Longer Boats

Album: Tea For The Tillerman (1970)
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  • [Chorus]
    Longer boats are coming to win us
    They're coming to win us, they're coming to win us
    Longer boats are coming to win us
    Hold on to the shore, they'll be taking the key from the door.

    I don't want no god on my lawn
    Just a flower I can help along
    'Cause the soul of no body knows
    How a flower grows
    Oh how a flower grows.

    [Chorus]

    Mary dropped her pants by the sand
    And let a parson come and take her hand
    But the soul of no body knows
    Where the parson goes, where does the parson go?

    [Chorus]

    Addition verse performed in live version of this song.

    Raise your mind up and look around
    You can see them, yes they're looking down
    From a lonely asteroid, in a vacant void.
    Dyin', but not destroyed. Writer/s: YUSUF ISLAM
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 18

  • Robert Clark from InI have been a fan of Tea for the Tillerman since it first released ( I am 70 yo. ) and have pondered these lyrics for as long. Thank you! How truly interesting!
  • Chris from HamburgRight at the beginning, there is a fundamental mistake: the Greek people of old believed neither in hell or heaven, only in a shadow existence after death. Only a few heroes were admitted into Olympus, e.g., or turned into stars; only a few very bad evildoers were sentenced to eternal punishment, such as tantalus or Sisyphos.
  • Nick from VaI beleive the song relates to an interplanetary conflict.
  • Remo Williams from UsaThe lyrics refer to the explorer boats of old carrying soldiers and missionaries. They came not only to bring God but also to take over land ("the key from the door") , and some of the priests end up preying on the innocent maidens.
  • Heather from Los Angelesi always thought this song was about the Vikings coming to Britain. As in "long boats" and "coming to win us". The rest of it...... i have no idea what it means. LOL.
  • Ed from CanadaAfter reading this quote from Yusef: " they're just songs. I don't know why I write them. But they try and find all kinds of hidden meanings in my songs," I find this "interpretation" bordering on hilarious. I've written songs that come thru me from my "Muse " and though I write them, I have no idea if they "mean" anything tangible. Interpretations are often projections from the interpreter rather than anything the author is "subliminally saying" to us.
  • Diane L. Myers from Tucson, AzHe4 musically provuded for me, in Jr. High. the most beautiful music, which made me so VERY curious about my young, burgeoning intuition that lover could be good, OR dangerous! IT still brings teas to my eyes!!!
  • Diane L. Myers from Tucson, AzI feel he is saying we all die, but that we should die with peace.. They are coming to get us, anf it should ber greeted with joy!
  • Aaron from Toronto, OnI'm not sure if this has any significance, but the the final verse about Mary dropping her pants seems to echo a scene from Roberston Davies' novel Fifth Business. The character Mary Dempster has sex with a tramp in a gravel pit, and te man is so deeply affected that he goes on to become a parson.
  • Jeff Barto from Huntersville, NcYusuf recently released on DVD, "Tea For the Tillerman," an intimate concert he gave at KCET studios in Los Angeles on June 8, 1971. When introducing this song he discussed the space ship theme. He then added a verse addressing the space ships directly. This verse is heard only on this concert footage. I'm sure he sang it at other venues but no others that have been officially released, save this one.
  • Horizon from Sao Paulo, BrazilThe song is about the Christian missionaries arriving in the South Pacific and decimating the culture.
    "Longer boats are coming to win us"
    It certainly is the loss of innocence. The introduction of STD's and the loss of a myriad of indigenous cultures.

    UFO's??
  • Stegha from Alger, Algeria
    je ne pense pas que cette chanson soit le top pour cat stevens....elle fait trop naîve sauf qu'il y a de l'harmonie et de la simplicité : 02 caracteristiques fortes et qui ont fait le succes de ce chanteur
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesI think I still like the spaceships theme. ;) It still fits in with the concept of innocence and crossing over to a different world / life.
  • Heather from Ottawa, Canada"Longer Boats" - also describes the boats the Vikings used in their raids of Europe in the 8th - 11th centuries.

    Here is a quote from Cat Stevens/ Yusu Islam from his site mountainoflight.com
    True, I gave interviews sometimes and talked about UFOs with passion, but that was partly due to my wish in making the interview more interesting. My apologies.

    But in another way, the image of 'longer boats' in my mind reminds you of the Vikings and the ships they conquered Britain with. A hint of how we perceive aliens who have different customs to us - thankfully, my mother was Scandinavian, so I never really shook listening to such stories.
  • Floria from Us, ScYes Justin is correct. This was also in an interview in Rolling Stone (I remember from my teen years - I read everything I could get my hands on about him).
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesIf Mr. Stevens is being quoted accurately, this song would make an excellent set with Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" and Billy Thorpe's "Children Of The Sun".
  • Chad from Edmonton, CanadaI'm pretty sure that this song is in fact about UFO's landing and taking us away, or teaching something important. The man Justin is correct.
  • Justin from Bakersfield, Ca"It?s a story about space ships. I think we have or will be contacted by some other force outside our own world. We must accept that we are not the only ones alive."-Cat Stevens. I got this from a 1972 interviewalbum review for Music Time mag.
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