Once I was a soldier
I rode on a big white horse
Silver pistols at my side
Carryin' the flags of war
And I Iost track of the men who fell
In the cannon's roar
I never got over bein' a soldier

Once I was a tax man
Collectin' dollars and dimes
I heard the rich man grumble
I heard the poor man cry
Some few couldn't afford to pay
Were put to a shackle and key
I never got over bein' a tax man

Once I was a ruler
About twelve inches long
Three times me made a yardstick
36 inches high
36 inches high was l
36 inches high
I never got over 36 inches high

Lyrics submitted by RevAKMA, edited by hbowie

36 Inches High song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentSomeone PLEASE help me understand these lyrics... what does it even mean.
    EnduringChillon December 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWell, first, these lyrics exhibit Nick Lowe's love of wordplay for its own sake. (This is the guy who named his first EP "Bowi" after David Bowie had released one titled "Low".) So you see that Nick is playing with different meanings for the word "ruler" and for the phrase "never got over". In the last stanza, he says he was a ruler, which would mean a king or president, in the context of what came before in the song, but then switches to using the word to mean a measuring device that is 12 inches long.

    Overall, though, I think the song is about playing roles given to us by society, especially roles that give us power over others. And he ends by humorously suggesting that these sorts of roles don't really amount to much.
    hbowieon July 25, 2015   Link

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