"Hanky Panky Nohow" as written by and John Cale....
If the sacheting of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down

Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking, falling
Down the stairs upon the law
What law?

There's a law for everything
And for Elephants that sing to keep
The cows that agriculture won't allow
Hanky Panky nohow
Hanky Panky nohow oh


Lyrics submitted by Helix Noon

"Hanky Panky Nohow" as written by John Davies Cale

Lyrics © GARNANT MUSIC

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Hanky Panky Nohow song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentA critic to the modern way of life.
    Man similar to one another, losing it's own individuality.
    He praises nature, nature without the intervention of man.
    Man now a days is going through the wrong path, technology, many, mass production and maximum efficiency are deshumanizing activities.
    We are becoming less humans every day.
    Hanky panky nohow I believe the "nohow" sounds the same as the "knowhow", but the "knowhow" in modern society is the wrong way of doing things, so Cale refers to it as the "nohow" and the hanky panky, maybe means the hitting or his call of attention to the way things are being done.
    I love to think of hope as the images of the lake or nature as a superior way of life, superior than money and vanity.
    Ar-Kikanon June 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think Ar-Kikan gets it right (basically, that the first verse is saying to look to nature and not man).

    i want to add, though, that i believe the lyrics are incorrect. i hear 'elephants that sing to feed', not 'sing to keep'. that said, the second time the chorus is sung, cale most definitely says 'name' and not 'law'. it doesn't change the meaning, but i think accuracy should be striven for with song meanings.
    sgson February 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that if you are not going to say something about the song meaning you must shut up your mouth, say that you love the song is a youtube, blog or forum post, here you should say something about the SONGMEANING(.com), sorry but im tired of this, is againt the page purpose
    neotex555on September 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAr-Kikan: I like what you have to say about this wonderful song.
    neotex555: look in the mirror
    bobandannaweavenon November 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation@Ar-Kikan Such critique of the modern way of life is enhaced by opposing it to images such as "elephants that sing to feed the cows that agriculture won't allow", an act of enormous tenderness and caring that humans have traded in their square shaping of life.
    odyshapeon June 14, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBTW, I hear "feed" instead of "keep" in that line. The intention of the elephants would remain the same, more or less. I like feeding cows better that keeping them, though ;)
    odyshapeon June 14, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"The cows that agriculture won't allow," I think this is a reference to Heck cattle, and that reference points to larger themes of genetic manipulation and perversions of science. "There's a name/law for everything..." would be another key phrase, as would the title of the song. Heck cattle were bred around the time of the setting of the album, so it fits neatly with the historical tack. A fascinating tune.
    JustinCrouseon December 19, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe meaning of this song escapes me, but I still enjoy it very much.

    John Cale is fantastic. Member of the kick ass The Velvet Underground, kick ass soloist.

    Paris 1919 is the only solo album of Cale I have. Are there any others?
    Greyshoeson December 11, 2004   Link
  • -1
    General CommentYes, there are many solo albums by him. If you are looking for another awesome John Cale album, check out Vintage Violence. I don't have many Cale solo albums either, but the ones I have are awesome and plan to get more.
    blackled222on April 03, 2005   Link
  • -1
    General CommentExcellent. I'll check it out.
    Greyshoeson July 28, 2005   Link

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