Lovely girl, won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me?
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see
Lovely girl, won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me?
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see

Fleet of black, fleet of black limousines
Oh tinted machines, here comes the cavalcade
With the armored cars, armored cars like Barettas
Flags on antennas designed to keep me safe, keep me safe

And oh my my, oh hey hey
Here he comes, the candidate
Blue-eyed boy, United States
Vote for him, the candidate

Diamonds cut, diamonds cut for the carats
Plaster of Paris, the floats fill up the street
And the beauty queens, beauty queens with the white gloves
All sick from the nightclubs, they wave with pageantry, pageantry

And oh my my, oh hey hey
Here it comes, the big parade
Marching bands and barricades
Make way, for the big parade
Oh

Canvas covered, canvas covered in resin
Violent men dance the blood ballet
And the bookies say, bookies say it's the third round
Oh when Louie will go down
If he don't there's hell to pay, hell to raise

And oh my my, oh hey hey
Here he comes, the welterweight
Take a dive, for goodness sake
Did you say goodbye to the welterweight?

Catholic priest, Catholic priest in a crisis
Torn between romance and Jesus, who will win the civil war?
And he says I'm in love, I'm in love with a woman
Yeah, this is my confession, I'm leaving, I can't be a priest anymore, anymore

And oh my my, oh hey hey
There he goes, the man of faith
Left the church for a fiancé
Let him love, a man of faith
Oh

TV cameras, TV cameras, and stagehands
American Bandstand, electric guitars
And he's singin' songs, singin' songs for the lonely
Well the girls with the room keys
They know all his words by heart, by heart, and they all sing

Lovely girl, won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me?
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see
Lovely girl, won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me?
All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see

Lovely girl, won't you stay?
Oh, oh, oh

Oh my my, oh hey hey
Here she comes by saving grace
Burn the car and save the plates
She's arrived, my saving grace


Lyrics submitted by BenRunkle, edited by lh80127

Big Parade Lyrics as written by Wesley Schultz Jeremy Fraites

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Big Parade song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +4
    My Interpretation

    As a literature teacher, I often have to remind my kids that poetry should be taken literally unless clues are given that tell us to do otherwise. No need, in my opinion, to see this song any differently.

    There are five scenes: parade part 1, with a candidate; parade part 2, with the beauty queens; a prize fight; a catholic priest; and a rock and roll singer. In each of these instances, the singer has a cynical view of things that are often viewed as pure--a small-town, all-American parade, a sporting event, a Catholic priest, a young singer. Each of these reveal the singer's cynicism and inability to see the good in the world around him. However, someone comes into his life--his saving grace--who allows him to see things from a different perspective (I was blind, but now I see...). Love can make the most cynical hearts melt. As he says at the end of another song from this album (Slow down): "Only love can bring you out of it."

    cmpsdpon July 02, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I think a real understanding of this song hinges on the line "All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see," which is repeated 4 times throughout the song. His love for this girl has awoken his eyes from the broken reality of the song. The song in sandwiched in the stanza containing both elements of this: the girl and a new awakening. She is his 'saving grace.' The middle part of the song is what used to obsess his mind and the evolution to accepting grace through love. At once all he cared about was politics and the business of the world. The reference to the the painter is his experience with art--which is not mundane but rather transcendental. This experience is the beginning of his transformation. When he sees the priest leave his church for romance, he sees how romance can be corrupting, which he explores further in the next section, referencing the 'girls with the roomkeys.' Despite this realization he continues on the right path, he echo's the beginning of the poem "Lovely girl, won't you stay with me!" this time with much more enthusiasm. He wants to stay with this girl, he desires a commitment. that will transcend the world "Burn the car," he's found his "saving grace."

    lh80127on December 14, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    The candidate, the beauty queen, the boxer, the priest and the rock star represent the shallowness of our lifes. The lovely girl represents the truth and the realization that all the above is only a farce. Everything that is presented to us, politics, sport and religion is just a big parade and nothing more. The writer realized this.

    BraamKriekon February 14, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Ok, I believe that all of you are way off. My interpretation is that the verses; "the candidate", "the beauty queens", " the catholic priest", and the rock star, all represent everything that is wrong with the world. The candidate represents lying, the beauty queens represent stupid decisions, the catholic priest represents leaving something important for something material, and the rock star represents one night stands and pre-marital sexual relations. The chorus " lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me? All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see" represents how he has seen these things and given in to the unrighteous, therefore asking a pretty girl to stay the night with him. The song is titled "big parade" because all of these people mentioned would be in a big parade. Which implies that they are people to look up to, although the lyrics tell otherwise.

    Brisccj000on March 29, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    What a pretty song!

    I hear a busy busy world--with a million things going on--but the singer keeps returning to his lovely girl. It's like, everything is spinning so fast, and you have to know what you're going to hang onto--this interpretation of course is biased to my simple three listens

    I really wish I understood what the artist means through all his references! Especially about the priest. I hope to find more comments on this song soon!

    mymurseon November 17, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    This song is all about Rosie J Bass who is the "lovely girl" who became involved with the "Catholic priest" a short while before the song was written.

    They were close friends with Wesley Schultz and have since sadly called off their marriage.

    The chorus: "Lovely girl, won't you stay..." is clearly from the perspective of the priest to Rosie whereas the verses are Wesley commenting on the relationship externally

    esacbwon February 05, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    In my opinion, this song is contrasting his childhood with his adulthood. He frequently repeats the phrase "All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see". This shows his new found view on the once seemingly perfect reality of the world.

    The biggest contrast off the bat is the beauty queens: as a child you look up to beauty queens and see them almost like you would a Disney princess, yet now in adulthood he realizes they've been drunk and partying all night before.

