Meaning of Monkey Gone to Heaven – Pixies

In 1988, the American rock band Pixies signed a contract with the record company Elektra Records and attracted producer Gil Norton to record a new album. As the release of the record “Doolittle” showed, the musicians did not make a mistake in choosing partners. Gil Norton achieved a cleaner sound, and a well-known label brought the band to the international stage. One of the hits was the track “Monkey Gone to Heaven”. Recall the history of the creation of a popular composition.

The author of the idea, words and music of the song is Black Francis. The phrase “this monkey’s gone to heaven” was in Black’s mind long before the song’s story began. Once he had the lyrics drafted, he headed to guitarist Joey Santiago’s apartment. Santiago remembers:

It was early in the morning and I was still so tired. [Френсис сказал]: “Hey Joe, I need to come over. I need to show you something.”… It was amazing, really cool. He had the “If man is five” part ready and he was laughing all the time… It was fun.

The Pixies’ Doolittle

Many critics and fans of Pixies are convinced that the composition is dedicated to two problems: environmental pollution and people’s vain search for their destiny in the universe. But from the author’s interview it becomes clear that he himself finds it difficult to explain the meaning of the song “Monkey Gone to Heaven”.

Let’s listen to what Black Francis said about the main idea of ​​the composition:

It belongs to the mythological category. I’m not so much looking to get the message across as to make the lyrics pop out of the speakers when people listen to the music. Some part of it is quite clear to understand, but then it goes: “If man is five, the devil is six, then God is seven”, and you know what? It rhymes with “Monkey gone to heaven”. And all this is a mish-mash of real and important things with gibberish and Alice in Wonderland rubbish. This is a surreal work. I am a surrealist. You know, songs can’t be as simple as twice two four.

Esquire, 2014

The Pixies’ Doolittle book by Ben Sisario quotes Black Francis as saying where the song takes place:

On the one hand, this is a huge dry closet. Various things are washed there, where they are purified or decomposed. It’s a big, dark, mysterious place. However, this is a mythological place where the gardens of the octopus, the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis and mermaids are located.

Frank Black also explained why he used numbers in the song:

This is a reference to how I understand Jewish numerology, but in fact, I don’t really know anything about it. I only remember someone telling me about the alleged fact that in the Hebrew language, especially in the Bible, one can find a lot of references to man in fives, to Satan in sixes, and to God in sevens. I didn’t go to the library and check it out.

Alternative Press

In March 1989, the Pixies released “Monkey Gone to Heaven” as the first single from the Elektra Records album Doolittle.

The black-and-white video clip for “Monkey Gone to Heaven” by the Pixies was shot in concert style.

Check out the music video of the rock band Pixies performing “Monkey Gone to Heaven” on a TV show.

Interesting Facts

  • According to legend, the song was originally called “Junkie Gone to Heaven”, but at the request of the label, “junkie” had to be replaced by “monkey”.
  • “Monkey Gone to Heaven” was the first Pixies track to feature session musicians.
  • The infamous band Bloodhound Gang makes reference to the Pixies’ song in the track “Fire Water Burn”.
  • The composition was included in the lists of the best songs of all time according to Rolling Stone and NME.

Monkey Gone to Heaven

pixiesTranslation of the song
Monkey Gone to Heaven

pixiesThere was a guy
An under water guy who controlled the sea
Got killed by ten million pounds of sludge
From New York and New Jersey There was a guy
He lived under water and ruled the sea
He was killed by ten million pounds of dirt
From New York and New Jersey2This monkey’s gone to Heaven x4The creature in the sky
Got sucked in the hole
Now there’s a hole in the sky
And the ground’s not cold
And if the ground’s not cold
Everything is gonna burn
We’ll all take turns
I’ll get mine too
sucked into a hole
Now there’s a hole in the sky
And it’s no longer cold on the surface
And if it’s not cool on the surface,
Everything will burn
We’ll all burn one by one
And I’ll wait for mine This monkey’s gone to Heaven x4 If man is five, if man is five, if man is five
Then the devil is six, then the devil is six
The devil is six, the devil is six and if the devil is six
Then God is seven, then God is seven, the God is seven If a person is five, if a person is five, if a person is five,
Then the devil is six, then the devil is six
The devil is six, the devil is six, and if the devil is six,
Then God is seven, then God is seven, God is seven5 This monkey’s gone to Heaven x9

  • Perhaps we are talking about Neptune from ancient myths
  • Pollution of the world’s oceans
  • Probably the author means God
  • Destruction of the ozone layer
  • References to numerology
  • Song quote

    Just the phrase “monkey gone to heaven” sounds elegant.

    Frank Black

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