Funeral Tango
Scott Walker Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Oh I can see them now
Clutching a handkerchief
And blowing me a kiss
Discreetly asking how
How came he died so young
Or was he very old
Is the body still warm
Or is it already cold
All doors are open wide
They grope around inside
At my desk my drawers my trunk
There's nothing left to hide
Some love letters are there
And an old photograph
They've laid my poor soul bare
And now all they do is laugh

Oh I can see them all
So formal and so stiff
Like a sergeant at arms
At a policeman's ball
And everybody's pushing
To be the first in line
Their hearts upon their sleeves
Like a ten cent valentine
The old women are there
Too old to give a damn
They've brought along the kids
Who don't know who I am
They're thinking about the price of my funeral bouquet
What they're thinking isn't nice
For now they'll have to pay

Oh I see all of you
All of my phony friends
Who can't wait for it ends
Who can't wait till it's through
Oh I see all of you
You've been laughing all these years
Now all that you have left
Are a few crocodile tears
Ah you don't even know
That you're entering your hell
As you leave my cemetery
You think you're doing well
With that one who's at your side
You're as proud as you can be
Ah she's going to make you cry
But not the way you cried for me

Oh I can see me now
So cold and so alone
As the flowers slowly die
In my field of little bones
Oh I can see me now
I can see me at the end
Of this voyage that I'm on
Without a love without a friend
Now all this that I see
Is not what I deserve
They really have a nerve
To say these things to me
No girls just bread and water
And your money you must save




For there'll be nothing left for us
When you're dead and in your grave

Overall Meaning

Funeral Tango is a haunting and poignant song about death and its aftermath. The song starts with the singer imagining his funeral and picturing his friends and acquaintances paying their last respects. He sees them all mourning and asking questions about how he died and what will happen next. However, he also sees through their pretense and realizes that many of them are only there to show off or gossip. They are not truly grieving for him or honoring his memory.


As the song progresses, the singer becomes more introspective and begins to contemplate his own mortality. He sees himself lying in a grave, with only wilted flowers for company. He realizes that he has been cheated in life, never finding true love or friendship, and meaning his legacy will be a sad one. As the song ends, he admonishes his friends to save their money and not to waste it on his funeral.


The lyrics of Funeral Tango are deeply introspective and honest. They force the listener to confront their own mortality and reflect on the legacy they will leave behind. The song is both melancholy and uplifting, reminding us that death is a natural part of life and that we should cherish every moment we have.


Line by Line Meaning

Oh I can see them now
The singer sees the mourners at his funeral


Clutching a handkerchief
The mourners are holding a handkerchief due to sadness or stuffiness or formality


And blowing me a kiss
The mourners are saying goodbye or expressing their love for the singer


Discreetly asking how
The mourners are quietly inquiring about the cause of the artist's death


How came he died so young
The mourners are questioning why the artist died young


Or was he very old
The mourners are questioning whether the singer was old or young


Is the body still warm
The mourners are curious about the state of the singer's body


Or is it already cold
The mourners are questioning whether the artist's body is still warm or already cold


All doors are open wide
All of the drawers and compartments in the artist's room have been searched


They grope around inside
The mourners are searching through the artist's things in a somewhat invasive manner


At my desk my drawers my trunk
The mourners are looking in various spots in the singer's room


There's nothing left to hide
The mourners have found everything there is to find


Some love letters are there
The mourners found love letters among the singer's things


And an old photograph
The mourners found an old photograph among the singer's things


They've laid my poor soul bare
The mourners have found everything and exposed the singer completely


And now all they do is laugh
The mourners are now laughing or having a good time after completing their search of the artist's things


Oh I can see them all
The artist sees more mourners


So formal and so stiff
The mourners are very formal and not showing much emotion


Like a sergeant at arms
The mourners are formal and robotic, similar to a sergeant at arms


At a policeman's ball
The mourners are overly formal, like they're attending a ball for policemen


And everybody's pushing
Everyone is trying to get to the front and be seen


To be the first in line
People are trying to be the first to move by the coffin or be the first out of the cemetery


Their hearts upon their sleeves
The mourners are showing their emotions openly


Like a ten cent valentine
The mourners' emotions are cheap and insincere, like a cheap Valentine's Day present


The old women are there
There are elderly women at the funeral


Too old to give a damn
The elderly women don't care much about the funeral


They've brought along the kids
The elderly women brought children with them to the funeral


Who don't know who I am
The children don't know who the artist is


They're thinking about the price of my funeral bouquet
Some of the mourners are thinking about how much the funeral flowers cost


What they're thinking isn't nice
The thoughts of the mourners regarding the cost of the flowers aren't kind


For now they'll have to pay
They will have to pay for the bouquet regardless of whether they deem it expensive or not


Oh I see all of you
The artist sees all of his so-called friends


All of my phony friends
The artist is calling his supposed friends 'phony'


Who can't wait for it ends
The artist's friends are waiting for the funeral to be over so they can leave


