Meaning of the song Delilah by Tom Jones

The ballad as a musical genre has several varieties, including the so-called murder ballads (ballads about murder). Delilah performed by Tom Jones is a typical example of this trend and one of the most famous compositions of this kind.

The history of the creation of the track, which was particularly popular with Soviet admirers of the work of this British singer, is described later in the article.

Delilah – Tom Jones Song Story

The song was co-written by Barry Mason and Sylvan Whittingham, who wrote the lyrics, and Les Reed, who wrote the music, as well as came up with the main idea and title.

Delilah tells about a guy who, having caught his beloved with another, in a fit of jealousy, killed her with a knife. The name of the girl suggests the biblical hero Samson and the Philistine Delilah (Dalida) who betrayed him. However, according to Barry Mason, he had a different source of inspiration:

Usually I draw ideas from a line, especially the capital one. In the case of “Delilah” I was inspired by “Jezebel” which was an old Frankie Lane hit.


Interestingly, Tom Jones did not like the song at first, but later he changed his mind:

I remember when I first heard “Delilah” I thought, “This is just a comic record.” And my manager said, “Yes, but we want you to play it seriously.” When you listen to it for the first time, you think that this is an energetic composition in the spirit of “We Are the Champions”. In fact, it is about a man who kills a woman. It is recorded in the style of old drinking songs – you can imagine the beer glasses being brandished in an old pub. “Delilah” is always a pleasure to play on stage. When the crowd hears the brass at the beginning, they start singing before I even open my mouth.

The Mail on Sunday, 2011

Release and achievements of the song Delilah by Tom Jones

In February 1968, the composition was released as a single with the track Smile on the back of the record.

She topped the charts in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Finland. The song peaked at number two on the UK chart and peaked at number fifteen on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Subsequently, many musicians performed it in different genres and in several languages.

Interesting Facts

  • The biographical book Sir Elton by Philip Norman claims that Elton John, who was in financial difficulties at the time, participated in the recording of the song as a backing vocalist.
  • Delilah is the unofficial anthem of Welsh rugby fans. Once, some politicians tried to ban this practice, as the song seemed offensive to women, but this initiative was simply ridiculed.
  • The song is also sung in the stands by fans of Stoke City Football Club. They say they chose her after the police asked them not to bawl songs with obscene words in pubs.
  • The track is used in many famous films, including Edward Scissorhands and American Hustle.

Delilah Lyrics

I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
I saw the flickering shadow of love on her blind
She was my woman
As she deceived me I watched and went out of my mind

My my my Delilah
Why why why Delilah
I could see that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free

At break of day when that man drove away I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

My my my Delilah
Why why why Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn’t take any more

Delilah Lyrics – Tom Jones

Passing by at night, I saw a light in her window
And the shimmering shadow of love on the curtains
She was mine
But I realized that she betrayed me and lost my mind

My, my, my Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah?
I knew this girl wasn’t right for me
But I became like a slave that no one can free

I waited until that man left at dawn
Crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood and laughed
I had a knife in my hand, and her laughter subsided

My, my, my Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah
Before they come and break down the door
Forgive me Delilah, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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