War made him a soldier
Little Frankie Mear
Peace left him a loser
The little bombardier

Lines of worry appeared with age
Unskilled hands that knew no trade
Spent his time in the picture house
The little bombardier

Frankie drank his money
The little that he made
Told his woes to no man
Friendless, lonely days

Then one day, in the ABC
Four bright eyes gazed longingly
At the ice-cream in the hand of
The little bombardier

Sunshine entered our Frankie's days
Gone his worries, his hopeless maze
His life was fun and his heart was full of joy

Two young children had changed his aims
He gave them toffees and played their games
He brought them presents with every coin he made

Then two gentlemen called on him
Asked him for his name
Why was he friends with the children
Were they just a game?

Leave them alone or we'll get sore
We've had blokes like you in the station before
The hand of authority said no more
To the little bombardier

Packed his bags, his heart in pain
Wiped a tear and caught a train
Not to be seen in the town again
The little bombardier

Lyrics submitted by saturnine, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Little Bombardier" as written by David Bowie

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

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Little Bombardier song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis is the most tragic song I have ever heard, and I think all those stupid people who keep harrassing innocent people (like paediatricans) and accusing them of being kiddy fiddlers, should take heed!
    amy darlingon November 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBowie, who was still in his teens when he wrote this, draws the listener in, and on the surface, allows the us to feel sympathy for Frankie Mear, the Little Bombardier. However, like many of Bowie's lyrics, the meaning behind the song is less straight forward than we might imagine. Therein lies is a distinct ambiguity; is the hero ( anti-hero ? ) of the story really a paedophile, or is Frankie Mear just a lonely ex-soldier who is wrongly targeted and ostracised by the community for simply being friendly towards children - hmmm ? Bowie leaves us to make up our own minds.
    Kelticon February 12, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes, I preffer the term Childlike violinist.
    Wanderpopson November 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIndeed, when there was all the trouble with the paedophile-hunting lynch mobs in Porstmouth, this is the song I thought of.
    But bowie has hinted, at times, that the song wasn't about a miscarriage of justice - see Nic Pegg's book, in the "Albums" chapter. He seems to be saying Little Frankie was a paedo after all - and, as I just said somewhere else, is it a coincidence that "Please Mr Gravedigger" is on the same LP side?
    imrazoron July 30, 2010   Link

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