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All Hail The King - interpretations?

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  #1  
Old 11-05-2016, 01:58 PM
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Default All Hail The King - interpretations?

We all know Jon introduced this song as being about the Soul Kitchen, but I've really failed to find a connection to it that way. Come On Up To Our House seems much more fitting to that topic for me.
Now as we know from the past - Jon has changed the themes of some songs just as it fitted the occasion. I vaguely remember him talking about These Days (the song) in one interview about him making fun of one of their record managers (with reference to the 2nd verse):
"...At one moment I sing 'Jimmy Shoes busted both his legs'. Jimmy Shoes is the nick-name of Jimmy Iovine, the big-boss of Interscope Records, but in my song he's just a little boy. A little boy that breaks both of his little legs. Ha ha!"
Later on during concerts he gave speeches about it referring to "Generation X" and trying to make ends meet and so on.
Or more recently: Superman Tonight. When TC was released it was "the only boy-girl song on the album". Later on it had an "immense social aspect and conscious undertone", so that they could promote the video of it that way.

Getting back to All Hail The King. I actually think it's about Richie and deals with his departure in quite a harsh way, which at the same time makes it seem reasonable that Jon has brought up a different background story for the song.

Let's dig into the lyrics:
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
--> a "heavy head" is (at least in the German language) a reference to having a hangover

All the people came to hear him
Speak from miles around
They hug on every word
A song in every sound
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
He touched the sky to light up
All the stars
He could snap his fingers
And catch lightning in a jar
--> this refers to Richie's prime era where he could do magic with his guitar playing and stun everybody - let's say it's the mid-90's

I am you and you are me
--> still the band's prime and the time where they really were at their peak as colloborators

And we are who we are
--> "who we are" might lead to the Jersey-underdog attitude "us against the world"
Touch the sky and light up all the stars

CHORUS
All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
--> Richie's descent as a guitar player and maybe as a friend and human being. The King might be a reference to the old nickname (King of Swing)

The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune
Is his soul
--> I think that these three lines are just a comparison. What's money for the poor man is the gold for the rich and was the soul to Richie's guitar playing

He climbed the clouds
To heaven’s highest hill
--> the band's rise to fame and stardom

When you get that high
The earth below looks just like a blue pill
--> Richie lost some of his down-to-earthness as the band continued to be successful

Gave wind to all his horses
And to all his men good will
When he climbed down from heaven’s
Highest hill
--> he abandoned the band and I guess this passage refers to his decline with his constant boozing issues during the last 2 tours he was on board with the band

All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul
He breathed his last

They laid him in the ground
False prophets spoke of riches
And said all hail to us now
--> the harshest part of the song and it may hint to Richie's circle of friends (Nikki Lund etc.) leading him onto the wrong path

The faithful wouldn’t listen
And they never would bow down
He breathed his last
They laid him in the ground
--> "the faithful" are the band who didn't stop touring because of him and have moved on since. Especially since it seems that Jon really doesn't see a future for Richie with BJ anymore.

All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul


Of course that's nothing but my personal interpretation and pure speculation. But I see the song in a whole different light since then and it became much meaningful to me.
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2016, 02:04 PM
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It's clearly about Richie
Good Job m8...Well Done
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Old 11-05-2016, 03:56 PM
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To me it's about the band and ties perfectly with the themes in the album, but it's more open to interpretation than the others, so I understand why it's a bonus track.

I can totally see why you might think it's about Richie though. In that case I'd see it more as a lament than a jab at him

I don't take it literally about a person, or about the real death of somebody, I see as a state of mind, mourning something that died and will never come back (the band as it was)
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Old 11-05-2016, 04:29 PM
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I'm reluctant to assume it's about Richie, but when I first heard the song/read the lyrics, I thought it didn't really sound like it was about the Soul Kitchen.
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Old 11-05-2016, 04:36 PM
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It's only taken until the album's out for me to realise the lyrics aren't "All Hail The King whose trousers fallen down".
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Old 11-05-2016, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounce7800 View Post
It's only taken until the album's out for me to realise the lyrics aren't "All Hail The King whose trousers fallen down".
Then I hope it's not about Richie

