Hello one and all
Was it you I used to know
Can't you hear me call
On this old ham radio
All I got to say
I'm alive and feeling fine
If you come my way
You can share my poison wine

No marigolds in the promised land
There's a hole in the ground
Where they used to grow
Any man left on the Rio Grande
Is the king of the world
As far as I know

I don't want your bread
I don't need your helping hand
I can't be no savage
I can't be no highwayman
Show me where you are
You and I will spend this day
Driving in my car
Through the ruins of Santa Fe


I'm reading last year's papers
Although I don't know why
Assassins cons and rapers
Might as well die

If you come around
No more pain and no regrets
Watch the sun go brown
Smoking cobalt cigarettes
There's no need to hide
Taking things the easy way
If I stay inside
I might live til Saturday


Lyrics submitted by thermo4, edited by kidcharlemagne1971, DruGus, chicagoan

"King of the World" as written by Walter Carl Becker Donald Jay Fagen

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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King of the World song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentNuclear war survivor talking to someone on Ham radio. not sure if anyone else is alive in that part of the US. He says "he the king of the world as far as I know"...

    My take
    TMiller68on March 08, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentHas anyone noticed how the timbre of the synth solo in the bridge (and at the end) sounds vaguely like that of an air raid siren? How clever!
    k_zildjianon September 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentagree with above..."Smoking Cobalt Cigerettes", Cobalt 60 is a radioactive compound & "no marigolds in the promised land. There's a hole in the ground where they used to grow" ...says it all
    moechitlinson August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song reminds me a lot of the vonnegut book Cat's Cradle. the first time i heard this it blew me away. i had to listen to it like three times in a row. one of my favorite dan tunes.
    acevanson December 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have the song book with this in it, and it is cobalt. I always thought it was Pogo"s cigarettes. This has to be one of the most straight forward lyrics of any SD song. no secret messages or double entendre or hidden meanings to figure out. I also like the sound of the voices on radio tuning in and out on the break. Great song.
    PDnAZon December 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe. Referencing NJJ's comment about the missing lyrics, does anyone else hear, in "assassins cons & rapists, might as well die," Dorothy Parker:

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.
    tesujion September 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGreat song to end an album with. Still surprising to my ears to hear the fast background rhythm guitar kick in at about 30 sec.

    OK, Sure, its a post apocalyptic vision, last man standing in the ruins of once beautiful land...but I think the reason it resounds for many is that captures a feeling of alienation, but of being happy with that...King of the World...after surviving the nuclearlike devastation of an acid trip, ....come on, this was the early 70s...their second studio album...
    hans5on May 06, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDefinitely post apocalyptic survivor chillin looking for companionship. Perhaps their best song.
    lockwompon December 23, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere is a section of lyrics missing:

    I'm reading last year's papers,
    Although I don't know why,
    Assasins cons & rapers might as well die
    NJJon October 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favourite Dan song. I heard a live version of this from 1974 and it was faster and louder than the studio version. Just kicked me in the face (if they're capable of that). Love the keyboard bit
    Danfanon February 19, 2008   Link

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