We're only making plans for Nigel
We only want what's best for him
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs that helping hand

And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

We're only making plans for Nigel
He has this future in a British steel
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel's whole future is as good as sealed, yeah

And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

Nigel is not outspoken
But he likes to speak
And he loves to be spoken to (in his work)
Nigel is happy in his work (in his work)
Nigel is happy in his work (in his world)

We're only making plans for Nigel
We only want what's best for him
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand

And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
He must be happy in his work

We're only making plans for Nigel
We only want what's best for him
We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel just needs this helping hand

We're only making plans for Nigel
He has the future in a British steel
Steel, steel, steel, steel, steel, yeah yeah

We're only making plans for Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel, Nigel


Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry

Making Plans for Nigel Lyrics as written by Colin Ivor Moulding

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Making Plans For Nigel song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    Definitely a song about parents planning the life of their child out. This song was way ahead of its time in that respect. Remember, this was 1979, long before the Generation X kids would start whining through grunge music about being dienfranchised. If you were to look up "New Wave" in the dictionary, this song would be there.
    Primus does a great cover of this song, by the way...I suggest you listen to it!

    IvoKenton December 11, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I think its about the average British bloke that was in the 80's. All he thinks he want is a steady job and everything will fit into place.

    But the stance of the song seem to suggest that Nigel hasn't got it all figured out. Mybe hs is missing out on something better.

    sillybillyon April 18, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I think that this song is about parents that control their children's lives and are unwilling to let them make their own decisions. The "we" in this song is the parents and Nigel is their son. They're planning out his whole life while he is still very young, maybe even too young to understand what is really going on.

    Its a great song and i can't believe only one other person has commented on it. Definately check it out if you haven't heard it.

    Lola.Con December 04, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Awsome song - i was born in the 80's and just discovered this song. so yeah, here is my two cents!

    to me when xtc sung 'we are making plans for nigel' they were taking on the persona of the patriachal politcal party of the time - the party that formed the company that was 'british steel'.

    so in that light they are singing about a politcal party creating jobs for workers (Nigels)

    However they (the pollies) are 'ONLY' making plans for Nigel. which kind of indicates that everyone else is neglected.... musicians!? or anyone creative i guess.

    the kooky, crazy sort of tune and singing kind of crreates a sense of madness and stupidity. I think this is an indicator to the bands attitude to the way the government was trying to plan thier lives for them, esp. when the best they could come up with was working in a steel plant! So it is kind of about nationalism, control vs. freedom, life and how depressing work is etc.

    doodleboyon October 02, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    To me, it's about a boy who may want to be a musician or something, but his parents have this fantasy of their son living the life of a "normal adult" working at a normal "responsible" job (like in a steel company) maybe be autobiographical about one of the fellows in the band, with only the name changed?

    CuteSparkinaon January 29, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    when this song came out (like 80 or 81), i also thought it was about parents who were planning their kid's life out for him. I always liked this song but kinda forgot about it. Then i picked up the Waxworks singles comp a few years ago and rediscovered the song.

    Now, when i listen to it, i feel that maybe something is wrong with Nigel. Maybe he has downs syndrome or is challenged in some way. The lyric that is he says he must be happy, then he must be happy makes me think that Nigel is not all that aware of the world around him. But then again, what do i know.

    Fistacuffson January 22, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is just perfect ! it's just impossible not to have the drum intro in my head... clearly about parents expecting their son to be a good boy : "Nigel's whole future is as good as sealed"... such an horrible line in such a healing song ! if you don't know it, go and listen to another fantastic XTC song, "No Thugs In Our House" (on "English Settlement", one of their masterpieces): in a way, it's the sequel for that song, in the continuing story of that british teen symbolized by Nigel... and if you want to know what his dreams look like, just go back to "Across The Universe" by the Boys Of Hamburg !

    The Dog That Ate...on August 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    definitely a political song, but a subtle one

    labor and conservatives in UK politics of the time, the politicians make their plans and policies for the people that are working in the factories, they need to be happy in their work, without speaking out too much or complaining too much, but society needs to be happy for the politicians to get re-elected

    oradegelleon October 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Political yes and using a metaphor of controlling and meddling parents as the government. Maybe it was meant to point the finger at both? Oppression comes in many forms.

    muddyboion September 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The only parent in this song is a controlling body describing their perfect citizen. Nigel is "happy in his work", speaks but "is not outspoken" and "loves to be spoken to". This song reeks of political mind control and numbing of the senses. "British Steel" is a deliberate choice to to describe Nigel as an employee of the government. Repetition of phrases can be viewed as hypnotic in their simplicity lulling Nigel into his simple life.

    ItsHamboneon August 25, 2010   Link

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