"The Carpet Crawlers" as written by Anthony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Michael Rutherford and Steve Hackett....
There is lambswool under my naked feet
The wool is soft and warm
Gives off some kind of heat
A salamander scurries into flame to be destroyed
Imaginary creatures are trapped in birth on celluloid
The fleas cling to the golden fleece
Hoping they'll find peace
Each thought and gesture are caught in celluloid
There's no hiding in memory
There's no room to avoid

The crawlers cover the floor in the red ochre corridor
For my second sight of people, they've more lifeblood than before
They're moving in time to a heavy wooden door
Where the needle's eye is winking, closing on the poor
The carpet crawlers heed their callers:
"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

There's only one direction in the faces that I see
It's upward to the ceiling, where the chamber's said to be
Like the forest fight for sunlight, that takes root in every tree
They are pulled up by the magnet, believing they're free
The carpet crawlers heed their callers:
"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

Mild-mannered supermen are held in kryptonite
And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright
Through the door a harvest feast is lit by candlelight
It's the bottom of a staircase that spirals out of sight
The carpet crawlers heed their callers:
"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

The porcelain mannequin with shattered skin fears attack
And the eager pack lift up their pitchers, they carry all they lack
The liquid has congealed, which has seeped out through the crack
And the tickler takes his stickleback
The carpet crawlers heed their callers,
"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"

The carpet crawlers heed their callers,
"We've got to get in to get out
We've got to get in to get out"


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by Crawlers, yjloiselle

"The Carpet Crawlers" as written by Phil Collins Tony Banks

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

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The Carpet Crawlers song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI once heard an interesting theory that this song was about conception. The carpet crawlers are sperm, the red ochre corridor is the vagina, needle's winking eye is perhaps the opening of the vagina or cervix, only one direction is towards the waiting egg, the spiral staircase is the fallopian tube, the porcelain manquin is maybe the egg itself and, the clincher, 'You've got to get in to get out'!

    Personally I don't believe a word of it but I thought it was worth sharing ;-)
    proggieon October 30, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI was looking forward to some insight into this song and was somewhat disappointed by the lack of entries on this wonderful song. I suppose if this was the late 70s, this song would have tons of entries... in any event, I googled it and found this entry which should be credited to Joseph Dixon: "The view I take on the song is that it's a metaphor for birth, and in the grander scheme of things, survival.

    Let me give you some quick references on why I think that.

    I always like starting with the title of pieces to find some sort of inkling as to what something's about. The Carpet Crawlers could suggest babies, and they grow up and start the birth process all over again (and that's where "we've got to get in to get out" refers to I believe. It's a metaphor about having to get into the womb, through intercourse, to have a baby come out. "We" referring to humankind in a general sense.)

    Parts of the song describes the process in which sperm gets to the egg in the beginning of the birth process.

    "The fleas cling to the golden fleece hoping they'll find peace" This could refer to how each individual sperm tries to cling onto and penetrate into the egg in order to survive and live on.

    "The crawlers cover the floor, in the red ochre corridor" The red ochre corridor could refer to the vaginal canal.

    "Where the needle's eye is winking, closing on the poor" This could be referring to how not every sperm even makes it that far along in the process. The poor not making it. Interesting reference to old Jerusalem there as well.

    "There's only one direction in the faces that I see, and it's upward to the ceiling, where the chamber's said to be" Again, this is where every sperm is on its way to, the egg to complete fertilization.

    And toward the end of the song, "The liquid has congealed, which has seeped out through the crack, and the tickler takes his stickleback" Well, not to be too graphic... But this is basically after the act of intercourse. A stickleback is a scaleless bony fish, which could refer to a penis. The crack could be referring to the vagina and the liquid seeping out could be semen.

    Another possible interpretation of those lines is that at the onset of labor, there is a jelly like discharge from the vagina which happens right before a woman's water breaks."

