Here Comes The Flood

Album: Peter Gabriel (first, car) (1977)
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  • When the night shows
    The signals grow on radios
    All the strange things
    They come and go, as early warnings
    Stranded starfish have no place to hide
    Still waiting for the swollen Easter tide
    There's no point in direction we cannot
    Even choose a side.

    I took the old track
    The hollow shoulder, across the waters
    On the tall cliffs
    They were getting older, sons and daughters
    The jaded underworld was riding high
    Waves of steel hurled metal at the sky
    And as the nail sunk in the cloud, the rain
    Was warm and soaked the crowd.

    Lord, here comes the flood
    We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
    If again the seas are silent
    In any still alive
    It'll be those who gave their island to survive
    Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry.

    When the flood calls
    You have no home, you have no walls
    In the thunder crash
    You're a thousand minds, within a flash
    Don't be afraid to cry at what you see
    The actors gone, there's only you and me
    And if we break before the dawn, they'll
    Use up what we used to be.

    Lord, here comes the flood
    We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood
    If again the seas are silent
    In any still alive
    It'll be those who gave their island to survive
    Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry. Writer/s: PETER GABRIEL
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 23

  • David from Vista, CaI copied this from an article on this song and it comes very close to the way I took the meaning. If you think about the song in terms of impending global climate disaster due to corporate and societal greed it fits pretty nicely with the imagery of the lyrics. Even the first part where it refers to stranded starfish could be a reference to an actual occurrence that has been blamed on global warming that consists of mass strandings of starfish and other marine life on the coast of England.

    "From the scientific point of view it is now very likely that there will be again another Ice Age, quite soon, in the world, that we shall have the north part of the world all frozen like it used to be, and we’re beginning to have natural disasters, from the scientists’ study it seems likely that we should soon begin to have these great changes in the earth’s climate so people will not be able to live where they have, and the oceans will rise, and many cities will be flooded, like London, and Calcutta, and so on. These things, they say, will happen, according to scientific theory, in about forty years at the most, but maybe even quicker.”
    We are past the 40 year mark since that lecture was made and unless I was sleeping through a global climatic catastrophe, we are in the clear as far as that prediction goes. Disaster theories aside, the spoken word on top of Fripp’s guitar create the perfect mood for what is to follow."
  • Wim Raaijmakers from Eindhoven, NetherlandsIn the autumn of 1992 I recovered from a broken heart. A friend of mine had an advertising agency where I was looking for distraction by writing texts about waste separation... It was difficult for me to concentrate but I did my best to stay out of the waves of dormant pain. Radio was playing in the background. The first tones of 'Here comes the flood' grabbed me. At first I didn't understand much of the lyrics. But the song grabbed me to the throat and pulled up all the sadness present.
    Ever since then this song has been just as mysterious and slips under every interpretation. As befits poetic art, in fact. I started listening to Peter Gabriel in a different way, thanking him for the many beautiful moments of deeply pervasive music.
  • Kevin from Cape May Court House, NjIncredible song. Moving every time. One of my favorites. When the internet age came and it was easier to research meaning and intent, I read that Mr. Gabriel didn’t like the over production. So I looked up live stripped down versions and they blew me away. MUSIC IS THE BEST!!!!
  • Cory Anderson from CaliforniaI'd had the album for years when I had the opportunity to see him on the 02/03 Up tour.
    He opened the show solo with this song and I was blown away by the power of his stripped down version. Great opening to a great show! I purchased a DVD of a show from that period (Growing Up Live) and highly recommend that version for anyone interested in this song.
    It led me here and now I appreciate it even more.
  • Mark Maddalla from New YorkAfter listening to this song (both versions) it's tough to pick another song to listen to.
  • Dan from Huds,on, Oh, NvTo me, this is about the struggle between the empathetic people with souls that are nearing the end of another era of progress and unable to hold back the rush of those self serving conscience-less toxic individuals that are so adept at gaining power through fear and anger and hate. We are all watching what happens in the Arabian spring as the the toxic tyrannts are ousted from thier empires.
  • Marcela from Mexico City, MexicoI just had a near dead experience, car accident, and this song makes so much sense, it describes my exact helplesness feelings, I agree with the comment from Houston TX, the unstoppable force of fate, beyond your comes the flood, will make you leave flesh and blood, a thousand minds within a flash in you head while it happens, at the same time its caotic and peaceful, like the piano music and his voice, it makes you accept what s beyond your control....
  • Adam from Silver Spring, MdI first heard this years ago on "Shaking the Tree" and played it over and over again. Just now heard the Ezrin produced version, and I agree 100% with Gabriel - the stripped down version is infinitely better to me.
  • Jeff from Toledo, OhI've always felt the version on Fripp's solo album was the best. P.G.'s vocals just seem more vulnerable on that one.
  • Stu from Philly, PaThis is one of those songs that I can't hear without shedding a tear. The line "don't be afraid to cry at what you see" really stands out, to me about being witness to something so overwhelming you don't know how to react. Just thinking about what that might be is enough to send me over the edge. one of my favorite songs.
  • Ben from Bermuda, BermudaThis song is so awesome I <3 it!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Angie from Jacksonville, FlIt's a great song, with solo piano or orchestral bombast. I like both versions equally, personally. Really, the lyrics are the important part.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaI consider the Ezrin produced track to be much more significant and moving than the later demo versions that Peter Gabriel insists are improvements. I always thought it was about some rapture or armageddon too.
  • Peter from Huddersfield, EnglandBeautiful live, just Uncle Pete and a piano. Far better than the album version, although I undersfand te comments baout the Rapture. It works so well in isolation.
  • Evan from Tain, ScotlandComing at the end of a very exploratory and creative album, I always thought the line 'drink up dreamers, you're running dry' referred to the dead music scene of the time (disco/punk). It seemed like a wake-up call, to me. OK, I was probably reading a lot of my own ideas into it...
  • Josh from Small Town, WiHonestly, I've never heard the album version, but I have to go with Gabriel on this. The quiet introspective nature of the lyrics is best portrayed by solo piano. I always turn the radio off for a while after listening to this one.
  • Pete from Ny, NyAll respect for Gabriel, but he was always wrong about this one. The bombastic Bob Ezrin version on the album is simply awesome. It's a song that deserves an apocalyptic, epic treatment! I always felt he ruined his song with his subsequent quiet, acoustic, raspy-voiced versions.
  • Robbie from Honolulu, HiWasn't a piano-based acoustic version of this song, with Gabriel singing, featured in the first season episode of Alias during Sydney (Sidney?) Bristow fiancee's funeral/reception? I liked that version, but the original album version is majestically apocalyptic. Great song.
  • Laurence Crook from Cirencester, EnglandStrange...I always saw this as a song about the Rapture, mainly due to the chorus. I'm not religious myself, but that's how it struck me. And the 'Drink up dreamers, you're running dry' seemed to be Gabriel saying that those who believe in it are 'drunk' (not literally, but you know what I mean).
  • J from Houston, TxThe Flood seems like some unstoppable force beyond your control, changing everything permanently. (Whatever that may be to you)
  • Scott from Los Angeles, Cathis song makes me wanna cry...don't know why.
  • K from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaWhen Peter Gabriel played in Buenos Aires -Argentina- for the second time (the first was with Amnesty in 1988), on the Secret World Tour, he dedicated this wonderful song to the soldiers killed in the Malvinas/Falklands war.
  • Ed from St. Louis, MoIncredible. I see it as the tremendous feeling that overwelms you upon the death of a person that was close to you.

    Ed Engel
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