Mad John
Small Faces Lyrics


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There was an old man who lived in the greenwood
Nobody knew him or what he had done
But mothers would say to their children, beware of mad John

John would sing with the birds in the morning
Laugh with the wind in the cold end of night
But people from behind their curtains, said he's not quite right
John had it sussed, he was living the life of a tramp
Yes, his bed was the cold and the damp but the sun was his friend
He was free

So here was a wise one who loved all the haters
He loved them so much that their hate turned to fear
And shaking from behind their curtains the loved ones would hear

Day-di-di-di-di, day-di-di-di-di
Day-di-di-di-di, ooh




Day-di-di-di-di, day-di-di-di-di
Day-di-di-di-di, ooh

Overall Meaning

The song "Mad John" by Small Faces tells the story of an old man who lived in the greenwood, and it is a cautionary tale for children. Nobody could tell what the man had done, but the mothers warn their children to beware of him. John was a happy-go-lucky man who loved to sing with the birds and laugh with the wind at night. Despite his free-spirited nature, he was often judged by people who hid behind their curtains and watched him from afar, claiming that he was not quite right.


However, John was content with his life as a tramp, and the sun was his friend. He was not confined by societal norms or material possessions. He loved all the haters so much that their hate turned to fear, and they would tremble behind their curtains as they heard him sing through the trees. The song is a reminder that one should not judge others for their way of living or be too quick to dismiss those who live differently. Everyone should be free to live the life they choose, as long as it is not harmful to others.


Line by Line Meaning

There was an old man who lived in the greenwood
In the greenwood, there was an old man living alone, secluded from others


Nobody knew him or what he had done
Since he kept to himself, no one knew anything about him or his past


But mothers would say to their children, beware of mad John
Mothers warned their children to be cautious of the old man in the woods, known as Mad John


John would sing with the birds in the morning
Mad John enjoyed singing alongside the birds early in the morning


Laugh with the wind in the cold end of night
He found joy in laughing with the wind during cold nights


But people from behind their curtains, said he's not quite right
Despite his harmless behavior, people observed him from their homes and questioned his mental state


John had it sussed, he was living the life of a tramp
Mad John had his life figured out and was content living as a vagabond


Yes, his bed was the cold and the damp but the sun was his friend
Although he slept in uncomfortable conditions, he appreciated the warmth and light of the sun


He was free
Mad John was liberated from society, free to live as he pleased


So here was a wise one who loved all the haters
Despite being an outcast, Mad John possessed great wisdom and even had love for those who despised him


He loved them so much that their hate turned to fear
His love for those who hated him was so powerful that it transformed their hatred into fear


And shaking from behind their curtains the loved ones would hear
Those who were apprehensive of Mad John's presence would tremble behind their curtains as they listened intently


Day-di-di-di-di, day-di-di-di-di
Nonsensical vocalizations


Day-di-di-di-di, ooh
Nonsensical vocalizations


Day-di-di-di-di, day-di-di-di-di
Nonsensical vocalizations


Day-di-di-di-di, ooh
Nonsensical vocalizations




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: RONNIE LANE, STEVE MARRIOTT

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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