    I see this song as having a "second" level. The clue is in the words: "Where the needle's eye is winking, closing in on the poor". The reference would be to the biblical saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get enter the kingdom of God. The "carpet crawlers" are humans "crawling" through life while trying to get upward to the stairwell that spirals out of sight - to a heavy wooden door (i.e. the door to heaven). And of course, to go through life to hopefully get to heaven, "you've got to get in to get out". In any event, this is an amazing song...
    Ericdawingnuton July 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis might help, quotes from Peter Gabriel regarding the part of the story in this song:

    "Which in turn led up to a spiral staircase into a chamber with 32 doors, none of which would get any of them anywhere."

    Peter Gabriel: "And it all led up to a spiral staircase which in turn led into a chamber with 32 doors, none of which went anywhere but back in the chamber."

    The carpet crawlers are in a corridor, heading towards a spiral staircase that they think will free them, but it only leads them to the chamber of 32 doors. None of the doors lead the people to "heaven" or whatever they are looking for. The doors only lead back to seperate corridors, and so on.

    One last piece of info: Rael while in the chamber, rather than trying all the doors to escape, instead decides to help a blind woman (the lilly white lilith) this desicion ineffitably leads to his escape from this "dream". Rather than trying to find his way out of the chamber like all the others, he essential gives up, and just helps someone.

    These IMO are all metapohric references to a spiritual journey.
    meddlehead40on July 29, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBoy I never thougth this song was difficult to understand. To me at least it seems to be clearly anti organinzed religion. It sounds like he/they are talking about people being content with being poor and underachieving under the assumption that the true reward is in heaven. We gotta get in (heaven) to get out (of this miserable existence). And c'mon, "the needle's eye is winking, closing on the poor" is clearly (to me I'll admit) a reference to the bible saying that it is easier to fit a camel through the head of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven. This fits in very neatly with the theme of The Lamb (the innocent) lies down on Broadway (mean streets...superficiality)
    kdpPhilaon October 29, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe entire album is about the dreams and visions of a young hit and run victim in NYC before he dies and merges with God. Our hero is a Puerto Rican gang-member spray painting things on walls. As he walks down Broadway, he sees a strange vision of a lamb lying down. He wonders what it means, but it's God warning him that he's about to die. He is struck by a truck which sends him flying. His life flashes in front of his eyes as he lapses into a coma. From now on, what he sees in his deepest mind is his only world. The Carpet Crawlers are his thoughts swimming up toward the light, he's trying to wake up. Instead he enters another stranger dream about his deepest fears. He keeps seeing his brother, who possibly died earlier. In the end he passes away from a world he no longer can see, and becomes one with God, or It. The album is about how we take life for granted until it is lost. And even a gang-member is vulnerable and child-like at the end. The Lamb came to conduct him to a spirit world that he recked little of before his life was snuffed out by random fate. It is you, it is me.
    54marklon August 10, 2017   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAnyone who's ever owned the album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway knows the story of Rael which Peter Gabriel wrote on the inner sleeve. While the story and lyrics are somewhat surreal, they describe the adventures of a character named Rael. The carpet crawlers was a group of monks that Rael encounters in his abstract journey through NYC. Yall need to ease up on the weed and learn to READ, you are seriously trippin...
    Carlito234on January 23, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah... the song seems to be around Rael's heroin use in the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The itchiness of his skin (a side of effect) is represented by the image of creatures called 'carpet crawlers', and the line "We gotta get in to get out", refers to draw of addiction. Supporting this are lines like "Where the needles's eye is winking..." refering to some haven/house where Rael and his gang are shooting up.

    "And the wise and foolish virgins giggle with their bodies glowing bright" refers to duality of their heroin use, as the maxim "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom", in that sense the 'heroin-virgins' of the gang are foolish to try something so easily dangerous, but they are ironically wise in the context of the quote. Their bodies are glowing bright from the high of heroin.

