Album: Peter Gabriel (third, melt) (1980)
Charted: 38
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  • September '77
    Port Elizabeth weather fine
    It was business as usual
    In police room 619
    Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
    Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
    Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
    The man is dead

    When I try to sleep at night
    I can only dream in red
    The outside world is black and white
    With only one colour dead
    Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
    Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
    Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
    The man is dead

    You can blow out a candle
    But you can't blow out a fire
    Once the flames begin to catch
    The wind will blow it higher
    Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
    Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
    The man is dead

    And the eyes of the world are
    watching now
    watching now Writer/s: PETER GABRIEL
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 19

  • Coamhim from Phoenix, Arizona, UsaI could've sworn Gabriel didn't actually write "Biko." I thought it was a lesser-known songwriter, I want to say someone that reminded me vaguely of Syd Barrett (?sp?), but definitely not Barrett himself. I have loved this song for years and used to have Gabriel's version on vinyl. I would cry and cry, pick up the needle, put it back to the beginning of the song, and cry some more. I would hope my tears were little prayers. So, many years later, though the memory is fuzzy now, I remember being shocked and somewhat taken aback when I heard another version and was told that the artist performing that version was the one who had actually written the song. It was someone who had since passed away by the time I heard their version, and who had perhaps been labeled with insanity before their passing. Maybe that's why Syd Barrett comes to mind.... Anyway, I just ran across an article in my Google feed about Gabriel doing a version of Biko for "Songs for Change," in which Gabriel was credited as having written the song. It struck me as odd, so 45 minutes and 2 Wikipedia articles and like 5 Google searches later, here I am. Not to make lite of such a heavy/powerful song/subject/martyr, but this is beginning to remind me of the Berenstein/Berenstain (?sp? again! I'm making this worse, aren't I?) Bears paradox, if any of you have ever run across that. Anyone? Anyone? Before the Men in Black come knocking on my door and I disappear...... Anyone???
  • Eric from Seattle, WaThe Soweto Gospel Choir does a beautiful rendition of this song from their album, "Blessed".
  • Joe Sbommbo from Los Angeles, CaBiko was covered, very well I would say, in 1983 by Martin Simpson a british folk guitar maestro. For a time resident in the >USA. I guess 7 years.
  • Tom from Appleton, WiSong Fact says the beginning/end were based on traditional south african funeral music, I heard it is actual audio from Biko's funeral.
  • Rick from Diamond Bar, CaI remember when this song first came out (Free Nelson Mandela came soon afterward, if memory serves). I heard Donald Wood (who wrote _Cry Freedom_) talk about his relationship with Biko around 1988, and knowing more about the man has made this song even more meaningful, and it still brings tears to my eyes all these years later.
  • Rob from Cape Town, South AfricaFurther to the comment by - Pete, Toronto, Canada about the Miami Vice episode soundtrack, the first time this song was broadcast in South Africa (For many years banned) was in about 1981, early 82 on that episode of Miami Vice which was airing. I remember arriving at a friend's block of flats while it was on, and the whole block was pumping it! Heads apparently rolled at SABC (SA Broadcasting Corp) for airing the episode. At the time M-V had the best sound tracks, were known for it.
  • Glenn from Austin,Larry Fast talks about the recording of the song at
  • Daria from New York, NyHe couldn't have written this song in 1976. Biko died in 1977!
  • Pablo from Cambrigde, EnglandThis song is terrific.
    "You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow up a fire..."
  • Ruben Rodriguez from Miami, FlTo respond to the bagpipe player from Cali, they're actually synthesized bagpipes and in my opinion when listening to the studio version i really have to strain to hear them.
  • Pete from Toronto, Canadathis was used in the 2nd last episode of the first season of Miami Vice at the very end of an episode called "Evan" good episode and even greater song
  • Lauren from Bensalem, PaGabriel originally wrote the song in 1976. at the timehe was violently supportive of apartheid. I'd like to know what that version sounds like.
  • Dani from Boston, MaOh, I cried when I saw the music video for this song! When I was younger and I listened to it I thought Biko was some type of monkey...
  • Mike from Chicago, IlYihla Moja means "Ascend Spirit"
  • AgustÃ?n from Santiago, ChilePeter Gabriel performed "Biko" as lead singer in october 1990's Amnesty International's concert "Desde Chile, Un Abrazo a la Esperanza", at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, with Sting and Sting's band as support band, in front of 75000 people. They, plus Sinnead O'Connor instead of original Kate Bush, also performed then Gabriel's "Don't give up".
  • Lauren from Bensalem, PaJoan Baez does a cover version of Biko.
  • Eric from Lake Forest, CaThis song was the climax of Gabriel's live performances for many years.
  • Peter from Sydney, AustraliaPhil Collins features on this track, playing the Surdu...
  • Erik from Davis, CaI play bagpipes, and I couldn't even tell that they were used in the song.
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