Mr. Raffles (Man it Was Mean)

Album: The Best Years of Our Lives (1975)
Charted: 13
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was a track from English rock band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's third album, The Best Years of Our Lives. It was released as the follow-up single to the band's million-selling hit, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), and it peaked at #13 on the UK singles chart.
  • Steve Harley told Mojo magazine's Fred Dellar in the June 2010 edition of the magazine that the titular character refers to a fictional thief created by author E.W. Hornung. He explained: "Raffles was a master thief. He was a con artist too. I use his name to invoke a religious allegory, yes. We see religion and its leaders in our own ways:

    'Sham: 'Man, it was mean to be seen in the robes you wore for Lent, you must've known that it was Easter.'
    The Devil within: 'Then in Amsterdam you were perfect fun. You never let on you had a gun and then you shot that Spanish Dancer.'
    Truthfully, I always think these references and allusions are obvious to listeners, and it feels a little pretentious to explain. It's not T.S. Eliot, I know, but I was a serious young man!"
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"They're Playing My Song

A song he wrote and recorded from "sheer spiritual inspiration," Allen's didn't think "Southern Nights" had hit potential until Glen Campbell took it to #1 two years later.

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.