"Song of Joy" as written by and Nicholas Edward Cave....
Once there was a song, the song yearned to be sung
It was a spinning song about the king of rock 'n' roll
The king was first a young prince, the prince was the best
With his black jelly hair he crashed onto a stage in Vegas
The king had a queen, the queen's hair was a stairway
She tended the castle garden, and in the garden planted a tree
The garden tree was a stairway, it was sixteen branches high
On the top branch was a nest, sing the high cloudy nest
In the nest there was a bird, the bird had a wing
The wing had a feather, spin the feather and sing the wind

The king in time died, the queen's heart broke like a vow
And the tree returned to the earth with the nest and the bird
But the feather spun upward, upward and upward
Spinning all the weather vanes
And you're sitting at the kitchen table, listening to the radio

And I love you, and I love you, and I love you, and I love you
And I love you, and I love you, and I love you
Peace will come, and peace will come, and peace will come in time
Time will come, and time will come, a time will come for us
Peace will come, and peace will come, and peace will come in time
Time will come, and time will come, a time will come for us

Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by aenimal

"Spinning Song" as written by Nicholas Cave

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Song of Joy song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentThe singer is the killer, thats what makes the song so scary. He says the killer quotes John Milton on the walls, the singer claiming that the cops told him this, yet he himself quotes paradise lost: "Farewell happy fields Where joy forever dwells ".
    The last part is what freaked me out the most when I first heard it. No matter how often I've heard it since, its still good for a chill.
    Beltaneon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe narrator was definitely the killer, and as far as I can see there's three clear indications of that provided: firstly, the echo of the early reference to his tale of murder befalling "a man and his family" in the question "are you a family man?" Secondly, there's the fact that the narrator quotes Milton, as others have pointed out, fitting the killer's MO, and finally and most eeriely there's the narrator's subtly but distinctly too-knowing description of the details of the murder ("those lunatic eyes, the hungry kitchen-knife").

    Brilliant song, gives you a crawling sense of terror and foreboding without ever hammering it's point home clearly.
    cassiusitsoveron July 15, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song for me centres around the ambiguity of weather the narrator is the killer and the irony of his wife being named Joy .

    gloom, that's an interesting idea i hadn't thought of the inclusion of "Red Right Hand" in the song in quite those terms before...

    Girgo, I don't think that the character in Red right Hand can possibly be the same as the character in Song of Joy simply for me the character in Red Right Hand is God. the quote from Milton itself refers to the possibility of God's vengeance on the rebels.


    Farewell, happy fields,
    Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,

    Doesn't the fact that he quotes paradise lost, almost abscent-mindedly during the recounting of the tale of his children's and wife's murder clarly point to him as being the murderer? He appears to be further implicated when he claims that the killer "In my house he wrote "his red right hand" That, I'm told is from Paradise Lost".

    The fact that the narrator first quotes Paradise Lost in conversation and then claims to have no knowledge of it, for me seals the case that he is the killer.

    affe, I don't see any evidence of the killer suffering from a split personailty or of this song being a kind of retelling of Jekyl and Hyde.

    I think this song is about a family man and doctor whose wife became depressed and he grew bored of her and in revenge (the quotation of Milton "His Red Right Hand" supports the theme of vengeanvce if you look at it in it's original context) he murdered them and took up the life of a vagrant to kill others.

    GravityAlwaysWins I think that it is the latter. I think the quotation from paradise lost

    Farewell, happy fields,
    Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,

    summarises not only the oncoming of Joy's depression but of the narrator's desire to murder his family.
    Dressed2Depresson July 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbsolute terror!! The whole song. The perfect combination of music, voice, lyrics makes you shover as hell. One of the few songs in the world that awake a very strong emotion in my: FEAR!!

    A real masterpiece.
    Non June 29, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, I think he was the killer he was talking about, who now just wonders possibly looking to just recreate his crimes. 'In my house he wrote "his red right hand" ' is a line that strongly suggests it was the story teller himself (Cave, in a fantasy role of an insane Cave) who did it.
    Gloomon October 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou are right about narrator/killer being the ame. The absolute worst part isn't the past, but it is what happens after the story ends. These lines are building something up:

    "It seems he has done many many more "

    "I am upon your step and you are a family man "

    "Do you, sir, have a room?
    Are you beckoning me in? "
    JASGripenon April 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti know that the narrator is the killer, but the other day a question was brought up that i'd never thought about:

    was his insanity the cause of joy's depression, or was her depression the cause of his insanity? if the latter...what was wrong with her? and even with the children?
    GravityAlwaysWinson February 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmight i also point out that the line "all things move toward their end" was also in "Do You Love Me?" (pt 1)... if there is a connection, it might be the same men in both songs.. although "Do You Love Me?" (pt 2) speaks of paedophilia, so i kind of doubt it.
    meg;on August 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDefinitely the killer - that's what makes the song. Without it, it's just some guy telling the tale of his dead family to some other guy in the woods......who cares? It also would remove any tension or suspense this song had if he was NOT the killer.

    And surprising to me, the thing that proved this to me initially was the one Milton quote no ones mentioned.

    " 'The sun to me is dark, and silent as the moon'.....do you sir have a room,....are ya beckoning me in?"

    Or, basically, "here's a John Milton quote Mr. Family man, are you well read, do you understand that i'm admitting to you that i killed my own family? How bout that spare room? You inviting me in here or what?

    Phenomenal song.
    StickityWicketon July 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think Dressed2Depress had it right, in that the narrator resented Joy's depression, since it robbed him of his own happiness. The narrator hints that Joy was guilty in some way when he asks if it was "an act of contrition" that caused her sorrow, suggesting that she deserved it (in his own mind). Also, he makes sure to point out that the daughters were "their mother's children," which could only add to his sense of loss and feelings of resentment.
    artsluton December 14, 2009   Link

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