Through northern lights on back streets
I told the coachman, "Just drive me on,
It's the same old destination
But a different world to sing upon."
So he threw back his head and he counted.
I jumped out about five to nine.
And I waved at the stage door-keeper
Said, "Mister, get me to the stage on time."
Oh, but the rain wasn't made of water
And the snow didn't have a place in the sun
So I slipped behind a rainbow
And waited till the show had done.

I packed my ammunition.
Inside the crowd was shouting, "Encore",
But I had a most funny feeling
It wasn't me they were shouting for.
So when the tall dark lady smiled at me
I said, "Oh, baby let us go for a ride."
And we came upon two drinks or four
And popped them oh so neatly inside.

Oh, but the rain wasn't made of water
And the snow didn't have a place in the sun
So we slipped behind a rainbow
And lay there until we had done.

Let me pack you deep in my suitcase.
Oh, there's sure to be room for two
Or you can drive me to the airplane
But don't let me catch those rainbow blues.

Lyrics submitted by Faerytotheworld

Rainbow Blues Lyrics as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Rainbow Blues song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI think in this song Ian anderson is talking about performing live or touring. It soon becomes a routine. Different countries but they soon start to look the same.

    I take from this song that when hes on stage he puts on a kind of mask, that perhaps an alter ego comes out which would make sense of-

    But I had a most funny feeling ---
    It wasnt me they were shouting for.

    Im not so sure of the chorus. But it's my favourite part of the song. He doesn't feel he fits inside this routine world where everything is organised and categorised. So he'll wait behind a rainbow til the show is done.

    or maybe this song just embodies his loathing of the world.

    Faerytotheworldon May 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust had a thought.

    Oh, but the rain wasnt made of water
    And the snow didnt have a place in the sun
    So I slipped behind a rainbow
    And waited till the show had done

    He is the snow and the sun is, maybe, the crowd or lights or the stage atmosphere. He can't survive himself like that. so he waits for the end of the show to come out of himself again.
    Faerytotheworldon May 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is far more direct. Anderson is singing about Jethro Tull being upstaged by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow at a gig. Blackmore, it should be noted, always wanted to be the Tull guitarist, but Martin Barre was a) a better guitarist b) had a smaller ego that wouldn't clash wish Anderson's and c) was well established within the band. Blackmore went on to cover this song with his awful Blackmore's Night band.
    JackKnifeBarberon October 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis theory has a hole in it. Blackmore's Rainbow wasn't formed until a year after this song was recorded.
    The song clearly has something to do with Ian's disconnection from his stage persona, and possibly disconnection induced by mind-altering substances.
    bowmankaon April 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRainbow Blues = Downer after LSD or bad trip, Other references old slang names for various drugs. Northern Lights, Rain, Dark Lady, Snow, Poppers after drink. Slipped behind a rainbow = out of your head.Singing from a different world = out of your head or away with the fairies. Packing you deep inside a suitcase = hiding it away.Or it could just be coincidental.
    Thufiron April 19, 2013   Link

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