"Little Johnny Jewel" as written by and Tom Verlaine....
Now Little Johnny Jewel,
Oh, he's so cool,
He has no decision,
He's just trying to tell a vision.
Some thought that this was sad,
And others thought it mad,
They just scratching the surface,
JJ can do the floor kiss.
Was he on display?
No, no, not today.
All that guy ever said,
He said, "I want my little wing-head."
He half-asleep at night
Over his head, sensation of flight.
And he wake up dreaming,
And he run down to the airport,
The rush, the roar,
And he crouched down behind a fence,
With a chest full of lights,
He loses his senses...
Oh Little Johnny Jewel,
He's so cool,
But if you see him looking lost
You ain't gotta come on so boss!
And you know what he's paid,
You know that he's paid the price,
All you gotta do for that guy
Is wink your eye.

Lyrics submitted by exact

Little Johnny Jewel song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favourites... I read it as a story, or hypothetical anecdote, relating to a guy who has removed himself from the usual flow of life in search of his own ideal (his 'vision'), and his dedication to representing this in some way. The final verse is like a secret understanding of this guy, like Tom knows that there is something more profound or worthwhile in what Johnny is doing/thinking. IMFO.
    Rocason November 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow Cool is this song!? With this song, I cannot describe Televsion - Psychedelic Rock, Jazz Punk, Avant-Garde Anti Pop - difficult classification defines a great band. Love that Riff - doo, doo, doo.....doo, doo, doo!
    bkat004on April 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the guitar solo. The first time I really listened to it I had it on an mp3 player and I wasn't really paying attention. Then the solo came on and I burst into tears, it reminded me of whale songs. There is just something really sad about that series of notes.
    rbenyakovon February 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso cool
    viciou5on July 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlso best riff ever and best improvisation ever. The bit with the reggae twangs, you know - after the riff quiets a little at around 4 mins in, "doo doo doo DUH-DUH x DUH-DUH x DUH-DUH doo doo doo", that's awesome.
    Rocason November 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard somewhere that this song was about Iggy Pop (real name James Jewel Osterberg). No idea if that's true, but the apparent drug references would make sense in that context... ;-)
    losttangoon July 30, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI always thought this was about a Vietnam vet who suffered from PTSD and eventually succumbed to madness.

    The best version of this is on "Live At The Old Waldof', IMHO.
    originofstormson November 06, 2015   Link

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