On Preston platform
Do your soft shoe shuffle dance
Brush away the cigarette ash that's
Falling down your pants
And you sadly wonder
Does the nurse treat your old man
The way she should
She made you tea
Asked for your autograph
What a laugh

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"Cheap Day Return" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Cheap Day Return song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentIan had been visiting his father, seriously ill in hospital in Blackpool. Whilst waiting for a connecting train to London, at Preston station (Lancashire), he sketched this song, about the experience of visiting.

    He may have been joking, but Ian claimed the song would have been longer, but the train arrived!
    Ministryon June 19, 2002   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningJust for reference, a "cheap day return" is a reduced-price return train ticket in which both the outward and return journey are made in the same day.
    slamon December 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmight be true, i really don't know, though it doesn't fit in with the most of the other songs on the album, it not being about god or religion.
    moe2000on May 03, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI wow not about here about this tune...
    I dont understand, to be it is a wonderful piece... Short but so sweet and soft...

    I agree it does not fit the aqualung's concept album... But I'm still glad Ian decided to put it in there...

    I think it kind of speaks for itself... I'd like to have a demonstration of the soft shoe shuffle dance... So I could have an idea of what it looks like...

    I also wonder if the nurse here is the same person has in the song ''Nursie'' from the living in the past album??
    bookends_smileon February 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEvery great artist has a period during his career when he could write about used toilet paper and actually make it sound great! If you ask me, Ian Anderson was at this very period in his career when he wrote the tracks for the Aqualung LP. This little diddy is about absolutely NOTHING, and yet it sounds SO GREAT! Glad it made it on the album.
    RayManon June 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUnexpected greatness. The "lost" track on Aqualung.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, but what has Aqualung itself have to do with God? And Cross-eyed mary? This is actually NOT a concept album, Ian has made it very clear that he didn't intend it to be and if I remember correctly it is one of the reasons why they made THICK AS A BRICK (aka A musical revolution in rock music). What is this about? I think it speaks by itself. Ian Anderson, as seen in the album HEAVY HORSES (mainly in the song of the same name) isn't a conservative but holds some interesting thoughts about how we might have flushed out the baby with the water (does this make sense? As an example, how we sometimes cut off with the past and lose more than what was negative, like a side effect to progress: freedom and individualism in the 18th-19th centuries for example destroyed part of respect for authority and sense of community). As he points out that nowadays domesticated horses have not much of a meaning, and that farming has lost most of what made it sort of a communion with nature, I think he is talking here about retirement houses and how we kinda throw away our old people and go on with our own lives. He might express remorse or simply concern about how his old man is taken care of by a nurse, while back in the days the kids would be in charge of their parents while they grow old.
    Maybe I am overinterpreting this too.
    WhereWasBiggleson September 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@ bookends_smile: yes, from what I have read, the two songs "cheap-day return" and "nursie" refer to the same day, when Ian was visiting his dad in hospital.
    haripu69on November 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhereWasBiggles: I like your interpretation, and I think it DOES give us a glimpse into the workings of Ian Anderson's mind... and why I like listening to him. Thanks for sharing it.
    RayManon March 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinitely about a visit to the old man. Is the nurse caring for his father because she is genuinely concerned for his welfare or more worried about getting Ian's autograph?
    Targetsuks2on January 07, 2008   Link

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