Who can't wait till it's through
The singer's friends can't wait until the funeral is over


You've been laughing all these years
The artist's friends have been laughing at the artist for years


Now all that you have left
The singer's friends were just pretending to be kind to him


Are a few crocodile tears
The supposedly emotional reactions from his friends are as insincere as the tears of the reptilian creatures


Ah you don't even know
His friends don't even know


That you're entering your hell
The supposed friends are unaware that they are living through something that might later haunt them mentally


As you leave my cemetery
The friends are leaving the cemetery, thinking they are guiltless and have escaped any future haunting thoughts


You think you're doing well
The friends thinks that they are doing well in carrying on with their lives after the funeral


With that one who's at your side
The friends have someone accompanying them, whom the singer realizes will prove to be not just physically but also emotionally damaging for them


You're as proud as you can be
The friend seems to have gotten someone whom they deemed fit, hence feeling proud


Ah she's going to make you cry
The person that the friend is with in future will make them cry, emotionally disturbing them for years to come


But not the way you cried for me
The artist states that their friend will not cry for them the way they will cry for the new person they will later be with


Oh I can see me now
The singer is imagining their own funeral


So cold and so alone
The artist feels that they will be very cold and very much alone in death


As the flowers slowly die
The flowers on the singer's grave are wilting


In my field of little bones
The singer's remains are just bones


I can see me at the end
The singer sees their own death


Of this voyage that I'm on
The artist describes their journey through life as a voyage


Without a love without a friend
The artist will die alone and without love or a true friend


Now all this that I see
The singer reflects on what they see when imagining their own death


Is not what I deserve
The singer does not think that this is what they deserve


They really have a nerve
The mourners and the phony friends have the nerve to show insincere sorrow at his death


To say these things to me
The artist thinks that it is inappropriate for people to be saying things about them now that they're dead


No girls just bread and water
The artist did not have any girls, only mere essentials like bread and water to sustain themselves until death


And your money you must save
The singer advises readers to save their money instead of waste it on him


For there'll be nothing left for us
There will be nothing left for the mourners after they have spent their money on the artist


When you're dead and in your grave
When in one's grave, one cannot take money with them.




Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: Mort Shuman, Jacques Roman Brel, Eric Blau

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Demonheadxx

Lyrics:

Oh I can see them now
Clutching a handkerchief
And blowing me a kiss
Discreetly asking how
How came he died so young
Or was he very old
Is the body still warm
Or is it already cold
All doors are open wide
They grope around inside
At my desk my drawers my trunk
There's nothing left to hide
Some love letters are there
And an old photograph
They've laid my poor soul bare
And now all they do is laugh
Oh I can see them all
So formal and so stiff
Like a sergeant at arms
At a policeman's ball
And everybody's pushing
To be the first in line
Their hearts upon their sleeves
Like a ten cent valentine
The old women are there
Too old to give a damn
They've brought along the kids
Who don't know who I am
They're thinking about the price of my funeral bouquet
What they're thinking isn't nice
For now they'll have to pay
Oh I see all of you
All of my phony friends
Who can't wait for it ends
Who can't wait till it's through
Oh I see all of you
You've been laughing all these years
Now all that you have left
Are a few crocodile tears
Ah you don't even know
That you're entering your hell
As you leave my cemetery
You think you're doing well
With that one who's at your side
You're as proud as you can be
Ah she's going to make you cry
But not the way you cried for me
Oh I can see me now
So cold and so alone
As the flowers slowly die
In my field of little bones
Oh I can see me now
I can see me at the end
Of this voyage that I'm on
Without a love without a friend
Now all this that I see
Is not what I deserve
They really have a nerve
To say these things to me
No girls just bread and water
And your money you must save
For there'll be nothing left for us
When you're dead and in your grave



All comments from YouTube:

LameStudiosInc

Scott Walker somehow lived most of his career in obscurity yet still had a massive influence on music.

SUGAYARON111

What an expressive voice.!! He is a really genius.

David Brown

As I explore more of Scotts music the influence on another famous musician becomes ever more prevalent..I see now why David Bowie was a huge fan.

Behappy

I just keep coming back and back to this man. First heard of him when Bisch bosh? Came out.. made the rounds as a "dark" album.. I just never really, liked it... But lately, I've been listening quite heavily to these older songs. Absolutely genius! Amazing man and such an expressive voice, uniquely and sincerely expressive.. it's just wonderful, thank you Scott

IanA212121

So farewell Scott Walker.
I heard his "Farmer in the City" on BBC Radio3 in August 2017 and bought the 5 Classic Albums set on Amazon. Played in the car for ages. 62 super tracks.

rafaela oliveira

The best approximation to Brel music. RIP, Mr.Noel Scott Engel.

June Errington

God bless Scott Walker one of the best RIP

MrChrisHermes

spot on, such delivery 

Hannah Looney

très bien traduit!

Alex Zambra

Nobody sung Brel better. RIP Scott.

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