    Amazing song.
    Otto.Mon July 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have no idea what this song means. However I came here to find out what others think as I was born in 1979 and this was my favorite song as a baby. I was hoping to gain some insight into myself.
    aahon June 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningGuys,
    I believe the lyrics were inspired by Spirit. yes Gabriel may have thought he wrote his brilliant song for his own purposes, yes Genesis may have thought it fitted the 'concept' album, but I tell you with love, it was written through Gabriel for an entirely different reason. How many of you are here searching because it touched you? Yet you don't know why it reaches you. When you read the previous explanations do they touch a chord within you, something that sung out that you had found the true meaning? I do not mean to be confrontational but I want to pull back a curtain for you so you may see what lies beyond this earthly existance. For you see this world as the beginning and end but I tell you it is not, there is so much more that is tantilisingly close and yet hidden from your view. I am fortunate because I have been taught by Spirit but in saying this I do not put myself above you, simply I am lucky and want to share my knowledge with you if you will allow me. So after such a long preamble here is what I think the lyrics truely mean:

    The passageway is a place we go to after we leave this world and pass into spirit, a place where we must reflect on our deeds in this world, for this place is just a classroom to test us. The Spirit World is not carnal, we are spirit and soul, not flesh anymore. This may be a concept that you find difficult to understand but actually not really, for our essence is spirit is it not? When we reach the other side there is no hidding place for our spirit exudes a light that equals our deeds here and you will reach a level which is befitting, for how can you take darkness into the light, hence the referral to the spiral staircase. Those who have lived a good life will effortlessly climb that staircase. Those who have lived a material life here (Golden Fleece) will cling like a flee to that fleece as they know it has no currency in God's world. The referece to the Eye of the Needle refers to an ancient narrow gate in Jerusalem where traders used to pass through the walls - the traders used to use Camels to transport their goods and Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle (camel laden with goods) than it was for rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And by that I do not mean that a rich man cannot progress through spirit, for he can as long as he has helped others. The reference to the door closing on the poor does not refer to the poor as we know on this earth, who have no money, no, it refers to those who are poor of spirit. This Earth gives you free will and you will show who you really are. Make the most of the opportunity!!! The tickler is Jesus, who has come to tickle his fish. By that I mean that there are people here who go into rivers and tickle fish and lift them from the river, for me this is a metaphore for Jesus rescuing his people from the passageway. There are probably plenty of other references within the song that I could cite but I think I have covered all the main spiritual meanings. I truly hope this has helped those who are searching with an open heart. For those who disagree with my words I hope you will keep an open mind for my last intention is to preach. People have come here to ask a question and mine is but one path that they may follow.
    Godbless to you all and I pray you find you way back to your maker.
    Mick
    PS/
    If you want to talk to me about any of this you can raech me at mickapplin@googlemail.com


    WiseSageon March 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationWell late to the party but what the hell, I'll throw my two cents in.

    Personally I think the song is about how we all do what we think is wanted of us like sycophants instead of following our hearts and common sense.

    First off the red color of the carpet/corridor is important because like it's still commonly used. It's often used for VIPs or people of importance. In many feudal societies and religious orders/faiths the carpet leading to a ruler's/pontiff's throne would be a long red one.
    This leads into the second important concept that all of the "crawlers" are prostrated on the carpet and crawling slowly to the farther end. This is again is another historical act that some feudal subjects would undergo (more often in far eastern kingdoms) where it was an act of extreme respect and humility to do this. As well many religions have this as an act of faith that the faithful undergo to prove their humility and worthiness.

    Next if you examine the chorus with the previous in mind the "Got to get in to get out" it almost becomes a repeated chant that by going in by the proper prescribed method a person would get out and find their desires, enlightenment, or whatever they felt they were missing in their lives.

    But of course they can't and won't because by following everything to the letter in an unthinking manner it blinds them to everything but the action at hand, and they don't see that they can't escape from this treadmill till they throw off the shackles of expected conformity and follow their heart in their actions such as Rale does by helping Lily.

    So in a nutshell I think it's saying start thinking for yourself instead of being lead around like a docile lamb by persons that don't have your best interest at heart.
    Gezzer53on May 10, 2014   Link

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