Was walking through the counters of a national concern
And a cash machine was spitting by my shoulder

And I saw the multitude of faces, honest, rich and clean
As the merchandise exchanged and money roared
And a woman hot with worry slyly slipped a tin of stewing steak
Into the paper bag at her side
And her face was white with fear in case her actions were observed
So she closed her eyes to keep her conscience blind

Crying
"God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God may look the other way today

God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God may look the other way today"

Then she moved toward the exit clutching tightly at her paper bag
Perspiration trickled down her forehead
And her heart it leapt inside her as the hand laid on her shoulder
She was led away bewildered and amazed
Through her deafened ears the cash machines were shrieking on the counter
As her escort asked her softly
For her name
And a crowd of honest people rushed to help a tired old lady
Who had fainted to the whirling
Wooden floor

Crying
"God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
Surely God won't look
The other way

God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
God knows I'm good
Surely God won't look
The other way"


Lyrics submitted by saturnine

God Knows I'm Good Lyrics as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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God Knows I'm Good song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    i thought it wasnet how in the beggining of the song the lady says "god may look the other way" then when she is caught and faints she says "surely god won't look the other way".

    it is so true about how human nature makes us call out to god when we are in trouble, but when we feel justified in what we do, we hope god doesnt notice or care.

    right2interpreton July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Great song, let's talk about it

    I think an impoverished old lady is stealing food from a grocery store and feeling guilty but also feeling that it is necessary.

    She feels she is a good person but that somehow she has been brought to this stealing to remain alive.

    The chorus is like a plea for forgiveness and hoping that God will overlook her sins because, at heart, she believes that God knows she's good

    laocoonon February 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I see it as being about how people are bad people, but assume God will forgive if they pray enough, even if they never change who they are.

    Similar to these lyrics from Jethro Tull's My God "so lean upon him gently and don't call on him to save you from your social graces and the sins you used to waive."

    inpraiseoffollyon October 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I agree with folly on this one.

    It's a comment on how people use religion when it's convenient. God'll look the other way until I need him to help me out.

    One of my favorite Bowie songs that deals with hypocrisy - and there are many.

    notthattartagainon March 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    yep, the verses are definitely set up to direct your sympathy to the woman...

    "And a cash machine was spitting by my shoulder. And I saw the multitude of faces, honest, rich and clean As the merchandise exchanged and money roared. And a woman hot with worry slyly slipped a tin of stewing steak"

    If the song were written to expose the woman's hypocrisy then this verse would have to be taken as meaning something like..."here's this crazy lady with her belief in god throwing a wrench into the flawless economic system, as usual..." just doesn't jibe to me

    laocoonon April 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Comments on the cruelty of judgement in this post are delightfully interesting...

    The woman presumably steals because she needs to in order to survive. The song makes it clear that this misdeed is against her nature and she is very uncomfortable with it. The chorus supports this. The last line of the chorus is not a comment on human nature. Rather, the alteration of the last line is a comment on definition of morality.

    When the line changes to "Surely God won't look the other way", it refers to the "honest people" who are rushing to her side. She will soon be exposed publicly as a thief. It's a comment on morality, more specifically how morality is defined. Is an act judged by God, society, religion? Is there a difference? Despite repetitively invoking God, I think the song is actually challenging God's role in ultimate judgement.

    Notthattartagain - I'd be careful in your celebration of Bowie's views of hypocrisy. He's criticizing the hypocrisy of the judgement on this woman. You seem very honest, rich, and clean to me.

    omittedon February 06, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Is Bowie sympathizing with the old lady ? Is she stealiing out of necessity, or is she a kleptomaniac ? Whatever the case, he is inviting the audience to empthaize ( and sympathize ) with her plight ? Society will rush to judgement - to some people she is nothing more than a thief - but to others a poor, unfortunate soul who has stolen a tin of stewing steak in order to eat. She is not a criminal - she is poor, that is all- a victim of circumstance, and God knows that she's good - even if lesser mortals thing differently.

    Kelticon February 12, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    geez, you folks are cruel! it's easy to judge the old lady when you have what YOU need. maybe she WAS a godly person but had to choose between starvation and stealing. what would YOU do?

    this was probably based on a story bowie read in the paper.

    gregorybrianon April 18, 2008   Link

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