Release Date: Friday 29th May 2020

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LYRICS

Big House

 

What kind of damn do you give?

Do you know how the other three quarters live?

You say that you do but you don't have a clue

 

Sing - oh weh oh weh oh weh oh 

Oh weh oh weh oh 

etc

 

You can see it on the streets in your neighbourhood

What you mean? We never had it so good

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  (let me in)

 

Well there's a man in East Berlin

All he wants is a ticket on a westbound train (ya see)

It's not the same everywhere but I guess you don't care

 

So we do the dance - take it for granted

You tell the truth - they don't understand it

 

In the time it takes to sing this song

Another thousand acres - will be gone

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  

 

Bridge

Real life

You can have it - you can keep it to yourself

You can feed it to the sharks - I don't wanna know

We can only - help you if you don't need help

Oh no no no - Sorry!

 

Chorus

Living in a big house - up on the hill

We're all living it up while somebody else - pays the bill

Well it's a sweet life - as long as it lasts

Living in a big world - but it's shrinking fast

Living in a big house

Living in a big big house up on the hill  

 

Outro

Save me save me save me save me etc

Music & Lyrics: Hull, Musker, Walsh.

BEHIND THE TRACK

Frank Musker on the origins of ‘Big House’… 

 

‘I don’t have a specific memory of writing Big House with Jeff and Marty but I do

think it was essentially concept/lyric driven initially.  I had visited the Amazon

(not the online retailer!) about four times in Peru, Brazil and Venezuela.  I was

amazed by its pristine beauty, the sheer size of everything, the animal life and I

had become a bit obsessed with South America generally.  I still am.

When I read that an area of forest equivalent to a thousand football fields was

being destroyed at some impossibly rapid rate I was in despair and needed to

express it in some meaningful way - hence the line ‘In the time it takes to sing

this song, Another thousand acres will be gone.’

 

Also it was a couple of years before the Berlin Wall came down and I had become

increasingly aware of the rumblings in the news of refugees fleeing from behind

the Iron Curtain and the dangers they faced - ‘Well there’s a man in East Berlin,

All he wants is a ticket on a westbound train’ - seems like not a lot has changed

now.....if anything the refugee problem has got much worse.  They all want the

good life we enjoy in the west - and who could blame them?

 

So all these environmental and social things were going on in my head at the

time but when I spoke about them to people in California and the UK they

seemed completely oblivious. Actually I remember they thought I was a bit nuts

and it was clear they felt quite uncomfortable talking about it. It was all so far

away. Why is it our problem?  So I got the idea of a bunch of ridiculously

hedonistic people living it up in a big mansion up on a hill while down below the

world was burning and choking on filthy polluted air. Nero fiddling while Rome

burns.  ‘So we do the dance - take it for granted,  You tell the truth - they don’t

understand it.’

 

Amongst my musical heroes at the time were Don Henley and Peter Gabriel -

they seemed to have the platform to talk about difficult stuff in their music

without people thinking they were being preached to.  I remember Jeff and Marty

coming up with the perfect musical feel for the song I wanted to write.  The

melody came very quickly and naturally with Elizabeth adding her amazing ad

lib vocals and harmonies.  It was very satisfying for me to sing.  I found a way of

expressing real anger and passion which I hadn’t been able to express before

because the song itself was so powerful.  It feels even more relevant today than it

did then because of the likes of Extinction Rebellion, David Attenborough, Greta

Thunberg etc.  It’s now an urgent subject which is in the mainstream of public

and political debate.  

 

The song was written as a wake up call thirty years ago.  It’s time to wake up now.

© 2020 World Goes Round

Photo Roberto Nickson