The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
by XTC

Album: Nonesuch (1992)
Charted: 71

Songfacts®:

  • This describes the life and death of John F. Kennedy in the form of a fable. He was as good as deified which the song describes. The title refers to his head exploding like a smashed pumpkin when he was shot. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ruth - San Diego, CA
  • XTC is solely a studio band and has not toured since the very early '80s due to Andy Partridge's extreme stage fright, which unpleasantly manifested at the very beginning of their first American tour (supporting their English Settlement album). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jessica - Saint Louis, MO
  • This song was covered by Canadian band Crash Test Dummies for the Jim Carrey movie Dumb and Dumber. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Graham - North Bay, Canada

Comments: 7

  • Jeffery Barber from HellThis is me!

    The Pumkinhead refers to the fact that at six months of age, I was tossed out of a car window and run over by my brothers mother. She refused to let the ambulance take me to the hospital and after five days, took me to the family doctor who was horrified and told her to take me to the hospital immediately. She did not comply.

    That was the extent of the medical care that I received.

    With the lines from the tires running up and down my swollen red head, hence I am Pumkinhead.

    The rest is about the things I have been doing in the here and now.

    The" enemies who would keep on our knees" are both my ex mother, as well as the CIA who are evil nerds and would kill me is they weren't big pussies. Those who have contracted to do the job, I have shown many truths to and cannot bring themselves to follow through once they know who I am.

    I am the true biblical prophet for the end of the Age of Man, and the prophet for the Battle of the Armageddon.

    I show the troops of the NWO that they have been lied to, as well as turn soldiers into warriors and show warriors they can be kamikaze if they wish it.

    When I told the CIA that I could take their army away, they scoffed. I immediately did what I told them, and they become "Oliver's Army". Oliver is Oliver Hazard Perry, my direct ancestor and I am check point charlie. My middle name is Charles.

    I am the entire Army of Light and Love, and will ultimately the Army that will emerge victorious from the battle of the Armageddon, without firing a shot.

    The story is on my Google+ page.

    The only thing that JFK has to do with this song is he like me, was a dynastic avatar of a Nephilim.

    Thank you, Sam from Lincoln Nebraska.
  • Michael from Pittsburgh, PaOf course the video for the song quite clearly portrayed Peter Pumpkinhead as John Kennedy, most notably at the moment of his assasination. There is no doubt that the song is on some level about JFK, or at least that the band had no problems with it being perceived that way.

    A good song by an underrated band.
  • Sam from Lincoln, NeIn an interview with Guitar Player magazine several years ago, Andy Partridge said that Peter Pumpkinhead was an old jack o' lantern sitting on the fence at his home to whom he atributed the characteristics of Jesus Christ, John Kennedy, and Ghandi, among others. The song is a metaphor about leaders who bring hope to the rest of us and the naysayers who try to bring them down.
  • Peter from Huddersfield, EnglandDoes it matter who the song's about?
    The reality is that it comments upon the way politicians ought to be rather than the way they are; full of sleaze and lies. I can't think of a politician (British, European, American) who would have the guts to do a Peter Pumpkinhead.
  • Don from Newmarket, CanadaThis song also recorded by Crash Test Dummies and was featured in 'Dumb & Dumber'.
  • Steven from San Gabriel, CaLarry is absolutely correct. Let me also add this quote from Mr. Partridge

    "Actually the name's from a jack-o-lantern I carved. After Halloween, I stuck it on a fence post in my garden and every day I'd go past it on my way to my composing shed. And every day it would decay a bit more. I felt so sorry for it, I thought I'd make it a hero in a song."
  • Larry from St. Paul, MnRuth from San Diego doesn't quite have her facts on straight. :) Here's Andy Partridge:

    People have said. "Ooh, it's Jesus, isn't it?", "Ooh, it's Kennedy, isn't it, this song?", "This is a song about Lennon, isn't it Andy?". An interviewer said, "It's a song about the Pope, right?", cos the pumpkinhead is like the hat thing he wears. "It's Joan of Arc, isn't it Andy. You've changed the sex". It's about all those people, and none of them. He's a kind of a general, all-purpose, hero figure that is too good for his own good. And, as with all good hero figures, the government have him bumped off. Which is very sinister, and kind of run-of-the-mill for people who get too big.

    Quote courtesy chalkhills.org
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