Humanoid height

I hear the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the
Properties that have recently been sold, taking risks oh so bold
It's said now that people will be shorter in height
They can fit twice as many in the same building site
They say it's alright
Beginning with the tenants of the town of Harlow
In the interest of humanity, they've been told they must go
Told they must go-go-go-go

I think I've fixed a new deal
A dozen properties, we'll buy at five and sell at thirty four
Some are still inhabited
It's time to send the Winkler to see them
He'll have to work some more

With land in your hand, you'll be happy on earth
Then invest in the Church for your heaven

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by ProfessorKnowItAll

Get 'Em Out By Friday Lyrics as written by Michael Rutherford Anthony Banks

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, CARLIN AMERICA INC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Get 'em Out By Friday song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentAnother one of Gabriels story's this time about the injustices between rich and poor - this time based around housing!
    timbo.hon January 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe inspiration for this satirical piece, for which Peter Gabriel donned a bowler on stage whilst playing the part of the unscrupulous landlord, who is based on the notorious Peter Rachman, who infamously exploited the tenants in the Notting Hill area of London during the 50s and 60s, coining the term, Rachmanism.
    Kelticon February 12, 2014   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionPeter Gabriel was incredibly ahead of his time.

    In 1972 it may well have illustrated the vast amounts of working class people from their close nit communities and stuffed into tower blocks or new towns like: Harlow, Crawley, Stevenage or Basildon by ruthless 'Rachman' type property developers, so that they can demolish, gentrify or rent for higher prices to incoming imigrants.

    In 2012 (and there-after) a similar thing is happening, inner city communities are being dissipated through spiraling rental costs, no available social housing left (thanks to the Thatcherite right to buy scheme) and the boom in developers having a monopoly on building investment properties and nothing else. The poor and those on moderate incomes being stuffed into tiny rabbit hutch houses and part/rent apartments in the sticks and the provinces where they need to be shorter in height just to spread out in their new home.

    Nothing changes....I'm sure if Rachman were alive today; The Queen would have had him knighted for his contributions to the Tory Party.
    BarnabyHugheson December 10, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA little bit of History now. In the Sixties and Seventies Britian Council tenants where moved out of slum housing wether they liked it or not. There houses were then knocked down and in inner cities new high rise flats were built, Gabriel seeing what British Society took another twenty years to realise was that this destroid any communal spirit and was a great error which are still paying for today!
    woollymooreon March 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGet 'em Out by Friday is the third song on the 1972 album Foxtrot.

    We are treated once again to the "play" format of Peter's lyric writing used previously on Nursey Cryme's "Harold the Barrel." and slightly differently in "The Fountain of Salmacis". A format which works perfectly when the moniker of "rock theatre" is applied to it by the press.

    The song takes the form of a futuristic play set initially in the present but ending in 2012. If we are following continuity, we have been brought from the far future of an empty planet Earth, to an exploration of the distant past bringing us up to the present and - at the end of this song - to the near future. (2012, by the way, is a special year according to the Mayan Calendar...but I digress) The song uses elements of reality and science fiction as a means of social criticism on the corporate greed and oppression of the UK's council housing system in the 1970s as commented by woolymore. Social commentary was an evident theme throughout Genesis's early work, especially in their following album, Selling England by the Pound.

    (edited from several sources including wikipedia)


    The play contains three main characters:

    John Pebble: A business man of Styx Enterprises. Near the end of the song, he has been knighted and works for United Blacksprings International.

    Mark Hall (also known as "The Winkler"): A man who works for Styx Enterprises and has the task of evicting tenants.

    Mrs Barrow: a tenant in a house in Harlow, purchased by Pebble. (and either her friend Mary, or an exclamation to the catholc Mary)

    The song starts with a fast-paced refrain of Pebble ordering Hall to "Get 'em out by Friday". In the following verse, the Winkler tells a disbelieving Mrs Barrow that a firm of men has purchased her property and that she has been evicted. She refuses to leave, so Pebble raises the rent on the property. In lieu of this, the Winkler offers £400 for Mrs Barrow to move; she does, albeit grudgingly. However, shortly after Mrs Barrow moves in, Pebble again raises the rent.

    A slow instrumental indicates a passage of time, taking the story to the year 2012. At this time, Genetic Control has announced that they are restricting the height of all humans to four feet. (Dial-a-Program was literally a service that was set up in Britain when fiber-optics were first coming into use, and invented by Peter Gabriel’s father, Ralph Gabriel, who was the head television engineer for Rediffusion televison, who amongst other things made “At Last the 1948 Show” and “Do Not Adjust Your Set”, the Monty Python precursors.) This piece of news is then discussed in a “puborama” by a man named "Joe Everybody," who reveals the reason behind the restriction: so that Genetic Control, who has recently bought some properties, will be able to accommodate twice as many people in the same tower block.

    The penultimate verse is that of Pebble, now knighted, repeating the process for another set of properties. The last verse is a

    "Memo from Satin Peter

    With land in your hand, you'll be happy on earth, then invest in the Church for your heaven.”

    Satin, being a wordplay on Satan, would make this line most ironic - implying a conspiracy between business and the church? Also, if Peter is portraying a Satan-like character for this song, (most likely a comment on the attributes of those business figures behind these housing issues) then compare him portraying the Fox with the red dress on from the cover who in the libretto to Supper’s Ready “keeps throwing sixes.”

    Michael Rutherford commented that the lyrics were the best that Gabriel had written while has cited the song as "the truest sign Genesis had grown muscle without abandoning the whimsy.” Peter Gabriel in the recent reissue interviews has gone on to say that with genetic science progressing, that we may just want to “go shorter” in the future if the need is there!
    Madpropheton November 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWinkler may be a reference to Chicago mobster Gus Winkler who was famous for being on the safe end of the machine gun at the St. valentines massacre. The song "Battle of Epping Forest" has many references to thugs and extortionists, so Peter may have had knowledge of this history
    sandman71on April 19, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top