Album: Good-byes And Butterflies (1970)
Charted: 3
  • Signs
    The 5 Man Electrical Band
    lyrics as recorded by The Five Man Electrical Band in 1971 and included on
    the 1990 compilation album "Made In Canada - Volume Three 1965-1974"

    And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply"
    So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
    He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do"
    So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that. Huh! Me workin' for you!"

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
    Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
    Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

    And the sign said anybody caught trespassin' would be shot on sight
    So I jumped on the fence and-a yelled at the house, "Hey! What gives you
    "To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in"
    "If God was here he'd tell you to your face, Man, you're some kinda sinner"

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
    Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
    Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

    Now, hey you, mister, can't you read?
    You've got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
    You can't even watch, no you can't eat
    You ain't supposed to be here
    The sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside

    ------ lead guitar ------

    And the sign said, "Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray"
    But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn't have a
    penny to pay
    So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
    I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me. I'm alive and doin' fine."

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
    Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
    Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?

    Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
    Sign, sign

Comments: 26

  • Dj from OregonI don't have a comment but I do have a question: who are the background singers? They sound so melodic and beautiful!!
  • Kevin from Charlotte ,tennesseeI missed something who said five man was a one hit wonder? Not that I have ever heard. That song ( sign's) came out just a few years before my radio and party years, I am now almost 60 years old but grew up in the 60's as a kid 70's as a teenager and never really cared what a band was trying to say with their music unless it was really a no no in my mind then I would dislike it and the band. I personally don't care what was going through the band's mind back then and it doesn't matter at all the song is great what ever it means , If you don't like don't listen to it! Thanks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 15th 1972, the Five Man Electrical Band performed "Signs" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Eleven months earlier on May 23rd, 1971 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #96; and on August 22nd it peaked at #3 (for 1 week) and spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    The week it was at #3 on the Top 100; "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" by the Bee Gees was the #1 record and "Take Me Home, Country Road" by John Denver with Fat City was at #2.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaI like how he seeks a world without being under control of arbitrary authorities.
  • Gary from Clementon, NjActually, Five Man Electrical Band is not a one-hit-wonder in the US. Three months after 'Signs' they hit #26 with 'Absolutely Right'.
  • Hugh Mcphee from Wick, United KingdomActually they do use the phrase long haired freaky people. No disrespect towards those folks who keep chattering about Tesla's cover but that is bluddy annoying. We are not talking about the various covers nor are we talking about edited/unedited versions. Aside from all of that the song is still good. Too bad it and a bucket load of others are never played on what passes for oldies stations these days.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlI like the hippie free society image. But even the Beats had to buy their property. It ain't free.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlYes, esskayess. Paul McCartney could probably buy out Donald Trump. Yet he is considered a 'man of the people'.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxJay: Bands (and actors) who scream the 'no and corporations are evil' schlock reach the depths of hypocrisy.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxMike: At least a collection plate gives you the option. The government variety doesn't.
  • Matt from Vancouver, BcIf the bum got a haircut and took that job at the beginning, he'd have money for the collection plate!!!!
  • Rick from Belfast, MeThank-you Jim from Ontario
  • Jim from Thunder Bay, OnWhere I come from Five Man Electrical Band was not a one-hit wonder. They had 4 or 5 good radio hits back in the early 70's. The song 'Juliana' (check the tube) is a good one. Also 'Money Back Guarantee'
  • Rick from Belfast, MeEven though this was a "one-hit wonder", it shows why the 70's music is still around! One of the best from the 70's..........
  • Oc from Humid, FlIsn't the original lyric, "So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my only sign"? If not, I've been singing it wrong for nearly 40 years. LOL No matter. It's still my all time favorite.
  • Mike from Matawan, NjNo....but he DOES have a collection plate.
  • Bryan from Fort Washington, MdThis is a great song. Everywhere else he is rejected or restricted, but welcomed in the Christian Church. Jesus doesn't have signs!
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiMSD did this,too. I also love Tesla's version's too.
  • James from Philadelphia, PaIn the lyrics, The Five Man Electrical Band says "upstanding young man" not "outstanding" as used in the Tesla version. Being an origional hippy from the 70's I enjoyed both.
    Jim Mac Clay
    Phila. Pa.
  • Norlyn from Geneva, IlPolitics aside (though I tend to side with the song), this is just great rock 'n' roll! One of my favorite hippie era songs.
  • Dan from Baltimore, Mdthe thing about it being about communism is bolshevick(bs) i think its about how signs are restictive and annoying.
  • James from Gettysburg, PaThis song is about communism, pure and simple. He's against private property.
  • Robin from Orangevale, CaEspecially when Tesla plays at their beloved small club type of venue, this song is always one of the most enjoyable live-music experiences ever!
  • Derek from Logan, UtIn the edited version, the lyrics are "So I got me a pen and a paper and made up my own little sign" while the unedited version says "So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own f*ckin' sign". The edit is evident in the way "little" sounds slightly "off". The word actually escaped radio censors for a long time, even in conservative Utah, actually.
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaIt's a contradiction. I'm sure both bands had signs outside of their concerts stating "Must have a ticket to enter". To quote the song "What gives you the right?". And I'm sure with the royalties these bands have made they have invested in real estate (and posted "No Trespassing" signs).
  • Rich from Westons Mills, NyThis song shows how an individual must decide whether individuality of expression or conformity to societal standards is the preferred way to live. The singer's choices are with the former, and he, then, must put up with the partiality of others as a consequence of that choice.
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