Man Alive

Songfacts®:

  • This song finds lead singer Ian Gillan singing about a post-apocalyptic scenario where mankind has become extinct because of how we treated the planet.

    It's been a quiet town
    Since the juice went down
    Now something's washed up on the beach
    A man alive


    The song was inspired by the grassroots climate change movement Extinction Rebellion, and the Tarzan books of Gillan's childhood where the jungle reclaims the cities. He explained to Mojo magazine: "I had this picture in my mind of grass growing on city streets and the last man alive washed up on a beach."
  • Gillan wrote the lyrics based on the apocalyptic feel of the music. "It's an abstract concept," he said. "It's a post-humanity scenario. And then all of a sudden something's washed up on the beach, and it turns out to be a man, and it's the only living man - but it's just a man, so... That's the end of humanity, because what use is one man? That was the idea. If it was a painting, you'd call it impressionistic."
  • The song features a couple passages of spoken narration by Gillan, which marks a first for him. "The (song) suddenly goes very quiet," the singer explained to Billboard. "Don (Airey, keyboardist) was experimenting with an oboe to do a haunting, repetitive little piece to illustrate the echoes of emptiness. So I just started speaking at the microphone and it fit perfectly. It just had to be something that wasn't sung - it was almost like a voice bubble attached to the song. It just seemed to be the right thing to do."
  • Deep Purple released "Man Alive" as their second single from their 21st studio album, Whoosh!. The record was their third consecutive collaboration with producer Bob Ezrin, working in Nashville.
  • The record's third single, "Nothing At All," is also about humanity's relationship with our planet – in this instance global warming. Gillian explained the album title reflects this too: "'Woosh!' is an onomatopoeic word that, when viewed through one end of a radio-telescope, describes the transient nature of humanity on Earth; and, through the other end from a closer perspective, illustrates the career of Deep Purple."

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