"It's A Mistake" as written by and Colin James ...
Jump down the shelters to get away
The boys are cockin' up their guns
Tell us general, is it party time?
If it is can we all come

Don't think that we don't know
Don't think that we're not trying
Don't think we move too slow
It's no use after crying

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake

After the laughter as died away
And all the boys have had their fun
No surface noise now, not much to say
They've got the bad guys on the run

Don't try to say you're sorry
Don't say he drew his gun
They've gone and grabbed old Ronnie
He's not the only one saying

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake

Tell us commander, what do you think?
Cause we know that you love all that power
Is it on then, are we on the brink?
We wish you'd all throw in the towel

We'll not fade out too soon
Not in this finest hour
Whistle your favorite tune
We'll send a card and flower

It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake

Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"It's a Mistake" as written by Colin James Hay

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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It's A Mistake song meanings
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  • +6
    General Comment+1 to Cold War and nuclear threat. For those that lived the 80's it's obvious. For the Gen-Y crowd+ it would be a history book lesson.
    PandaJerkon January 07, 2013   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThe song is NOT about Vietnam. It is about the end of the fucking world because of the risk of nuclear war. (Dont take my word for it, see what Colin Hay says about it himself)

    The 80's we a decade when we were all pretty much sure the world was going to end in a nuclear holocaust. My 20's coincided with the decade of the 80's and we were all certain it would happen, but there were many different feelings about it. Resignation, fear, a feeling we "deserved it", anger etc.

    Many bands of that time wrote songs about it of course.
    thecrossboneon January 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNuclear Armageddon.
    PaliSteveon September 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTreasure Island-Las Vegas, the pool area. This beauty of a lady asked me to come to her room to vacuum it. I realize now that she didn't need her rug vacuumed.
    jumpy73on January 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI did this posting for "red skies at night", since there was confusion about this one too.

    From a guy who lived when this came out I can assure you it was about nuclear war, as many of the 80's tunes were. In the 70's elementary schools we trained frequently for bombing, using the duck and cover under our desks. I remember a bunch of curches were marked as fallout shelters, with supplies in the basement. The 80's got better, but it was still cold war time. We were conditioned the USSR could/would bomb us at any time. We feared them and they probably feared us. I finally realize the people of the USSR just want the same things as us. They have families, lives and jobs too. Maybe things were on the verge back then, but the world is much more connected now. I always wanted to ask a Russian if they we brought up the same way, with fear of nuclear war, but I have never met one.

    This song, much like men at work's "it's a mistake" is based on never knowing who will push the launch button or launch missles by mistake and prompt the two super powers at the time to annihilate eachother.
    80stuneguyon October 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTry watching the movie Gallipoli, then read/listen to the lyrics. The Auzzies have a cultural memory...
    zhoundreton June 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcool song.
    Pink_Floyd_fanon June 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can see this both ways, to be honest -the remorse of an individual soldier who has accidentally commited an attrocity, and also as the reflections on a nuclear war that wasn't meant to be -such as the one avoided by a brave Russian soldier whose name I just can't remember -who thought that the computer was in error when it told him there was a nuclear attack. The fact that it can be read both ways just makes it more poigneit.
    Red Octoberon January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo, it isn't about Vietnam (although it is about war).
    PaliSteve is right, it's about nuclear war. This was written during a long cold war where everyone was afraid someone would accidently "press the button" and trigger "mutually assured destruction". It was during the time of the movie 'War Games'. I imagine even Austrailians were worried about it.

    Jump down the [fallout] shelters...
    No surface noise now [everything is dead]...
    we know that you love all that power...
    It's a mistake [oops I thought you attacked so I pressed the button]...

    It all refers to nuclear holocaust.
    MickMusicon January 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeeing the video, I always thought it was about the Battle of Gallipol. The lyrics themselves seem to suggest survivors at the end of it - not the end of the world.

    But I guess if Colin Hay says its about nuclear war, then it must be.
    Reckeron September 18, 2014   Link

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