Standing at the bus stop with my shopping in my hands
When I'm overhearing elder ladies as the rumours start to fly
You can hear them in the school yard scrap yard chip shop phone box
In the pool hall at the shoe stall every corner turned around

It started with a school girl who was running running home to her mum and dad
Told them she was playing in the change room of her local footballside
They said tell us again so she told them again
They said tell us the truth they found it hard to believe
Cause he taught our Steve he even trained me
Taught uncle John who's father of three

But it only takes one tree to make a thousand matches
It only takes one match to burn a thousand trees

You see it in the class room in the swimming pool where the match stick
Men are made at the scouts hall at the football where the wise we trust are paid
They all honour his name he did a lot for the game

He got his name knocked up above the sports ground gates
But now they are ripping them down stamping the ground
Picture gathers dust behind the bar in the lounge

It only takes one tree to make a thousand matches
It only takes one match to burn a thousand trees

Wake up and smell the rain shake up he's back to stay
He hasn't been on a holiday his growing seeds don't believe why he's been away

In the school yard change room playing fields bathroom phone box office blocks
Corner turned around they keep doubting the flame tossing the blame
Got his name knocked up above the sports ground gates
But now they're ripping them down stamping the ground
Picture gathers dust in the bar in the lounge

It only takes one tree to make a thousand matches
It only takes one match to burn a thousand trees

Lyrics submitted by Jay

A Thousand Trees song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    i can confirm that the song is about a schoolgirl who was raped by a well-respected PE teacher. when she told her parents, they didn't believe her at first because he'd taught everyone they knew! it turned out he had (or at least he was accused), then ended up going back to teaching but the kids (growing seeds) didnt believe that he'd been on holiday. his reputation was dented, so he quit. The line 'it only takes one tree to make 1000 matches, only takes 1 match to burn 1000 trees' is saying it took 1 teacher to teach 1000 kids down the years, but just 1 of those kids could dent the reputation of 1000 teachers. that is 100% genuinely true about what the song is about.

    Handyon April 08, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    definitely agree on the one match=thousand trees thing. I think that it only either takes one event to start a thousand rumors, or that it takes one man (preferably one with a good reputation) to start the rumors.

    pumkinhedon November 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i believe this song is about a case of child-abuse in the small welsh community where the Stereophonics originate from, and how it shocked the community, as everyone knew the accused, and he was like a part of everyones lives in some way.

    turtonhoton May 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    could it be that the coach is falsely accused ? when I read the lyrics I have a feeling the accent lies more on the gossip than on the child abuse. one day he is a celebrated coach, the next day rumours start to spread and he ends up being 'ripped down'

    just an idea

    one hit wonderon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song typifies a small south wales valley community, and how scandal and news travels. how mud sticks so to speak and how ironic life can be, when every thing is going great it can change so quickly.i think the coach has been falsely accused... (welsh girl 4 eva)

    johnson1506on May 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song is most definately about a case of abuse, as has been mentioned already.

    Living in a small community as I do, i find the lines "keep doubting the flame tossing the blame Got his name knocked up above the sports ground gates" very revealing.

    in small communities, people often dismiss accusations against people as nonsense simply because they know the person, rather than whether or not it's true. Hence, rather than accept the person in the song is guilty, they are throwing the blame around elsewhere.

    This one person (the match) has likely had a negative, abusive effect over a number of people over a number of years destroying their lives (burned a thousand trees) and it is only coming out once someone finally made an accusation

    PeeriePuddingon October 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    (sorry for duplication, but I posted a reply and not a comment, being new! oops! :-0)

    I love the double meaning of the line 'his growing seeds don't believe why he's been away' ie the seeds in the containers are like the kids; needing nourishment and care and attention in order to grow and develop. They in their innocence don't believe why he's been away, since they are oblivious to the more serious issues that they don't fully understand or aren't aware of, having more basic needs.

    I agree that the emphasis in the song is more about the rumour, partly because the incident is merely alluded to. I think it's interesting that a lot of the comments mention the abuse as if it's true, which kind of mirrors the sense of the tendency of people to gossip without knowing the facts. It's a shame that the accused loses his innocent name whether he is guilty or not, which of course the song can't tell us.

    I like the use of the word 'match', since it both represents the start of a rumour, which can cause much destruction - and the playing fields where a football match is played, a possible breeding ground for gossip and group-think. Also, the match burning a thousand trees could be to do with how abuse itself causes many wide-reaching and terrible consequences, such as loss of faith in authority, innocence and relationships; breeds suspicion and mistrust, negative emotions such as shame and guilt - and even abuse itself.

    The writer(s) are clearly lamenting the small town mentalities which give rise to the damaging effects of rumour and hearsay. It is sad not just how a reputation can hang on a thread, but how the collective reality of a community can be on shaky foundations; and that more often than not, people will scapegoat an outsider, an oddball, the falsely accused, or any other unfortunate victim who upsets the prevailing belief in what's right, truthful or the norm. Truth can be the casualty and pretentiousness wins.

    Having said all that, this song rocks and sounds cool loud!

    daveeeedon October 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Stereophonics, for me at least, went downhill after this song, so early in their career too, not saying they never produced another decent song, far from it, but nothing holds a candle, no doubt lit with a match to this

    'It only takes one tree to make a thousand matches but only takes one match to burn a thousand trees' came from the back of a box of England's Glory matches as I'm sure has been mentioned before, I'm trying a similar thing with cigarette boxes, so far I have one lyric, " Smoking seriously harms you and others around you, You can do it we can help, your Doctor or pharmacist can help you stop smoking" not quite as catchy is it?

    marsamgodon September 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this song is in my opinion the BEST phonics song with local boy in the photograph a close second.

    scottishboyon May 02, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    it is one of the best phonics songs and turtonhot is right it is a case of childabuse involving a football trainer which taught many people in that area.

    krusty15on May 05, 2002   Link

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