"Death Of A Clown" as written by and Raymond Douglas/davies Davies....
My makeup is dry and it cracks round my chin
I'm drowning my sorrows in whiskey and gin
The lion-tamer's whip doesn't crack anymore
The lions they won't fight and the tigers won't roar

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
So let's all drink to the death of a clown
Won't someone help me to break up this crown?
Let's all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let's all drink to the death of a clown

The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor
Nobody needs fortunes told anymore
The trainer of insects is crouched on his knees
And frantically looking for runaway fleas

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let's all drink to the death of a clown
So won't someone help me to break up this crown?
Let's all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Let's all drink to the death of a clown
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la...


Lyrics submitted by thewallbreaker67

"Death of a Clown" as written by Raymond Douglas Davies Dave Davies

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Death Of A Clown song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentthere were no cell phones and video games when this song was written, but i think you've got the right vibe.

    it's someone past their time. getting older, prime time has passed by. things change. the circus theme is symbolic of life passing by, life changing, not an actual circus.

    lion tamers whip could be a man who used to attract women, his whip no longer cracking, tigers and lions = women, whom no longer roar or bite at the lion tamer.

    the old fortune teller dead on the floor = no future needed for an old man, life has been lived.

    just what i get from it, not saying i'm right.
    iluke1on June 06, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe song is autobiographical.
    Dave Davies wrote it when he reached a point in his life where he realized he couldn't remain the hard-partying raver anymore and he had to grow up. The "clown" is Dave's former self.

    Ii read it in one of the many books on the Kinks I've read, probably "Kink: An Autobiography" by Dave Davies.
    no springson January 31, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionBrilliant song!

    And yes, interesting discussion, whether it is "cracks" or "clags".
    Clags is indeed a word, a noun. Here it is refered to a someting which sticks: thefreedictionary.com/…
    voltaboltaon March 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning“Death of a Clown” tells with devastating candor about the woes of loneliness and sorrow through it’s story of an alcoholic circus clown. It remains one of the most telling three minute format singles about seeing the world through the jaded lenses of substance abuse and depression.

    “My makeup is dry and it crags on my chin”. It’s as if the speaker is putting up a front symbolized by makeup and his faults are beginning to show through his worn out, dry facade. At the same time, he won’t stop the act, as the makeup clags. It sticks, and he continues to live a lie as he drowns his “sorrows in whiskey and gin”. By turning to the bottle, he has chosen the path of escape and would rather cover up his sorrows by drowning them than make any effort to resolve them.

    “The lion tamer’s whip” he says, “doesn’t crack anymore. The lion’s they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar.” Everything expressed here is a contradiction, because nothing makes sense to the speaker anymore. The whip and the animals don’t perform their functions and are thus void of all purpose. More alarmingly, the speaker could be unreliable and merely claiming in his stupor that these things are awry if he no longer sees the purpose.

    The chorus, interestingly, repeats the speakers sentiment of drinking himself to death in saying “Let’s all drink to the death of a clown.” By drinking to his death, his companions are in a way bringing about the speaker’s destruction by encouraging his demise. However, the speaker already seems unreliable, so this could merely be a drunken ideation and justification of death in being convinced that the world wants him gone anyway.

    Lastly, the fortune teller of the circus is said to be “dead on the floor”. Upon saying that the fortune teller is dead the speaker states “nobody needs fortunes told anymore”. The cause and effect of this is very compelling in that the need for the fortune teller did not expire before he did. This suggests that the speaker thinks that fortunes being told was an obligatory but negative event, and furthermore that he doesn’t believe in any grander scheme. This serves to further perpetuate the meaninglessness of his reality. He knows that his current hell is all he’ll ever experience.
    Analyticoon March 22, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought this song is about the downfall of the clown, someone whose job is to make others happy. "Let's all drink to the death of a clown" means that people either don't care or find pleasure in his demise. Dave extends the scenario to include other circus staff as well, all of whom no longer have their former glory and are struggling with current hardship.

    "Nobody needs fortunes told anymore" probably signifies the end of an era, which implies how helpless the circus staffs are against the harsh reality.
    bfactoron February 02, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song especially the pearl drops at the beginning, I think this song is a tale of the downfall of circuses which were probably more popular in the kinks time but now we have videogames and cellphones and other stuff to entertain us
    lordguatamaon January 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song especially the pearl drops at the beginning, I think this song is a tale of the downfall of circuses which were probably more popular in the kinks time but now we have videogames and cellphones and other stuff to entertain us
    lordguatamaon January 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, that's a good way of looking at it!
    Drdestructoon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, that's a good way of looking at it!
    Drdestructoon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about knock-on effects. 1 clown dies, lions don't fight, tigres don't roar...
    limoon April 02, 2007   Link

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