Thanks for the laugh
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjovi90 View Post
We all know Jon introduced this song as being about the Soul Kitchen, but I've really failed to find a connection to it that way. Come On Up To Our House seems much more fitting to that topic for me.
Now as we know from the past - Jon has changed the themes of some songs just as it fitted the occasion. I vaguely remember him talking about These Days (the song) in one interview about him making fun of one of their record managers (with reference to the 2nd verse):
"...At one moment I sing 'Jimmy Shoes busted both his legs'. Jimmy Shoes is the nick-name of Jimmy Iovine, the big-boss of Interscope Records, but in my song he's just a little boy. A little boy that breaks both of his little legs. Ha ha!"
Later on during concerts he gave speeches about it referring to "Generation X" and trying to make ends meet and so on.
Or more recently: Superman Tonight. When TC was released it was "the only boy-girl song on the album". Later on it had an "immense social aspect and conscious undertone", so that they could promote the video of it that way.

Getting back to All Hail The King. I actually think it's about Richie and deals with his departure in quite a harsh way, which at the same time makes it seem reasonable that Jon has brought up a different background story for the song.

Let's dig into the lyrics:
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
--> a "heavy head" is (at least in the German language) a reference to having a hangover

All the people came to hear him
Speak from miles around
They hug on every word
A song in every sound
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
He touched the sky to light up
All the stars
He could snap his fingers
And catch lightning in a jar
--> this refers to Richie's prime era where he could do magic with his guitar playing and stun everybody - let's say it's the mid-90's

I am you and you are me
--> still the band's prime and the time where they really were at their peak as colloborators

And we are who we are
--> "who we are" might lead to the Jersey-underdog attitude "us against the world"
Touch the sky and light up all the stars

CHORUS
All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
--> Richie's descent as a guitar player and maybe as a friend and human being. The King might be a reference to the old nickname (King of Swing)

The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune
Is his soul
--> I think that these three lines are just a comparison. What's money for the poor man is the gold for the rich and was the soul to Richie's guitar playing

He climbed the clouds
To heaven’s highest hill
--> the band's rise to fame and stardom

When you get that high
The earth below looks just like a blue pill
--> Richie lost some of his down-to-earthness as the band continued to be successful

Gave wind to all his horses
And to all his men good will
When he climbed down from heaven’s
Highest hill
--> he abandoned the band and I guess this passage refers to his decline with his constant boozing issues during the last 2 tours he was on board with the band

All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul
He breathed his last

They laid him in the ground
False prophets spoke of riches
And said all hail to us now
--> the harshest part of the song and it may hint to Richie's circle of friends (Nikki Lund etc.) leading him onto the wrong path

The faithful wouldn’t listen
And they never would bow down
He breathed his last
They laid him in the ground
--> "the faithful" are the band who didn't stop touring because of him and have moved on since. Especially since it seems that Jon really doesn't see a future for Richie with BJ anymore.

All hail the king whose castle’s falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul


Of course that's nothing but my personal interpretation and pure speculation. But I see the song in a whole different light since then and it became much meaningful to me.
I think this is a great thread, because people seem have such different interpretations of this song in particular, and nobody seems to see the SK connection Jon talked about.

I posted on the album thread, right after I heard it, that I thought it was about Richie. It's a slightly different interpretation from yours in places, because like Symbeline, it feels more like a lament to me...

For example, when I hear "heavy is the head that wears the crown" I think of someone who is weary, like a king who worries because of his responsibilities or the difficult decisions he has to make.

Anyway, I copied my post here to include it in the discussion:


When I first heard it, a lot of the lyrics made me think he was referring to Richie (even if one ignores the King of Swing nickname).

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
All the people came to hear him speak (play) from miles around.
They hung on every word (note), a song in every sound
Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
He touched the sky to light up all the stars.
He could snap his fingers and catch lightning in a jar.
I am you and you are me; and we are who we are.
We’ll touch the sky and light up all the stars.


(This reminded me of the early shows with Richie's long solos and lightning-fast riffs - like 'In and Out of Love'.)

All hail the king whose castle’s falling down,
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown.
Poor man has his money; rich man has his gold.
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul.


