Spring light in a hazy May
And a man with a gun at the door.
Someone's crawling on the roof above
All the media here for the show.
I've been waiting for our friends to come
Like spiders down ropes to free-fall
A thirty round clip for a visiting card
Admit one to the embassy ball.
Caught in the crossfire on Princes Gate Avenue
In go the windows and out go the lights.
Call me a doctor. Fetch me a policeman.
I'm down on the floor in one hell of a fight

I'm just a soul with an innocent face
A regular boy dressed in blue,
Conducting myself in a proper way
As befitting the job that I do.
They came down on me like a ton of bricks,
Swept off my feet, knocked about.
There's nothing for it but to sit and wait
For the hard men to get me out.
Caught in the crossfire on Princes Gate Avenue
In go the windows and out go the lights.
Call me a doctor. Fetch me a policeman.
I'm down on the floor in one hell of a fight.

Calm reason floats from the street below,
And the slow fuse burns through the night.
Everyone's tried to talk it through
But they can't seem to get the deal right.
Somewhere there are Brownings in a two-hand hold,
Cocked and locked, one up the spout.
There's nothing for it but to sit and wait
For the hard men to get me out.
Caught in the crossfire on Princes Gate Avenue
In go the windows and out go the lights.
Call me a doctor. Fetch me a policeman.
I'm down on the floor in one hell of a fight.


Lyrics submitted by inpraiseoffolly

"Crossfire" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Crossfire song meanings
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  • +2
    Song Meaning"Crossfire" is about the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege, when the Iranian Embassy on Princes Gate (not 'Princes Gate Avenue' - Anderson apparently added the extra word to make it scan) in London was seized by six gunmen seeking independence for the Iranian province of Khuzestan. The song is apparently from the viewpoint of Police Constable Trevor Lock ("a regular boy dressed in blue"), a Diplomatic Protection Group officer assigned to the embassy, who was overpowered by the gunmen and held with the other hostages, mostly Iranian embassy staff.

    On the sixth day of the siege, soldiers from the elite Special Air Service ("the hard men") ended the siege, abseiling down from the roof ("like spiders down ropes to free-fall"), stormed the building ("In go the windows, out go the lights") and killed five of the six hostage takers.
    slamon December 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Somewhere there are Brownings in a two-hand hold,
    Cocked and locked, one up the spout."

    Another lyric indicating that Ian Anderson is somewhat more erudite than most rockers when it comes to firearms (see my offering under "I'm Your Gun" for some technical details). As if I needed another reason, this solidifies Tull and Ian as my favorites - an enthusiastic following which now spans 50 years of my life.

    This lyric refers to the Browning P-35 or "High Power" 9mm pistol, initially developed by American firearms genius John Moses Browning as the intended successor to his very successful M1911 .45 caliber pistol, which had been adopted by the US military as its standard issue sidearm in 1911. The Browning High Power first saw service during WW2 and was the issued sidearm to the British SAS at the time. The High Power is a single action semi-automatic pistol, meaning that the hammer must be cocked to the rear manually or by movement of the slide for each round to be fired. "Cocked and locked, one up the spout" refers to the ready condition of the pistol, which means the hammer is back (cocked), the safety on (locked) with a live round chambered (one up the spout).
    Hoplophileon September 14, 2019   Link

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