Joe The Lion

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This track is in part a tribute to American conceptual artist Chris Burden (April 11, 1946 - May 10, 2015), who once famously nailed himself to a Volkswagen Beetle. Bowie wrote the lyrics in Berlin's Hansa Studio by the Wall while recording his Heroes album.

    Joe the lion
    Went to the bar
    A couple of drinks on the house and he said
    'Tell you who you are if you nail me to my car'

    Burden's famous Trans-Fixed piece took place on April 23, 1974 at Speedway Avenue in Venice, California. For his work, the artist lay face up on a Volkswagen and had nails hammered into both of his hands.

    Joe the lion
    Made of iron

    Burden lay on the Volkswagen, in the cruciform position. Bowie likens him here to a cross of iron.
  • Bowie borrowed the bass line from another of his songs, the Hunky Dory track "Changes."
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

Randy NewmanSongwriting Legends In Their Own Words

Newman makes it look easy these days, but in this 1974 interview, he reveals the paranoia and pressures that made him yearn for his old 9-5 job.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

LecraeSongwriter Interviews

The Christian rapper talks about where his trip to Haiti and his history of addiction fit into his songs.

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony." "Crimson and Clover." "Draggin' The Line." The hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.

Michael W. SmithSongwriter Interviews

Smith breaks down some of his worship tracks as well as his mainstream hits, including "I Will Be Here For You" and "A Place In This World."