    There's a huge aspect on government and politics also, begging with him talking about the armored cars which he thought were designed to keep him safe, when in reality they were most likely designed to keep the people in the parade safe (the Candidate). He then goes on to talk about the soldiers whom kids look up to as heroes, yet denotes them as "violent men who dance the blood ballet".

    All that is fine and good, but the most striking line to me is "Marching bands and barricades". This line in itself compares the fun-loving nature of parades (marching bands) with the reality of the world (barricades). The truth is there are people out there who plot on causing mass destruction at even parades, so barricades are in place to stop chaos. Going back to my last point, armored cars as used in parades for protection of people.

    The singer realizes the fun, free, and safe childhood he had was all an illusion and going back to a parade in his adulthood shows him that EVEN PARADES, designed for the entertainment and relaxation of families, are threatened by cruel people in the world.

    Troy15on May 17, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    So much in life is a sham, a farce, a put-on, and the actors we encounter in this song are all part of life's "big parade" (what is intended to be seen by others). It's all a show, an act. The scenes we are shown all depict people who present as one way/are supposed to symbolize something, but are something else entirely when we look further. The lovely girl/saving grace has amplified the falsehoods of life/society to the singer through her good qualities.

    The candidate is meant to symbolize JFK (the next song on the album, Charlie Boy, explores this in more detail). Politicians lie, but I also see the armored cars/safety precautions as meaningless/a hollow display of protection that ultimately did nothing to protect him. Precautions were made, but the display was all for show, as JFK was assassinated.

    The beauty queens are wearing white gloves (white symbolizes innocence and purity), but have been out drinking the night before. Their lives are completely opposite from the image they present publicly, but yet they still feign elegance and sophistication by waving with pageantry (an affect that is only done for show).

    The boxing match is thrown, and the show here is ultimately an empty one - the result has already been set. The spectator who is unaware expects a fair fight, but there isn't a fight going on at all, when it comes down to it. The fight is more like a ballet of choreographed moves that results in the predetermined fix.

    The Catholic priest claims devotion to his religion, but is easily swayed from his faith by love. He likely puts on his own show at mass and listens to the confessions of others, but he's just as guilty of his own sins. I think the singer is the least harsh on this character due to the line "let him love, a man of faith." The singer is in love, too, and he is less judgmental, and more sympathetic of this plight.

    The musician sings songs for the lonely, but he isn't - he's in bed with his fans who have room keys to his hotel. They know all of the words - both to his songs, and the ones he says to them at night. His whole persona is an act - it's likely designed to get him even more women who think they can make him less lonely.

    Enter the lovely girl again. Life is corrupt, it's untrue, it's a lie - the singer knows this. His eyes are open and he wants her to stay - the one thing that feels real to him. She is honest and free of disguise.

    I also like the other interpretation here about this song containing different elements (politics, shallow beauty, sport, religion and entertainment). The singer rejects them all in favor of true love.

    I do wish the line, "burn the car, save the plates" was a little clearer to me, but I think it represents tearing down a material image. Plates are identifiers/are tied to the owner and their driving record, and that's what will remain after the exterior is burned away - the things that make someone them, whether they're bad or good.

    I'm a little late in discovering this song, but it really made me think. (Clearly!)

    itsausernameon June 14, 2019   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    To me this song touches on a few different current issues going on with the world today. Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see Lovely girl won't you stay, won't you stay, stay with me All my life I was blind, I was blind, now I see (refers to Mother Mary, i was blind now I see being a religious reference to amazing grace.) Fleet of black, fleet of black limousines Ah tinted machines, here comes the cavalcade With the armored cars, armored cars like Barettas Flags on antennae designed to keep me safe, keep me safe (this talks of the governments show of force under the guise that its for our security) Diamonds cut, diamonds cut for the karats Plaster of Paris, the floats fill up the street And the beauty queens, beauty queens with the white gloves All sick from the night clubs, they wave with pageantry, pageantry (Diamonds, beauty queens and floats represent materialistic things and plaster of paris represents that we are molded to think highly of these things. While sick from the night clubs show chasing these things can be bad for you.) Canvas covered, canvas covered in resin The violent men who dance the blood ballet And the bookies say, bookies say it's the third round Oh when Louie will go down, if he don't there's hell to pay, and hell to raise (talks about corruption. canvas covered is showing the truth is hidden, violent men are war mongers and the blood ballet is war. the bookies represent higher up who are in control because the fight was fixed. louie the boxer is we the people who can make a change to the shots they call but still they control us with fear in there's hell to pay.) Catholic priest, Catholic priest in a crisis Torn between romance and Jesus, who will win the civil war And he says I'm in love, I'm in love with a woman Yea this is my confession, I'm leaving, I can't a priest anymore, anymore (Catholic priest in a crisis - shortage of Catholic priest and speculates its because of the doctrine that keeps them from marriage this priest is true to the church and leaves the church instead of corrupting it by keeping his love secret. it goes on to empathize with him the man of faith and calls for a change let him love, the man of faith.) T.V. cameras, t.v. cameras and stage hands American Bandstand, electric guitars And he's singin' songs, singin' songs for the lonely Well the girls with the room keys, They know all his words by heart, by heart and they all sing (tv, american bandstand and electric guitars touch on vanity and wide acceptance of it, the singer sings for the lonely but takes advantage of the groupies easily because he worked his way into their hearts; they know his words.) again now that light is shed he now can see.

    xXVXxon March 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    This song is so wonderfully American. Including the good stuff and the bad stuff. Vanity, politics, rock 'n' roll, violence...

    mermy96on May 12, 2013   Link

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