Lions



All alone in the country
Took a walk in the country
All alone in the country hey hey hey

Blade of grass in the country
Sour mash in the country
All the cash in the country hey hey hey

There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England no no no

There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England no no no

I'll call your home
Then you start delivering
Taking my time, then you start your quibbling
Now I know you're pedalling, you're still back-pedalling
I should have quit you a long long, a long long, a long long time ago

There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England no, no, no

There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England no, no, no

There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England
There are no lions in England no, no, no


Lyrics by:
Brown

Available on:
Unfinished Monkey Business (6.52)
Corpses In Their Mouths (b-side) (3.49)
Remixes / B-Side Tracks: 1. Can't See Me (Harvey's Invisible Mix) / 2. Can't See Me (Bacon & Quarmby Vocal Dub) / 3. Lions (With Denise) / 4. Under The Paving Stones: The Beach (Gabriel's 13th Dream Remix) / 5. Jesus On The Move (Polydor, POCP 7357, Japanese CD, released 12th January 1998)

Details:

This duet with Denise Johnson is a riposte to 'Three Lions', the official song of the England football team for the 1996 European Championships. Most football songs tended to espouse an unbounded optimism for victory; instead, Three Lions told of how, ever since 1966 and the one unequivocal success of the English football team, every tournament has ended in dashed hopes and the feeling that England will never again reach those heights. Despite the failures of the past, each tournament is greeted with fresh hope that this might finally be the year that the England football team does it again ("I know that was then, but it could be again"). The song's exuberant chorus proclaimed, "Football's coming home", derived from the tournament's slogan, "Football comes home", which in turn alluded to the invention of the modern game in England. This is Ian's explanation to Uncut magazine in February 1998 (the England-Germany game he refers to is the Euro '96 semi-final, in which Germany defeated England on penalties):

 

Top left: The England crest.
Top right: The 'Three Lions' video.
Bottom: Gareth Southgate is consoled by Stuart Pearce after his penalty is saved in the Euro '96 semi-final shootout versus Germany. The Britpop phenomenon was at its peak in 1996, and the involvement of The Lightning Seeds gave the song wide appeal. It stormed to number one in the singles chart, and as England progressed to the semi-finals, stadia around the country echoed to the sound of fans singing the song after English victories over Scotland, The Netherlands and Spain. The hopes of a nation were once again dashed in this tournament, when England lost agonisingly in a penalty shootout against Germany - and so the song's lyrics rang true once again; it has been re-recorded and released in subsequent football tournaments.

The whole of the final verse is aimed at cycling enthusiast John Squire. From here, the song takes on an arduous circuitous route, at one point breaking down.

 

 

Top row: "Now I know you're pedalling, you're still back-pedalling..."
Bottom row: The 'cycling lion' (or 'lion on a unicycle') British Railways emblem, used on locomotives between 1950 and early 1956. The privatisation of British Rail was set in motion by the Conservative government in January 1993.


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