Album: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols (1977)
Play Video
  • I'm on a submarine mission for you baby
    I feel the way you were going
    I picked you up on my TV screen
    I feel your undercurrent flowing
    Submission going down down
    dragging me down
    Submission I can't tell ya what I've found

    You've pot me pretty deep baby
    I can't figure out your watery love.
    I gotta solve your mystery.
    You're sifting if out in heaven above.

    Submission going... (etc.)
    For there's a mystery.
    Under the sea... Under a water come
    (share it)

    Submission going... (etc.)
    'cause it's a secret
    Under the water... Under the sea
    (octopus rock)

    You've got me pretty... (etc.)
    Submission going... (etc.)
    A submission A submission
    falling down down under the sea.
    I want to drown drown under the water
    Going down down under the sea. Writer/s: GLEN MATLOCK, JOHN LYDON, PAUL THOMAS COOK, STEVE (GB 1) JONES
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 5

  • Louise from Oxford UkAndy is right. Strange, I played the album to death when it first came out and only recently started listening to it again and just yesterday I realised what this song was about. I always it was about the zombie-like way people submitted to social norms; the Pistols never wrote anything else about their sexual experiences, but i think it’s clearly about oral sex. It makes sense of lines like ‘you’re sitting it out in heaven above’ and, for heaven’s sake ‘I feel your undercurrent flowing’.

    It was the seventies and cunnilingus was not so popular with guys as it is now. It was a favour, hence the whole idea of submission and the spluttering at the end, but there’s a fascination too in exploring a woman’s vagina; a mystery, a secret. It’s an intimate song about a personal experience. They did nothing else like it.
  • Andy from Las Vegas, NvFor me, this song was always about submitting to a woman's request to perform cunnilingus. I won't go through the lyrics line by line, but there is a lot of context there that could be interpreted as a sexually excited woman--stuff like "I feel the way you're flowing." The line "I'm going down, down," seems pretty clear. The term, "submarine mission" itself could be a simile for the act. Have you ever felt somewhat suffocated in the act?

    The thing is, Johnny isn't very good at this. Look at this passage: "You've got me pretty deep baby, I can't figure out your watery love, I gotta solve your mystery." Sounds like he is pretty lost to me, an idea which isn't all together incomprehensible for any male going back to his first experience at this. Which just feeds the whole "Submission" secondary level.

    I don't know, maybe I'm just a pervert, but this subtext is pretty clear to me. Couldn't find anything else on the internet to confirm my theory, so maybe I'm all wet. All wet, get it?

  • David from Levin, New ZealandThe lyrics were written line by line by Rotten and the Pistol's original bassist, Glen Matlock. This was clearly referenced in the Classic Albums BBC series - see
  • Viking from Queensland, AustraliaSubmission was actually written on BOTH subjects (Sexual submission AND a Submarine mission). In typical Sex Pistols fashion it was done to keep people guessing and start rumours. The song was co-written by Johnny and [research], each writing a disconnected line, this gives the song it's random lyrics. Johnny was telling the annecdote on a documentary I saw (Sorry can't reference that).
  • Razor from London, EnglandThe song actually IS about a sexual submissive - although there are no references to BDSM activity and the "submarine mission" imagery has used to confuse the listener.
    There are at least three studio takes of the song in circulation - the original on NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS, a version produced by Dave Goodman which has appeared in several mixes [some are very psychedelic/dub-like], and an alternate take produced by Thomas & Price, which features Sid on bass, with a similarly experimental production. This version is many fans' favorite.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Second Wind Songs

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie Brothers

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Maria Muldaur

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.