Tears Of A Clown

Album: The Book of Souls (2015)
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Songfacts®:

  • This track, which was penned by Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith and bassist Steve Harris, was inspired by the depression and tragic death of comedian and actor Robin Williams. "My favorite song (on The Book Of Souls) is one I didn't write," vocalist Bruce Dickinson explained to Italy's Corriere Della Sera. "It's 'Tears of a Clown,' which talks about Robin Williams. I ask myself how could he be so depressed when he always seemed to be so happy."

    Robin Williams committed suicide on August 11, 2014 following a long history with depression and health issues.
  • The phrase 'tears of a clown' was made famous by the 1967 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song of the same title. Smokey Robinson sung of a character, who "smiling in the crowd I try, but in a lonely room I cry." He compared himself a character in the Italian opera Pagliacci, a clown called Canio, who was making the audience laugh, but was weeping behind his makeup because his wife betrayed him.
  • Dickinson told Kerrang!: "It's a bit different for us - mid tempo and it doesn't ever get out of that groove, you know! It just sits in a groove the whole time, which is cool."

    "It's got some great words. When I sang it, you know, Steve's words and tune, I went, 'What's this about? Steve said, 'It's about Robin Williams and that floored me."

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