Sleep On The Left Side

Album: When I Was Born For The 7th Time (1997)
Charted: 23


  • This song is about Cornershop frontman Tjinder Singh's childhood and about his mother, who passed away around the time he made the song. The line, "When we let it up, let it breathe" is a reference to his mother's funeral pyre. The spoken-word part of the song is about his childhood summers spent racing friends through the alleys.
  • The "green goddess" is a reference to the army. In 1976, the Wolverhampton, England fire department was on strike, so the army was put in charge of fighting fires.
  • "Local dignitaries and labor counselors" refers to Singh's father, who was a counselor to the Labour Party.
  • Singh didn't pick "the 7th time" for his reincarnation total for any particular reason, but afterwards he discovered that the number seven is a sign for completeness.
  • Much of the song is an amalgamation of religious imagery. "Keep the sword hand free" refers to kirpan, which is one of the "five Ks" of the Sikh religion. A kirpan is a dagger. When a person takes on a Sikh initation/Baptist, they take on the five Ks (the other four being uncut hair, a wooden comb, an iron bracelet, and a cotton undergarment). Though he calls himself a Darwinist, Singh came from a family of Sikhs.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"They're Playing My Song

It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.

Joe JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Joe talks about the challenges of of making a Duke Ellington tribute album, and tells the stories behind some of his hits.

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."