Time For Bedlam

Songfacts®:

  • The lead single from Deep Purple's 20th album InFinite, "Time For Bedlam" was released on December 14, 2016.
  • The song's title is an apt description of its feel. Bassist Roger Glover explained to TeamRock:

    "At the end of a jam that sounds promising, I'll ask if anyone in the band has a working title for the song. Time For Bedlam was one of mine - it's a fun play on words - and occasionally a working title will present itself as a proper title. It was even considered as an album title at one point, but we were talked out of it.

    When we write the songs, we steep ourselves in the atmosphere of the song and try and figure out what it's about. And this one sounded vicious. Especially the keyboard solo. It was bedlam."
  • Singer Ian Gillan explained the song's meaning to The Highway Star: "This is about frustration regarding the 'system.' The lyrics are impressionistic. Roger wrote most of the lyrics in this album. In this song, I just added some phrases to Roger's idea."
  • So how did the word "bedlam" come to mean a place of uproar and madness?

    Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as St Mary Bethlehem and Bedlam, was founded in 1247 during the reign of Henry III of England, as the Priory of the New Order of St Mary of Bethlem in London. By 1377 the priory had become one of the institutions in Europe to look after the mentally ill, or, as they were called then "the distracted".

    The Dissolution of the monasteries was an event that happened from 1536 to 1540, when King Henry VIII took away the land and money that the nuns and monks of the Roman Catholic church owned. The hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem was closed down as a priory and secularised, coming under the control of the city of London exclusively as an asylum for the insane.

    The hospital became a tourist attraction, where sightseers paying an entrance fee of twopence each, could amuse themselves at the patients' antics. Often the patients were teased and provoked by the general public into a raving frenzy. By this stage, the hospital had become known by its shortened name, Bedlam.

    The word "bedlam", meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital's nickname. Although the Bethlem Royal Hospital became a modern psychiatric facility, historically it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform. (Source The Encyclopedia of Trivia).

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