A small cigar can change the world
I know, I've done it frequently at parties
Where I've won all the guests' attention
With my generosity and suave gentlemanly bearing
A little flat tin case is all you need
Breast-pocket conversation opener
And one of those ciggie lighters that look rather good
You can throw away when empty
Must be declared a great success
My small cigars all vanish within minutes

Excuse me, mine host, that I may visit
A nearby tobacconist
To replenish my supply of small cigars
And make the party swing again

I know my clothes seem shabby
And don't fit this Hampstead soiree
Where unread copies of Rolling Stone
Well-thumbed Playboys
Decorate the hi-fi stereo record shelves
If you ask me they're on their way
To upper-middle-class oblivion
The stupid twits, they roll their only
One cigarette between them
My small cigar's redundant now
In the haze of smoking pleasure
Call it a day
Get the hell away
Go down the cafe
For a cup of real tea

By the tube station, there's a drunk old fool
Who sells papers in the rush hour
I hand to him ten small cigars
He smiles, says, ''Son, God bless you''

A small cigar
Has changed his world, my friend
A small cigar
Has changed the world again

A small cigar

Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

"A Small Cigar" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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A Small Cigar song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt was supposed to be on the "too old to rock'n'roll"-album. so there is no need to speculate about the social background of its main character, it is obviously old rocker Ray.

    And I love the song, too. Good stuff.
    haripu69on November 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom CupOfWonder.com:

    Particularly in the early 1970's, many people assumed Ian was a regular user of 'mind-expanding' drugs. As he said in an article he wrote for Trouser Press Magazine, in October 1982: "Of course, people who saw me jumping about on-stage thought I was taking every drug under the sun. No matter how many times I would say politely, "No, thank you, I would not like a joint ", they'd say, "Aw, C'MON, man, HEY... " Rather than be rude or get angry bottled it up, all these feelings of growing up among a generation I felt I didn't belong with surfaced on Benefit". This attitude to drugs is apparent in the second verse of 'A Small Cigar':
    "If you ask me they're on their way
    to upper-middle-class oblivion.
    The stupid twits, they roll their only one cigarette between them".
    The other people at the party are sharing a joint:
    "My small cigar's redundant now
    in the haze of smoking pleasure.
    Call it a day, Get the hell away".
    The smell of cannabis fills the room, so Ian leaves early:
    "Go down the cafe, For a cup of real tea."
    'Tea' being a slang term for cannabis, of course, as distinct from 'real' tea, the drink!
    Krendall2006on April 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song seems to be about someone who doesn't fit in. Either he's from a lower social background or is a bit older. Nonetheless, when the other begin smoking marijuana, he leaves the party and no longer cares if he fits in or not. The mood of the lyrics changes to bitterness in the middle , but returns to a gentlemanly politeness in the end.

    Damn good song. Hard to believe that it wasn't put on an album when it was recorded.
    offhandon June 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would have to disagree with your last statement. It's an uninspiring song, IMO.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 06, 2006   Link

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