Browse by Title
V W X Y Z #  

Tin Man



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about eschewing love for sex, which is the "perfect prize that waits among the shells," for which the bait is a quick, loveless seduction, while real love is the real reward. And anyone who remembers The Wizard of Oz knows that the Tin Man really wanted a heart, which the Wizard showed him he already had. (thanks, S.D. - Denver, CO)
America Artistfacts
More America songs
More songs inspired by movies
More songs with metals in the title

Comments (9):

Wasn't this group high all the time. Lol
- Jodie, xxxxx, MD
I have looked at these lyrics a bit. Here is my take: Guy goes to a party, and as inhibitions drop and minds expand, talk gets a bit philosophical as per usual. The prize among the shells is from the old street corner "shell game" you've seen live or for sure in a movie, in this case making a profoundly insightful point to a bunch of drunks. The protagonist doesn't care too much for that, and dismissively comes out with the trite "Tin Man/ Oz" statement. Now here is what I think the next and most perplexing lines mean: Since the word "Cause" is capitalized in most of the lyrics for this I see posted, I assume "Primal Cause", which may be scientific or religious in nature (Why are we here? What does it all mean? etc.). But who wants to talk about that...I'm here to party! The next line is easy to interpret once you know that a rather obscure meaning of the word "tropic" is "allegory" or "metaphor". Certainly Arthurian legend is loaded with these, one of the more notable being Sir Galahad. But forget all the talk...Let's just enjoy the ride!
- Rupert, Sa;esville, WI
Why do you insist that these lyrics have meaning? I don't know but I suspect they are gibberish. Oftentimes, song writers will develop the melody without lyric and substitute gibberish with the intention of returning later and writing something "appropriate". Given the culture of the mid-70's when this was written and their youth, it is completely conceivable to me that Dewey was just bein' screwy. ;)

Most importantly, keep in mind that these are the same guys who wrote: The ocean is a desert with its life underground and the perfect disguise above.
- Jim, London, ON
S.D. from Denver is correct. You must remember that when this song was released it was illegal for artist to talk about drugs and sex.
Really deep lyrics, mannnnnnnn....
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
I agree with Charlotte. I have always felt that the song meant that. People's egos always go in the "left field" late drinking and having a good time. And, there's usually one on the sidelines with the lyrics going through his head while just shaking his head back and forth. Right on, Charlotte!
I like what you wrote below, Charlotte. I basically agree. I've been singing these lyrics for years and never really understood them myself...
- Johnnys Cousin Steve, Villas, NJ
First Verse: "Sometimes late when things are real And people share the gift of gab between themselves Some are quick to take the bait
And catch the perfect prize that waits among the shelves"

I think is about people sitting around late at night (maybe doing drugs/coke) talking crap about other people and just running their mouths about things that are just not that interesting or important.

Second verse/chorus: "But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man That he didn't, didn't already have And Cause never was the reason for the evening Or the tropic of Sir Galahad"

He can think for his self what he wants to about the people (or the subjects) and does not need or care about their gossip that has nothing to do with anything important. So he starts to get bored.

3rd Verse:"So please believe in me When I say I'm spinning round, round, round, round Smoke glass stain bright color Image going down, down, down, down Soapsuds green like bubbles"

He is just looking at all the smoke & glass listeing to everyone talk s--t and his mind is going off in to some type of psychedlic trip cause he could care less about all the gossip.

"And Cause never was the reason for the evening Or the tropic of Sir Galahad" kind of reminds me when my Dad used to tell me "What the hell does that have to do with the price of beans in China?"
- Charlotte, Houston, TX
So. . . what's all the mularkey about this: "Cause never was the reason for the evening, or the Tropic of Sir Galahad."

Talk about yer confoosin' lyrics! Sheesh!

Suwanee, GA
- David, Lynn, Massachusetts, MA
You have to to post comments.
Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesJustin Hayward of The Moody Blues
Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.
Butch VigButch Vig
The Garbage drummer/songwriter produced the Nirvana album Nevermind, and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Siamese Dream.
Boz ScaggsBoz Scaggs
The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.
Dr. JohnDr. John
The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.