by Live

Album: Throwing Copper (1994)


  • The title's letters are an acronym for "Tibetan Book of the Dead." It is a very large book. It is analogous to Christianity's Last Rites as a way to ease the transition into death.
  • Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk sings as if he is the one dying, trying to cope with his imminent fate. The song details his inner conflict and injects some Eastern philosophies into the discussion, as the title suggests. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Live Freak - Beirut,Lebanon, for above 2
  • This is based on the life of author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) and his painful heroin-filled death.
  • This song was a portent of things to come, as the group's next album, Secret Samadhi, (1997) had many references to Eastern philosophy in the lyrics. That album did not sell well.

Comments: 5

  • Darin from Philadelphia, PaIn high school, Ed Kowalczyk worked at the Bookland. The 2 Bookland stores were mostly it for bookstores in York. They had a lot of magazines, romance, science fiction, and porn. The "other religion" section was very small. Ed used to mention Krishnamurti a lot in interviews. For some reason, Bookland had numerous Krishnamurti books. In the late 80s, they also would have had the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
  • Nick from Melbournewhat a way to go...
  • Dave from LondonAs an interesting other thought, not knowing the Tibetan Book of the Dead story years ago when I first heard it, I always read into 'this is how I go out tonight, dressed in blue by the book tonight' that it was like a young Christian man going out for the night, but all the things he wants to do/is going to do are contradictory to the teachings of his faith. Hence he's swamped in feelings of guilt and shame, while at the same time going out in seek of his pleasure. Maybe it's not meant at all, but would still be interesting.
  • Cory from Lancaster, PaSecret Smadhi sold very well. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard top 200, and it sold well over 2 Million albums.

    The song is about Aldous Huxley who had "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" which is a Tibetan Budhism book on not just death but rebirth and life, read to him while he was fed LSD into his arm. Ed Kowalczyk has said he wanted to die like that, not prematurely but if he has a chance to set it up and rig it, it'd be like that.
  • Chris from Altoona, PaThis song was about a man that wished to be read passages from "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" while being intraveneously fed LSD as he slowly passes away.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' AlbumsSong Writing

With the rise of Kindie rock, more musicians are embracing their inner child with tunes for tots - here, we look at pop stars who recorded kids' albums.

U2Fact or Fiction

How did The Edge get his name? Did they name a song after a Tolkien book? And who is "Angel of Harlem" about?

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

Kerry Livgren of KansasSongwriter Interviews

In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."