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Galileo by Indigo Girls

Album: Rites Of PassageReleased: 1992Charted:
89
  • Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls wrote this song. She told us: "I was talking with my friend about reincarnation, what we believe. Does it mean that you come back as a dog or a tree or whatever, another human being, and the exchange of souls and all that stuff. And that just got me thinking about it. I wanted to write a song that was upbeat, that sort of took the whole subject sort of in a lighthearted way, even though I was thinking about it very seriously. There's this one point in the song where, as I understood reincarnation, you know it's a regeneration of souls for the betterment of all creatures and things over time. And I was thinking, you know, I'm so far from being the perfect soul that at least the world isn't going to experience nuclear holocaust while I'm alive, because I have to have my soul be regenerated at least once. So it was kind of like taking a heavy subject and sort of having fun with it.

    I don't know if I believe in the exchange of souls, but I'm not a firm believer in reincarnation, and that I'm going to come back and be a dog, or another creature. I have a different belief system now, but back then, my friend really believed that we come back as something else, and it is a regeneration of souls until we reach Nirvana."
  • Galileo Galilei was a brilliant Italian astronomer who championed the belief that the Earth revolved around the sun, and not the other way around. Since the church believed the Earth was the center of the universe, they tried Galileo for heresy in 1633, and he spent the end of his life under house arrest, where he continued to write. Says Saliers: "I was thinking about him because he came up with such great truths. He was like this pinnacle of light and truth, and the church made him recant. So I was thinking, he's a great role model for a truth seeker, and with reincarnation being a spiritual pursuit and its relationships to the church, I was just sort of lumping those things together. His name just popped in my head. I thought he was such a brave guy, and then to have to recant that, and then of course we all know what he discovered is true now, or as true as we can believe it to be, so he just became the focal point."
  • Regarding the lyrics:
    "I think about my fear of motion which I never could explain, some other fool across the ocean years ago must have crashed his little airplane," Saliers says:
    "The fear of motion was mostly about the fear of speed. Like, I do not like flying, although I do it all the time, I'm used to it now. But there was a time when I hated it. And I don't like skiing, I don't like things that take me downhill fast. If reincarnation were true, then this guy who crashed his plane in the ocean a generation ago and came into my soul, that's why I have that, and I still have to work on that." (Check out our interview with Emily Saliers. The official Indigo Girls website is indigogirls.com.)
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Comments: 3

This is a truly wondeful song that I first heard about three weeks ago. It makes me smile everytime I hear it. A truly great song.Steven - Oxnard, Ca
The Indigo Girls were mega-successful in the States, however in the UK, they are largely unknown bar their 1980s song "Closer To Fine", which was an unlikely collaboration with critically acclaimed Irish band the Hothouse FlowersDave - Cardiff, Wales
i love this song. i just love the indigo girls period, it seems like every song, the music, the harmony of their voices, the incredible words, just draw you in. i love them.Bethany - Carrier Mills, Il