Jethro Tull – Bungle In The Jungle

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Alligator/Crocodile/Lizard/Snake/Turtle.

From their 1974 album, War Child. The song reached #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on January 10, 1975.

From Songfacts

  • This is perhaps the best-known song from Jethro Tull’s War Child album. War Child was originally written to be the soundtrack for a film which never got made. The outline of the movie, posted on the official Jethro Tull website, goes into details of the film: A black comedy about a dead teenage girl visiting Heaven and her various misadventures in the afterlife. May we humbly recommend Terry Gilliam to direct?

    “Bungle in the Jungle” actually came from an earlier project. Ian Anderson told us in a Songfacts interview: “It was actually late ’72 or early ’73 when I was in Paris recording an album that never got released, although one or two of the tracks made it out in 1974, but that was at a time when I was writing an album that was exploring people, the human condition, through analogies with the animal kingdom. And that particular song was perhaps the more obvious and the more catchy of the tunes. Eventually it was finished and saved in time for the War Child album, sometime later.”

    The War Child album peaked at #2 on the Billboard Albums chart.
  • In the same interview, Anderson also clears up the matter of which came first: this song, or the World Heavyweight Championship boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, known as “Rumble in the Jungle” because of its Zaire location. While he’s not sure if the song was released before the boxing match, Anderson knows that the song was written well ahead of it. He says, “Since ‘Bungle in the Jungle’ had been released in the year 1974 on the War Child album, ‘rumble in the jungle’ may have been taken from that. Because that took place on the 30th of October in 1974. Maybe they were alluding to what was a well-played song, even on AM radio.”

Bungle In The Jungle

Walking through forests of palm tree apartments
Scoff at the monkeys who live in their dark tents
Down by the waterhole
Drunk every Friday
Eating their nuts
Saving their raisins for Sunday.
Lions and tigers
Who wait in the shadows
They’re fast but they’re lazy, and sleep in green meadows

Let’s bungle in the jungle
Well, that’s all right by me
I’m a tiger when I want love
But I’m a snake if we disagree

Just say a word and the boys will be right there
With claws at your back to send a chill through the night air
Is it so frightening to have me at your shoulder?
Thunder and lightning couldn’t be bolder
I’ll write on your tombstone,I thank you for dinner
This game that we animals play is a winner

Let’s bungle in the jungle
Well, that’s all right by me
I’m a tiger when I want love
But I’m a snake if we disagree

The rivers are full of crocodile nastiest
And He who made kittens put snakes in the grass
He’s a lover of life but a player of pawns
Yes, the King on His sunset lies waiting for dawn
To light up His Jungle as play is resumed
The monkeys seem willing to strike up the tune

Let’s bungle in the jungle
Well, that’s all right by me
I’m a tiger when I want love
But I’m a snake if we disagree

7 thoughts on “Jethro Tull – Bungle In The Jungle

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