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Elton John Ticking Lyrics

Last updated: 07/30/2014 05:41:16 AM

Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

"An extremely quiet child" they called you in your school report
"He's always taken interest in the subjects that he's taught"
So what was it that brought the squad car screaming up your drive
To notify your parents of the manner in which you died

At St. Patricks every Sunday, Father Fletcher heard your sins
"Oh, he's unconcerned with competition he never cares to win"
But blood stained a young hand that never held a gun
And his parents never thought of him as their troubled son

"Now you'll never get to Heaven" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Grow up straight and true blue
Run along to bed"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

They had you holed up in a downtown bar screaming for a priest
Some gook said "His brain's just snapped" then someone called the police
You'd knifed a Negro waiter who had tried to calm you down
Oh you'd pulled a gun and told them all to lay still on the ground

Promising to hurt no one, providing they were still
A young man tried to make a break, with tear-filled eyes you killed
That gun butt felt so smooth and warm cradled in your palm
Oh your childhood cried out in your head "they mean to do you harm"

"Don't ever ride on the devil's knee" Mama said
Remember mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Pay your penance well, my child
Fear where angels tread"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

Within an hour the news had reached the media machine
A male caucasian with a gun had gone berserk in Queens
The area had been sealed off, the kids sent home from school
Fourteen people lying dead in a bar they called the Kicking Mule

Oh they pleaded to your sanity for the sake of those inside
"Throw out your gun, walk out slow just keep your hands held high"
But they pumped you full of rifle shells as you stepped out the door
Oh you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law

"You've slept too long in silence" Mama said
Remember Mama said
Ticking, ticking
"Crazy boy, you'll only wind up with strange notions in your head"
Hear it, hear it, ticking, ticking

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Compassion | Reviewer: Brynn | 7/30/14

This has been one of my favorite songs for 40 years. The depths of sadness I felt the first time I heard it, have deepened throughout the years. So many suffer in silence, being bullied, disregarded, minimized by those that are suppose to love and protect them. This song will continue to make me reflect on the hatred in our world and be a reminder to be kind and caring toward others.

Ticking Elton &Bernie | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/27/14

I first listened to the the song Ticking on the Caribou album when I was eighteen.At the time I thought " amazing song" but being young & naive didn't fully comprehend the implications & gravity of the lyrics. Fast forward nearly forty years later, I have just played the song today. Wow, what a masterpiece one of Elton & Bernie finest, supreme collaborations. sublime, absolutely sublime.
Mel incredible song! | Reviewer: Nigel Ciera | 2/2/14

I've sung this song ever since 1974 when I was 11-years-old. I can sing it perfectly every single time I hear it. I am truly amazed how talented both Elton and Bernie are to have written something like this so early in their career AND written something like this back in 1974. This is truly a priceless song!

Mishearing a line | Reviewer: Mark W. | 1/13/13

The Elton John song "Ticking" haunted me for days when I first heard it almost forty years ago. The Sandy Hook massacre of 20 children brought it back into memory. So I listened to it on U-tube, and felt it as deeply as long ago.
In reading the lyrics "....oh you danced in death like a marionette on the vengeance of the law", I saw that I'd always heard it as " the vengeance of the Lord..."
Both are powerful images:
'The vengeance of the law' is deep and final.
'The vengeance of the Lord' is eternal._

the lost souls | Reviewer: Dan | 12/17/12

when i first learned of the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school and information about the shooter started to unfold I thought about this song. The people that commit this type of violence have managed over time to disconnect from society and reality. "You slept too long in silence momma said" is a chilling description of a sick mind in need of help that never arrived.

Thinking | Reviewer: Eric M. | 7/5/12

I am inspired by this song. I remember listening to it sitting in my brother's car while he was working at the factory. He's dead. I'm dying. I feel like I should grab a gun and live out the song I've sang most of my life.