(A lot of people seem to think Richie expected that he would set the world on fire when he did his solo albums and compete on the same level as Bon Jovi; or was somehow trying to prove he was better than the band. I don't agree; but if that’s the case, then things don't seem to be going so well for him right now. At best, it's up and down. So it would appear that “his castle’s falling down”; certainly in comparison to “this house” that’s not for sale. The “paper prince/cardboard crown” makes me think of the “vagabond king/Styrofoam crown” in TD, which in turn reminds me of the “old man on the corner” in Harlem Rain. I always wondered if Richie didn’t fear that would he would one day end up that way... The “whose fortune is his soul” recalls how, in the later interviews during 2014, Richie would say that being a part of Ava's life right now was better currency than money, or something like that - can't recall exactly - plus, I think he just wants the freedom to do his own thing, regardless of whether it meets anyone’s expectations or whether he makes millions doing it or not.)

He climbed the clouds to heaven’s highest hill.
When you get that high, the earth below looks just like a blue pill.
Gave wind to all his horses, and to all his men good will,
When he climbed down from heaven’s highest hill.


(With the band, he certainly climbed to the “highest hill”; and “gave wind to all his horses” made me think of his love of horse racing. Besides being involved in a lot of charities, he has repeatedly said that he loves the band and wishes them nothing but the best, so he gave “to all his men good will, when he climbed down from heaven’s highest hill” and left the band to pursue other goals.)

I’ll stop right there, because I refuse to even think about the last verse. Not touching that with a 10’ pole…

Those are just my thoughts. Maybe Jon is saying something much different, something that relates more closely to the SK, and I'm just missing the point.
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:58 PM
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I know that Kelly & my Prince theory is wrong because I was told that Jon blatantly stated at a Runaway tours thing that this was about someone who worked at the Soul Kitchen and he even got choked up talking about it, but I'll give you the Prince run down anyway just so you can have a little insight into where we were coming from.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown (The pressures of stardom)
All the people came to hear him speak from miles around (Massive star, people did come from miles around to see/hear him)
They hung on every word a song in every sound (His lyrics and his music were fascinating and you could describe his music as "a song in every sound because of the complexity and the innovation of his work)
Heavy is the head that wears the crown
He touched the sky to light up all the stars (his death)
He could snap his fingers and catch lightning in a jar (being a hitmaker/keeping a loyal audience for decades)
I am you and you are me and we are who we are (Jon could relate to Prince because they both were longstanding songwriters/musicians/artists)
Touch the sky and light up all the stars

All hail the king whose castle's falling down (If Prince's castle isn't falling down right now, whose is?)
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown (His name literally was Prince Rogers Nelson. His birth certificate, paper, made him a Prince and the cardboard crown could refer to CD jackets that made him a Prince among artists)
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul (When you die, the only fortune you have left is your soul)

He climbed the clouds to heaven's highest hill (his death)
When you get that high (his alleged addictions to pain pills)
The earth below looks just like a blue pill (again, a reference to the pain medication)
Gave wind to all his horses and to all his men good will (Prince was a religious man and he also wrote songs related to Revelation and these two lines could refer to those images of the 7 Horsemen)
When he climbed down from heaven’s highest hill

All hail the king whose castle's falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul

He breathed his last they laid him in the ground
False prophets spoke of riches and said all hail to us now (People coming out of the woodwork to stake claim to his fortune and his publishing rights because he didn't have a will)
The faithful wouldn't listen and they never would bow down (His fans are still standing behind him)
He breathed his last they laid him in the ground

All hail the king whose castle's falling down
The paper prince who wears a cardboard crown
Poor man has his money
Rich man has his gold
All hail the king whose fortune is his soul


So, even though we're wrong, this is one of those times--as Jon has stated--when the listener could take the lyric and REALLY make it their own.
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Last edited by Becky; 11-05-2016 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 11-07-2016, 01:53 AM
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There is no way I think this is about Richie. There is no way Jon would put "All hail the king whose castle's falling down" in a song about Richie. Jon clearly said it was about SK and I'm taking him at his word.
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Old 11-07-2016, 04:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by symbeline View Post
Then I hope it's not about Richie

Thanks for the laugh
Richie did say he was going to do one of the shows in Europe without trousers!

Enjoy reading the interpretations - the Prince is perfect but we don't know if this may have been written prior to his death. I don't think it is Richie as somewhere in one of these multitudes of recent interviews Jon referred to Living With the Ghost and looking over and Richie was not there. Seems that is "his" song. I can't wrap my head around a SK connection either but there is much we do not know.
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