Let's begin

Peter Pumpkinhead came to town
Spreading wisdom and cash around
Fed the starving and housed the poor
Showed the Vatican what gold's for

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead fooled them all
Emptied churches and shopping malls
When he spoke, it would raise the roof
Peter Pumpkinhead told the truth

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?
Oh my!

Peter Pumpkinhead put to shame
Governments who would slur his name
Plots and sex scandals failed outright
Peter merely said
Any kind of love is alright

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?

Peter Pumpkinhead was too good
Had him nailed to a chunk of wood
He died grinning on live TV
Hanging there he looked a lot like you
And an awful lot like me!

But he made too many enemies
Of the people who would keep us on our knees
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead?

Hooray for Peter Pumpkin
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkin
Hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead
Oh my oh my oh!
Don't it make you want to cry, oh


Lyrics submitted by pumkinhed

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead [LP Version] Lyrics as written by ANDY PARTRIDGE

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    It is perhaps instinctive to try to work out exactly who Peter Pumpkinhead is supposed to be a metaphor for. In fact, he is no-one in particular. Rather, he is a generic figurehead who advocates a more tolerant, progressive, and inclusive society. The unfortunate truth is that there have been a great many such individuals throughout history who have had their efforts for good stymied through various means - some of them fatal.

    EvolutionBeanFeaston October 01, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    An xtc newsletter quotes Andy describing this carved Jack-o-Lantern that sat on a fencepost somewhere between his house and the "back shed" where he recorded. He observed it decaying day after day and had a thought to put it in a song.

    Further meanings have been covered well, though. XTC songs are never very vague in message or story. They tend to say exactly what they're about, and it's often something simple but passionate, like love, lust, hate, or compassion.

    go Andy! -phase

    warmPhaseon July 27, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Crash Test Dummies cover better? That is sacrelige. Krackonis must be burned.

    Also, according to Andy, it's not about any particular person, not even JFK. Peter Pumpkinhead was the name of a jack-o-lantern he had carved, and, in typical quirky Andy fashion, he decided the gourd should be a hero in a song. The song is just about a general sort of too-good-for-his-own-good type.

    lord_lacolithon April 18, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    lord_lacolith is correct, Peter Pumkin is in fact a carved out Hallowe'en pumpkin, although he may be interpreted as a kind of everyman for any figure in history who died trying to do good, but "made too many enemies of the people who would keep us on our knees". There are references to both Jesus and JFK ("emptied churches and shopping malls", and "plots and sex scandals failed outright" respectively, for example), but to view the song as being about any single figure is a rather narrow interpretation, and I doubt Andy Partridge (like many other great songwriters) would ever write anything so specific.

    whapcapnon June 01, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    XTC has said that this song is about John F. Kennedy and is indeed likening him to Jesus. That JFK could have been a modern day savior but was too successful in appealing to and uniting the public which posed a threat to the political parties and would have diminished their power. It also supports/ties in with the conspiracy theories surrounding his assassination. Brilliant song.

    PhoebeQon August 30, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Lead singer Andy Partridge once stated that he was not referring to any one being, but to such characters and their lives as a whole; namely that their mission to do good resulted in their death brought about by "government" figures. But the Jesus Christ reference is quite obvious though, in the lines about being 'nailed to a chunk of wood.' Peter Pumpkinhead is a fictional character, but seems to encapsulate the lifestyle of Jesus and other such inspirational and decent people who were put to death or shamed/murdered for what they believed in. Not sure where JFK comes into this. Some even believe it is partly about John Lennon.

    All Is Dreamon June 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It's widely believed that Peter Pumpkinhead is basically Jesus.

    pumkinhedon December 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Actually it sounds very much like they are talking about John F Kennedy.

    Peter Pumpkinhead, refering obviously to being shot in the head and it exploding like a pumpkin.

    Plus he did have conflicts with the Vatican and other such people. And he was killed for trying to make the world a better place.

    Or so the 'conspiracies' say.

    Krackonison February 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My Opinion

    It is obvious he is talking about John F. Kennedy. If some of you may already know Kennedy had the nickname of Peter Pumpkin Head because his head was a little large since he was a kid. And not only that, what other person had the balls to confront the vatican about its mistakes? He made too many enemies, so they killed him. Thats my opinion. Check and you'll see I'm right.

    youb6ib9on May 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This is the first song I have ever heard by XTC and while I liked it at first it took me awhile to get into and now I really enjoy listening to it. In fact this song is the reason why I bought more XTC cds.

    My favorite part has to be is when he sings "he looked a lot like you / and an awful lot like me".

    adistantshipon December 30, 2005   Link

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