"For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, And Me" as written by and Ian Anderson....
Watery eyes of the last sighing seconds
Blue reflections mute and dim
Beckon tearful child of wonder
To repentance of the sin
And the blind and lusty lovers
Of the great eternal lie
Go on believing nothing
Since something has to die

And the ape's curiosity
Money power wins
And the yellow, soft mountains
Move under him

I'm with you L.E.M
Though it's a shame that it had to be you
The mother ship
Is just a blip from your trip made for two
I'm with you boys
So please employ just a little extra care
It's on my mind
I'm left behind when I should have been there
Walking with you

And the limp face hungry viewers
Fight to fasten with their eyes
Like the man hung from the trapeze
Whose fall will satisfy
And congratulate each other
On their rare and wondrous deed
That their begrudged money bought
To sow the monkey's seed

And the yellow soft mountains
They grow very still
Witness as intrusion
The humanoid thrill

I'm with you L.E.M
Though it's a shame that it had to be you
The mother ship
Is just a blip from my trip made for two
I'm with you boys
So please employ just a little extra care
It's on my mind
I'm left behind when I should have been there
Walking with you
With you
With you

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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For Michael Collins, Jeffrey, And Me song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentMichael Collins was the NASA astronaut, not the Irish revolutionary!

    The song is essentially about going to great effort, but failing to achive fulfillment, or about being forced to merely observe important events (personal, historical, whatever), without being able to act.

    Michael Collins was the third member of the Apollo 11 crew; whilst Armstrong and Aldrin went down to the moon's surface for the first moon landing in 1969, Collins remained in the orbiting command module - all that way, but not quite.... Quite sad, in a way. I think that was the aspect Ian was drawing upon in writing a song of wider significances to his own experiences, Jeffrey's, indeed, anyone's.

    'L.E.M' refers to the lunar lander, the 'Lunar Excursion Module'.
    Ministryon June 19, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIntriguing song, and a poignant recollection it inspires indeed, of the lonliness that I as a young kid imagined that Michael Collins felt, orbiting the moon in the command module.

    I wionder what Tull listeners' take is on the mentions of the ape's curiosity, the monkey's seed and the humanoid thrill. Does this link with the "money power win" notiion? Is Ian saying that despite a great feat of human ingenuity, going to the moon, we're still primitive and primal back here on earth.

    Kudos to sonmeanings.net for providing a forum for thoughtful exchange of ideas on great artists like those of Tull!
    excomposton October 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey, thanks for the insight. I am really amazed that the subject of this song is what it is. The section "I'm with you L.E.M., but it's a shame it had to be you" has always been a favorite part of any Tull song for me, but I never knew what I was singing or why.
    orphan_yachtson October 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe Jeffrey is Jeffrey hammond hammond, same as song for Jeffrey, one of ians oldest friends.
    youknowimrighton August 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWhether watching something as sophisticated and complex as astronauts orbiting the moon, returning to a spacecraft and then back to earth, or observing trapeze artists somersault through the air, it is the danger, it is the risk of harm that holds our attention. We hardly need to justify spending billions and billions on the former because it evokes the same kind of high and kick as the latter. And as our culture's best and brightest, we love to toast each other for our incredible, modern achievements, when after all, we merely acted-out our thirst for thrills.
    smiledownuponyoursonon May 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWatery eyes... blue reflections: Both dealing with water-one of Michael's tears and one of the earth so far away.

    beckon tearful child... repentance of the sin: He's extremely happy with his achievement, but is afraid and tries to be ready for death.

    And the blind and lusty lovers... something has to die: People on Earth, believing that their short lives (generations upon generations of them) are significant and important, are really very small. This is kind of the same vibe from The Beatles - Within You Without You: "When it's far too late, when they pass away."

    And the ape's curiosity... mountains move under him: Again, simple minded man in reference to "large" and "significant" piles of gold or money. Moving, referring to currency exchange: sales, stock, etc.

    I think everyone else here definitely nailed the last section of the song. However, I think there is more to be said about the "trip made for two... should of be there" lines.

    It could be interpreted as missed opportunity, especially romantically. Two people walk together while another person is sad and alone, wishing that he/she was with him/her instead.

    puzzudon October 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionIan Anderson has always been Drug free, so he says. This WONDERFUL song lyrics are just this side of Sgt. Pepper stuff, just amazing. I only want to know what is the LEM he is with??
    Skyle1on February 01, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI wonder what is referred to as "yellow soft mountains". Do they refer to some features of lunar surface?
    11dStringon August 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm pretty sure that the chorus is just Michael Collins, thinking aloud. Pretty straightforward, actually.

    "I'm with you L.E.M., though it's a shame that it had to be you. The mother ship is just a blip from your trip made for two. I'm with you boys, so please employ just a little extra care. It's on my mind, I'm left behind when I should have been there, walking with you..."

    As Collins orbits around the moon, this is what goes through his mind. Perhaps he's talking to himself a little bit. He knows that where his colleagues are, his shuttle is merely a "blip" in the sky for them, if they're even thinking of him at all in their excitement. He feels envious and regretful, and wishes that he could be there to share what must have been the biggest moment in the lives of his two friends (as I can imagine training for a space trip must create quite special bonds).

    I'm not sure that the rest of the lyrics necessarily have to be connected to the chorus. Benefit is a very, very introspective album, and I'm not even gonna attempt to get inside Ian's mind in songs like this one. I get the feeling, though, that it's about humanity, as many of you have said before.
    BaptizedinFireon November 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI got the connection to Michael Collins, the astronaut, as a kid and I got kick out of it. Who else but Anderson would think to write a song, or even a short story, about the plight of the guy who didn't walk on the moon?

    But why is the song also for "Jeffery and Me"? I'll hazard a guess.

    Jeffrey was Jeffrey Hammond, a close friend of Anderson's from art school. They had a band together, but Hammond left the band to study painting. Apparently Jeffrey was never far from Anderson's thoughts, judging by the number of Tull songs dedicated to "Jeffrey."

    I believe "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" was in part Anderson's wondering how Jeffrey might be feeling about the success of Anderson's band -- walking on the moon if you will -- while Jeffrey was left behind. Perhaps the song was even part of Anderson's campaign to woo Jeffrey into Jethro Tull.

    However it happened, Anderson succeeded. Jeffrey Hammond played bass on the next Jethro Tull album, "Aqualung."
    LuckyTownon January 01, 2015   Link

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