I held the book so tightly in my hands,
I saw your picture, heard you call my name
There was something strange, I could not look away
I wanted to be there, I wanted to go

You gave me no warning
You gave no reason
But I was with you
Right by your side
Just give me the strength, and I will help you
And they can try their hardest, cos they don't frighten me

It is written in the book

It is hotter than I've known before, but I feel so cold, and I don't
know why
But if the fire within your heart can beat the storm
Then I really believe, you could make it right

Ooh the time has come now
We must show our feelings
But I'm looking right through you
And your heart is empty

Whatever happened to you it's too late to change now
There's nowhere you can run to, no place to hide
Ah you let me down!

...but wait a minute, I don't understand
It's getting stronger, so grab my hand
Don't wanna leave you, don't wanna go
But I'm losing all control
Can't you see me? I'm slipping away
I can only stay if you've the will to keep me here

It is written in the book

Oh so many times since I've read those words
Just waiting to see you, can you see me?

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

Behind the Lines Lyrics as written by Phil Collins Michael Rutherford


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Behind The Lines song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's about the Book of Love.
    The friend met in the lovestory looks empty and true persons are Behind the lines.

    But the Story grabs you unasked. Will is the key to stay in the story and the story is Written in the book, meaning it is both powerful and deliberate to open, to an extend.

    Wooh! How about that? I have known the song for 20-something years and thought likewise, it to be impossible to explain on interpret.
    But see above, it is there. Comments?
    garybeeon May 13, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI always interpreted this song as about a failed marriage/relationship.

    The singer is looking through a wedding album/scrap book and seeing the "Forever"/"Love you always", etc. type of lines and wondering what went wrong. He's calling out that there was a commitment/promise "written in the book".

    There's then memories of trying to reconcile and work through the issues, not really understanding where the disconnect happened but realizing that there was some sort of serious misstep. He comes back to find her "heart is empty" and he eventually realizes that reconciliation isn't possible.

    The last verse is a final plea and the overall song is a realization that there were conditions "Behind the lines" that he didn't account for.

    In the context of the whole album, the next song, "Duchess" is about a performer who lives for the performance and lets the rest of her life turn to crap. Then "Guide Vocal" is a whole "I stood by you, supported you and you took it for granted" that could be the other party from "Behind the lines".

    I may be reading more into it than was intended, but I see a pretty clear story of someone who chose career over relationship and regretted the consequences.
    Cujo2047on March 23, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is only speculation, but Phil wrote this as his marriage was on the rocks, largely due to the demands of his music career. It seems to be about the heavy realization that the relationship has reached a tipping point, one where no "talk" is going to be the antidote.

    I think the "book" is the collection of memories of earlier, happier days, when the relationship was full of promise, when commitment was easy, because life was good.

    And isn't it an ancient story that when one's relationship is on the rocks, that he transports back to those sublime days, to that 'Book of Love,' of lovelier, less complicated times, before returning again to wondering what went wrong?

    When I first read the song title, "Behind the Lines," I first thought of war, meaning the "battle lines," meaning, what others cannot see looking superficially from the outside in.

    It might also refer to the "lines" in the "book" referenced in the song. If their earlier scrapbook of their honeymoon phase contained love notes and photos and and sweet yet superficial overtures, then what is "behind the lines" is a more complicated story of 'life getting in the way," a spotlight shone on the realities of relationships post-honeymoon.
    IDanielsenon October 01, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNow this one is a puzzle to me; if anyone can help, please do.

    From what I understand, it could be a kid reading some fairytale, wanting to join in the actual story (kinda like neverending story style) but the rest just wards me off from that idea...

    Ill keep searching for info on this one
    budwheizzah1on July 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo idea what the song is all about ...
    Great song, thou, as a live opener ...
    Great double drums, tempo shifts, then Phil came out from behind his kit and stepped upfront to sing ...
    The Seekeron May 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Behind The Lines" is a point on a logical circle.

    "All is fair in love and war." --> The book of love --> (To read) between the lines --> Behind the lines (war reference) --> [repeat logic]
    vitaminfon February 24, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs anyone getting the possibility of a God vibe from this?

    Hence "written in the book"?

    and the discussed person is never revealed to be female or even a love interest
    teranz0on October 11, 2017   Link

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