Say it's alright Joe,
I need another drink
To blow on the glass so I know I'm alive
Play me a song Joe

To fill the hours till morning
Then never again will I bother you
Ooh, Build myself a tower
No way in no way out.

Then my friends can visit me
Once in a while.
Say it's alright Joe,
I need some reassurance

You never know what you might find in the night.
Ooh I'm just a busy bee, still alive in my hive,
I'm looking for some other world
To dream out my dreams.

There were Kings who were laughing in the rain
And they told me I'd come here to lead the parade
All the colours were changing, The sky was in ruins
The lights are all shining on me and on you

Oh, Shine on........
Say it's alright Joe
The night will soon be over
And nothing and no one will ever know.

Open my eyes Joe
I'd like to see the daylight
The clock on the wall says it's time to leave.
Never seen the same face twice

Never walked the same way
The little love that I have known
I keep to myself.
If there's a fire it's asleep in my bed

I must leave it to burn till it burns itself out
Catch as you can I'm not staying here long
I'll be coming back early or never at all
Shine on...


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by TonyM101

Say It's Alright Joe Lyrics as written by Mike Rutherford (gb)

Lyrics © CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

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Say It's Alright Joe song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I have to first say that I always forgot how incredible this song is...I think this really is the most underrated song on one of their most underrated albums. Still, there are a couple sections of this song that have interested me since I listened to this the first time. The two parts where the pace picks up and the music becomes brash and pompous...

    "There were Kings who were laughing in the rain And they told me I'd come here to lead the parade All the colours were changing, The sky was in ruins The lights are all shining on me and on you Oh, Shine on........"

    I'd always thought this section, the first introduction of the part in the song, was almost psychedelic in its imagery and the juxtaposition of tone. The slower parts of the song are obvious intimate moments of vulnerability–a troubled man alone in a bar well after everyone else is gone, confiding in the piano player. But this "kings" section is like a hallucination–perhaps it's a brief flash of hope for him, his mind and dreams getting away from him. But to me it really sounds as if it's a reference to drug abuse to get away from problems–preceded by the lines "I'm looking for some other world / to dream out my dreams," and then by imagery like swirling color and "the sky was in ruins."

    The next part like this...

    "If there's a fire it's asleep in my bed I must leave it to burn till it burns itself out Catch as you can I'm not staying here long I'll be coming back early or never at all Shine on........"

    I think the "fire" that's "asleep in [his] bed" is indicative the troubles he has at home. The next line communicates his understanding that he has to let things even out on their own, so, as he then says, he's not staying long–he's leaving his troubles behind. "I'll be coming back early or never at all"–he's either got to go face his troubles right now, or just leave them forever and start again.

    The first time I listened to this I had no idea it was such a deep and complex song, but now it always sends shivers through me. It's become one of my favorite Genesis songs.

    AdamantVisionon March 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    I thought the same as AdamantVision. The alcohol was working its magic and the "Kings" section is the manic phase.

    I bought this album in college for Follow You, a shallow pop song. Repeated listenings and I saw what great storytellers these guys were.

    The song reminds me of a sad movie Requiem for a Dream, where opiates fool them into thinking everything will be all right when the drug is sealing their doom.

    johnk73on December 07, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Great song. He's in a bar feeling sorry for himself.

    jedidivemasteron March 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Memory

    I have loved this band ever since I was 14, {1977}, and part of the enjoyment was getting lost in the lyrics and the scenes they created in my mind. I don't believe there's any band out there now that can still do that. If there is I'd be interested to hear them.

    melizzieon July 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Hear Mike Rutherford's "Moonshine" off his solo album "Smallcreep's Day". I see it as related to this, as well as "Twilight Alehouse" (an older song from the Peter Gabriel days) about a clinical depressive who finds an outlet through self-medicating with alcohol.

    vtrc1220on November 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    My original interpretation was much the same as Adamantvision's, below, though it's definitely open to interpretation. The 'troubled man' isn't necessarily a man, nor is he/she necessarily in a bar. It could be someone close to death, perhaps in hospital (clock on the wall says it's time to leave). It's a lyrically very interesting, deep song with no clear meaning but plenty of atmosphere and feelings.

    In answer to Melizzie's comment, try lyrics written by Neil Finn (Crowded House) for deep, meaningful and open to interpretation in a way that adds a lot of interest to his songs.

    Mdonne45on March 06, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Well, I kind of agree with Adamant vision, but not sure theres anything really drug/hallucinatory in this. Definately a troubled soul plus alcohol, with vast thoughts and maybe nightmares. Its either in a bar or at a friends place, where he is pouring out his troubles...maybe one more time too many and he knows this, hence 'Never again will I bother you'. Not suicidal, he wants to hide away in hope of calming his mind, with little contact with friends....Build a tower, Busy bee...existing through bad dreams. There is the struggle and hope theme running through this album Not sure if Collins and his wife of then, were breaking up at this point or a little after, but Rutherford wrote this and it could be an imaginative take of his observations of his bandmate??? Perhaps he and Collins had confided and agreed the writing of this? Duke album 2 years later, was widely believed to be all about Collins marriage break up, so it sort of fits the timeline of my thoughts around this. Musically a brilliant song, absolutely love the chorus cutting in with his nightmares of being pushed in the deep end. Banks gave many songs real atmospherics with his magic fingers, tops for me was the airy synth sound in the verse section of Blood on the rooftops....just amazing with headphones...like your'e up floating with the stars!

    stephen4y7on December 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I believe it is the story of a sad young gay man, who’s in love for Joe, possibly the piano player at a bar, or “play me a song” may be just a methafor. He wants Joe to accept his love, which he possibly has never told him about clearly. At that time, young gay people were really afraid of revealing their desires. It was a time when almost everybody were still in the closet. Gay sex was practiced anonimously, in obscure places: “never seen the same face twice, never walked the same way”. In his dreams, he listens to kings, or angels, who laugh of his suffering. They just tell him to lead the parade. Go on, shine on, live your dreams. The lights shine on him and on Joe. Joe is the guy. He just have to say it is alright. The song is sort of an announcement of love freedom in the near future, as it has really happened to a great extension.

    JorgeAvila2701on March 12, 2023   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    This song is the story of Sydney who is the second cousin of Albert Duke (Duke's Travels).

    And he likes to have a drink or two or ten. And every lunch time & evening, Sydney would go down to the bar & sit at a stool at the bar. He would listen to Joe who played the piano there.

    So this is about Sydney - the pathetic drunk - who listens to Joe playing the piano at some seedy, dark bar somewhere in downtown London....

    ToadSprocketon November 19, 2017   Link

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