"The Barry Williams Show" as written by and Peter Gabriel....
Let's go

One man at the window
One girl at the bar
Saw that look of recognition
When they know just who you are
I seen you on the tv
I seen you on that show
You make the people crazy
And then you let them go

Before the show we calm them
We sympathize, we care
And the hostile folk we keep apart
'Til the red light says on air'
Did you see our leather lovers
All tied up to the chair
Did you catch those child molesters
No one else goes there

What a show, the Barry Williams show
What a show,
Dysfunctional excess
Is all it took for my success
The greater pain that they endure
The more you know the show will scored
It's showtime

Got the reputation of a surgeon
Cos they cannot feel the cut
It looks so very simple
But it really is an art
They call our studio the hospital'
Making money from the sick
We let people be themselves
There is no other trick

My lover stole my girlfriend'
I keep beating up my ex'
I want to kill my neighbor'
My daughter's selling sex'
My s/m lover hurt me'
My girl became a man'
I love my daughter's rapist
My life's gone down the pan'

What a show, the Barry Williams show
The Barry Williams show
Dysfunctional excess
Is all it took for my success
And when the punches start to fly
The ratings always read so high
It's showtime

That girl has got no scruples'
Not a wrinkle on her face
You would not believe the plot she conceived
So they'd let her take my place
Well, no man is an island
No man is a sea
But this display of emotion
Is all but drowning me

What a show, oh what a show
On my show, the Barry Williams show
It's my show
What a show
Dysfunctional excess
Is all it took for my success

The best tv you've ever seen
Where people say the things that they really mean
I hear my name, I hear them roar
For the one more time I take the floor
Just one more Barry Williams show
We're gonna take you where you want to go
It's showtime

Come on down
Come on down

Lyrics submitted by mike_patton

"The Barry Williams Show" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Barry Williams Show song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI don't know if this is a real show in England or if Gabriel's just poking fun at Jerry Springer. Either way, it's a really good song and it has some funny lyrics in spots.
    Black Plagueon April 08, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a general dig at talk shows today and their willingness to do anything to get ratings.

    Its funny, when he decided on the name of the song, he wasn't aware there was a famous Barry Williams in the US, but when he found out, he worked him into the Video.
    gheilneron June 19, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat's left out seems to me quite disturbing. Someone's gotten the better of Barry Williams, master manipulator. He's lost his show to a pretender, and is now "drowning" in emotion, when he always stayed above the fray. In that context
    "... the one more time I take the floor
    just one more Barry Williams show
    we're gonna take you where you want to go"
    seems very final.

    There's always one song on a Gabriel album that *seems* lightweight, but has hidden depth. "Steam," "Sledgehammer," etc. This song seems like a tongue-in-cheek look at a fairly revolting Jerry Springer-ish social phenomenon, but I think it's also about What Comes Next. And to top everything that the Barry Williams show has done before, What Comes Next will be extreme.
    Khaeron April 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOooh. This song is biting (just from going off of the lyrics). It's mocking talk shows where the crazier the episode/guests are, the better. And the host is just so proud of it, because putting these crazy people on TV and letting them tell their stories has made him famous. What a sick practice! Really, the song gets the point across quite well.
    EnduringChillon June 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt seems to be a commentary on exploiting people's troubles and conflicts on popular shows like Jerry Springer. In the end,which can be confirmed by the video, Barry has an obsessed fan who plots to murder him where it talks about the girl with no scruples who conceived this unbelievable plot. It then goes on to say "no man is an island" is a quote from MEDITATION XVII by John Donne, which is about how when a man dies, everyone is affected by it. So it seems the fan succeeded with her plot and murdered Barry, and now everyone is affected by the loss. If he was actually killed, or if his spot was just taken - who knows.
    WirelessBrainon October 09, 2014   Link

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