Frantic piano | Reviewer: Jasmin | 8/6/11

My Dad sat me on his knee when I was about 6 years old, cranked the volume up, and told me to close my eyes and REALLY listen to this song. The frantic piano and pleading lyrics look me on an emotional roller coaster that I'd never forget. This song, in my opinion, presents the most stunning combination of lyrics and music which puts you right in the heart of the story- particularly at the point where he steps out from the bar and is shot down by the waiting police. It might sound a little gruesome to encourage such a young child to listen to this song, but Dad did that with all great music and it's an education I appreciate and have such fond memories of to this day.

Strength Through Music | Reviewer: pDale | 5/19/11

The first time I heard Amanda Palmer's "Strength Through Music," I thought of this song. I wonder if she's heard it. I haven't heard it in years, but it really made an impression.

"It is so simple
The way they fall
No cry, no whimper
No sound at all
Tick tick tick tick tick"

The Best they ever wrote | Reviewer: David Taylor | 3/14/11

I first heard this song when I was 14 - 15 years old, and while I was still into pure 'pop' (an addiction I have almost kicked) this is the first real 'art' song I ever got into. The interesting thing about the song is way the lyrics and the music work together. They are very beautiful piano/synth/vocal music and very powerful lyrics all by themselves - but together, I think they make the best piece of music ever put out by John/Taupin Co. A very definite candidate for the best song of the entire '70's. Can't ever make it an absolute on something like that, but 'Ticking' is in the running.

Powerful song | Reviewer: Ed | 2/15/11

After reading the other reviews, there's not much I can add. What a masterpiece this song is. I heard it right after Caribou came out and was amazed as I listened to the piano and lyrics go hand in hand in. Brilliant.

Amazing | Reviewer: Chaz | 4/5/10

I first heared this song when i was like 13-14 years old. I was a bright, sensitively deep thoughtful kid, and a big fan of his classics; Your Song, Don't let the Sun..etc., but it was this song that made an impression on me. From the passionate electric piano keystrokes that seemed to tell the story on its own, to every Taupin word that brought the reality of the incessant "ticking" off the vinyl LP and up into my head. "Remember mama said..ticking,ticking"

My favorite line: "Oh you danced in death (the desert?) like a marionette on the vengeance of the law". Who else can write like that! Song on youtube

Haunting piece of music | Reviewer: Jamie M | 8/18/09

I first heard this song when Caribou came out, I was very young as i got older I got the content of the song. It is very disturbing and sad, but it is a great piece of work by Bernie and Elton. You know sometimes people that feel that they have nothing and they just snap, I;m not a very religious person but all I can say is that sometimes all you need is God or a higher power..I just wish the violence in the world would just stop, like I said it is just a wish...

Everytime | Reviewer: Cindy Rose Boyd | 2/19/09

I think of this song, I realize the genius of both Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I marvel at the intensity of the music which seems to beat out the path the words have taken. I am overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing the lyrics. Thank you Elton and Bernie for giving us this wonderful piece of work which will live on forever in time.

Thanks so much! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/6/08

Thank you very much for writing out the lyrics to this haunting song.I was watching the news this week here in the NYC area and heard a story about a guy who shot a generous bus driver. The gunman didn't have any money for a fare, and yet the driver let him on. Then the gunman asked for a transfer, they had some words, and the guy shot the bus driver, who by the way, was about to hand him the transfer. It made me think of this song for some reason and I pulled it off the shelf. The song is so true, sadly even more so in these times. Some people take it out on others, some suffer internally. Great work by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. I wish those two would get back together and write some more amazing songs.

So so sad | Reviewer: Jill | 4/19/08

I remember the first time I ever heard this song in 1979 or 80 I believe, at one of Elton Johns concerts. I could feel the pain in the lyrics and the music. It nearly ripped my heart out of my chest. This song is one of the most intense songs ever written, both lyrics and music, and It popped into my head out of the blue at 2 am. I am a mother of 6 children. With all the viloence these days, I listened to the song and wept. It truly is a masterpiece. How many out there are ticking...and is there anyway to ever stop it. I don't know. The song pulls at my heartstrings. It is amazing and I am in awe of the talent of Elton John as well as Mr. Taupin.