At the time just before 'Steve' (what his friends called him) wrote these lyrics, he was 'going with' the subject of the song (I'll call her 'Liz'). At a celebrity party in London, Liz was...
Now that I've lost everything to you
You say you want to start something new
And it's breaking my heart you're leaving
Baby, I'm grieving

But if you want to leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh baby baby it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it's a wild world
I'll always remember you like a child, girl

You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do
And it's breaking my heart in two
'Cause I never want to see you sad girl
Don't be a bad girl

But if you want to leave take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware
Beware

Oh baby baby it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it's a wild world
And I'll always remember you like a child, girl

Baby I love you
But if you want to leave take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware
Beware

Oh baby baby it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it's a wild world
And I'll always remember you like a child, girl

Oh baby baby it's a wild world
And it's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh baby baby it's a wild world
And I'll always remember you like a child, girl


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Wild World" as written by Yusuf Islam

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Wild World song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +8
    General CommentThis song is NOT about a father and daughter. Many of you are taking things too literally. This song is most certainly written from the perspective of a guy who has been dumped by (a possibly somewhat younger) girlfriend.
    Rumpelstiltskinon February 20, 2012   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI guess I don't have anything too insightful to add, but I'll try anyway. To me the song is about a young woman eager to see what the world has to offer her. She's obviously naive, but determined nonetheless. The line "it's hard to get by just upon a smile" means to me that the woman only thinks she understands how the world works. Also, the fact that the narrator calls her "girl" has to imply she's unknowing. Another thing is the "remember you as a child" line. I guess that also means that the narrator knows she'll be changed. It's an amazing song -- the realization that he must let her go even know if she ever returns she won't be the same. He just can't stop her -- perhaps he loves her too much to try.
    jpockon May 21, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think of my friends and i when i hear this song. we're young, but not too young, and almost ready to try and make something of ourselves in the world but not sure how to do it. i think this song is about just that- a young girl wanting to come into her own and striving for independence, but a little uncertain and scared. i myself feel a little disheartened when i hear this song; it frightens me to think of the perils that are hiding around every corner in life, but it also excites me to think that soon, i will hopefully build up the strength, stamina and wisdom necessary for robbing those perils of their power over my life. wow that was deep lol
    XtremeDoGloveRon June 27, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI've always thought this song was sung by a man deeply in love with a girl younger than him at least in terms of experience. He has lost everything to her meaning he would give up anything and has for her. But she is young and innocent and naieve(sp?) and wants to explore the world maybe pursue an acting career or something. He is more experienced and understands that the world can be a dangerous place especially to the innocent and he wants to warn her. He loves her so much he is willing to let her go but it hurts him to think of what she will encounter. Then the next song, "Sad Lisa" seems to me to be her coming back a very broken person.
    singleeyeon January 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song means everything to alot of people. Its when your in a relationship and you have to let them go, but you have to warn them everything isnt how it seems or whats in the movies. Especially applies now, with bombs in America, Iraq and bomb threats in Australia. They just raided and found alot of bombs and weapons in Sydney and Melbourne. Its only a matter of time
    syko_braton November 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAfter much deliberation, I believe this song was written about a girl wanting to make it in showbusiness, the entertainment industry. I think the author had already had some experience in this area and may have already been popular, then started seeing a girl who was a naive nobody. She starts believing she can make it on her own based on some comments of some higher-ups in the business due to exposure from being around the author, so she ditches the author so she can head out to Hollywood, or something to that effect. Problem is, she doesn't know what she is talking about, she only has these dreams, and thinks it will be very easy to make it. The author knows better, hence the line "It's hard to get by just upon a smile", and this song is a warning to her, kind of like "it doesn't quite work that way, but hey, knock yourself out". The line "I hope you have alot of nice things to wear" was a way of saying "I hope you make it"... then the next line "But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there" is basically saying "but I've seen the ugly side of this industry, and I am highly concerned". He knows that naive young women with big dreams can easily be taken advantage of in Hollywood and similar places. He tries to sum this up by saying "You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do, And it's breakin' my heart in two, Because I never wanna see you a sad girl". He then repeats his idea that he's trying to warn her about people taking advantage of her, but if she still wants to go, then she's got his blessing and he's not going to fight it, and he'll be rooting for her to succeed... just be careful... in the lines "But if you wanna leave, take good care,
    I hope you make a lot of nice friends out there,
    But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware". I think the central theme to the song is that the author has been in the exact footsteps of this girl, trying to make it in showbusiness, and because of that he has seen the shady side, so he's warning her, but at the same time, he's done it himself, so he's letting her go without a fight due to not wanting to be hypocritical.
    corndogggyon November 28, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't doubt that the soung could be about Patti D'Arbanville, it could be about a daughter or it could be about any random parting. What Cat has managed to achieve is to capture the ambivalence of wishing a loved one well whilst suffering heartache at the same time.

    A couple of years ago I had a dream that when I was a child I was close to a little girl, and that she stopped being my friend because I was wanting to only be with like-minded boys. That dream left me very emotional and this song has much the same affect on me, especially all the references to "girl".

    Whatever he originally meant, he's managed to encapsulate the agony and denial of heartache beautifully.
    McWulfon July 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlove this song
    ALWAYSYOURS4EVERon March 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It is so beautiful. I think Cat Stevens is just warning someone to be careful about the choices she makes.
    AlbinoPink3on May 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have heard this song before.but sing by Mr.Big
    it is a really lovely song
    yikwanon May 21, 2002   Link

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