Five Man Electrical Band - Signs
The Five Man Electrical Band is originally from Ottawa. "Signs" was their biggest hit, although it originated as a b-side. Les Emmerson wrote "Signs" after driving to California along Route 66, where he noticed the many billboards obscuring his view. He saw them as a perfect metaphor for the frustrations of the band and the times they were living in.
This song is an interesting one to discuss in the classroom, because each individual will relate to it differently. The verses address various situations in which discrimination takes place.
And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do
So I took off my hat I said imagine that, huh, me working for you
Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign
Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign
And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in
If God was here, he'd tell you to your face, man you're some kinda sinner
Now, hey you Mister! can't you read, you got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can't even watch, no you can't eat, you ain't suppose to be here
Sign said you got to have a membership card to get inside Uh!
And the sign said everybody welcome, come in, kneel down and pray
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all,
I didn't have a penny to pay, so I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign
I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine
© 1970, 2002 Five Man Electrical Band