The Boys Light Up

Album: The Boys Light Up (1980)
  • Let me tell you about my mountain home
    Where all the ladies names are Joan
    Where husband works back late at night
    Hopes are up for trousers down
    With hostess on a business flight
    Taxi in a Mercedes drive
    I hope that driver's coming out alive
    The garden it is dorsetted
    That lady she's so corseted
    She's got 15 ways to lead that boy astray
    He thinks he's one and only
    But that lovely she's so lonely
    She pumps him full of breakfast and she sends him on his way
    What a sing song dance
    What a performance
    What a cheap tent show
    Oh no no no no no

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Silently she opens the drawer
    Mother's little helper is coming out for more
    Strategically positioned before the midday show
    Her back is arched, those lips are parched
    Repeated blow by blow
    Later at the party all the MP's rave
    About the hummers she's been giving
    And the money that they save
    To her it is skin lotion
    For him promotion to
    That flat in surfers paradise with the ocean view
    What a sing song dance
    What a performance
    What a cheap ten show
    Oh no no no no no

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up, light up, light up

    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up (then the boys light up)
    Then the boys light up Writer/s: Michael Reyne James
    Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 10

  • Jess from CairnsI think it is about a middle class couple who seem happy but have secrets. The husband gets his trousers down with the hostess on the business flight, while the wife is secretly an escort, saving money to leave him and get a flat in Surfers paradise with an ocean view. She is popular with the MPs who like her blow jobs. She gets her own pleasure from her little helper in the drawer, before watching the mid day show.
  • JoanCame here because I've always been curious about the song and now I see it in a whole new depressing light. It just sounds so upbeat, but it's really about unhappy suburbanites in Melbourne screwing around because they cannot find fulfilment. An interesting quote from Reyne in 2003: ""Well, really? It's about fellatio, but[...] it was also about the sort of burgeoning, you know, kind of... new middle class, the new money and the new money aspirational... uh... class". The nouveau riche in Melbourne.
  • Rob from Brisbane - Land DownunderEric from Boston is right on the money - the "Mothers Little Helper" Valium confusion is people referencing a Rolling Stones song - not Boys Light Up. The hummers is fellatio "Fellatio - Felliato - where for art thou Felliato" - sorry couldn't resist.
  • Eric from Boston"The Boys Light Up" satirizes middle-class life in James Reyne's "mountain home", Mount Eliza. As he has said in interviews, it was inspired by the salacious stories he would hear at his parents' cocktail parties about who was doing who. It portrays the hollowness ("what a cheap tent show") of the new aspirational class that was rising in Melbourne at the time. As Matt said, many of these couples were together more for status and opportunity than love and commitment. Some of their screwing around was for thrills ("hopes are up for trousers down") or to stave off boredom and loneliness ("that lovely she's so lonely") or to gain mutual advantage ("the hummers [b--wjobs] she's been giving and the money that they've saved").

    What it's not about: The song is NOT about prostitutes, marijuana, valium or yobbo culture. "Mother's little helper" is a vibrator, which is why "her back is arched". The chorus is just a reference to a saying that Reyne and his friends had back in high school, when they would slyly smoke cigarettes in order to appear tough and impress girls.
  • Gracie from AdelaideI agree Laura. I always thought the Mother's Little Helper was valium, which was actually marketed as such. Also, why would the lady being so 'corseted' refer to her being uptight when the very next line makes it clear she is anything but! I think that line is meant to be a bit more literal and simply implies that she is very sexual. I also agree with Matt, she isn't a prostitute but an unhappy housewife/trophy wife. James Reyne stated as much in an interview in 2010 on the ABC in Australia, where he said that the song in part, referenced a party that his parents were at where his teacher was caught with someone else's wife. He also confirmed that the 'hummers' she's been giving referred to fellatio - one of the many reasons the song almost didn't get air play when it was first released.
  • Laura from Canberra, AustraliaActually I don't "Mother's little helper" refers to a vibrator, but to Valium which many, many years ago was referred to and even labelled as "Mother's little heper". It was often used by housewives to fend off depression...and apparently they used to crush it up and snort it hence "blow by blow"
  • Matt from Melbourne, AustraliaSee, I never saw it as a song about a prostitute, but more about a husband and wife who are married more for convenience and profit than love. They put on a good show in public so he gets his promotion and they get their nice house, but really they don't love each other and both are unfaithful.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australia"Oooooooooooh Errol, I would give anything just to be like this" weeeeeeeee go Aussie Crawl oioioi
  • Kev O'carroll from Helensburgh, ScotlandWhen Brit music was at an all-time low in the mid to late eighties, this lot were a hugely welcome breath of fresh air to me and a few others lucky enough to hear them. Sadly they were largely unheard of outside of Oz. The singer and main songwriter James Reyne continued after the band broke up, with a highly successful solo career which continues to this day....again, sadly largely unheard of outside of his native country. Check out albums by the Crawl - "Semantics", "Crawl File", "Sons of Beaches" are all brilliant, especially their single "Errol" - a homage to boyhood local hero Errol Flynn.
  • Gerry Walsh from Melbourne, AustraliaAussie Crawl,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Brilliant.
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