Elton John: Levon

Ok, I’ll edit and fix the Levon, adding some notes from Songmeanings.com.


Levon wears his war wound like a crown

He calls his child jesus ‘cause he likes the name

And he sends him to the finest school in town.

Levon, Levon likes his money

He makes a lot they say

Spends his days counting

In a garage by the motorway

He was born a pauper

to a pawn on a Christmas day

When the New York Times said God is dead

and the war’s begun

Alvin Tostig has a son today

And he shall be Levon

And he shall be a good man

And he shall be Levon

In tradition with the family plan

And he shall be Levon

And he shall be a good man

He shall be Levon

Levon sells cartoon balloons in town.

His family business thrives

Jesus blows up balloons all day

Sits on the porch swing watchin’ them fly.

And Jesus, he wants to go to Venus

Leave Levon far behind.

Take a balloon and go sailing

While Levon, Levon slowly dies.

And he shall be Levon

And he shall be a good man

He shall be Levon.

Jesus Levon is a Jew born at the outbreak of World War II, to Alvin Tostig Levon, a veteran proud of his service, probably for Britain in World War I. The Christmas day on which he was born seems to be 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland and Britain entered the war. That “God is dead” is of course a saying popularized by Nietzsche in describing Nineteenth Century faithlessness.[3] It was a heading on the New York Times when the war began. The word Levon seems to be related to Levite, the name of the one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Levi that would contribute the Levitical priests. The song seems to be about common human things in the life of a young Jewish father and his boy born at this time, looking toward a future shaped by the events that would decide what kind of a world he would live in, and whether the generations would continue at all. The poem is a snapshot of the generations of these Jews living in liberty in Britain. Its wonder is how much it says by simply showing a snapshot. The year must be about 1954-1957, as Jesus Levon has now grown up. He is free to name his child Jesus just because he likes the name, but underneath, there is the question of whether the Child might be the messiah, a sort of paternal Jewish version of the Irish mother’s complex. But the point made by the context is that by defeating the Nazis and preserving the Jews in World War II, the Britons might have preserved the possibility of the messiah. Who knows? Actually, it is most likely that the best reading of the scriptures is that the New Testament teaches that the messiah, having already been born, is now living, and will not be born in the time of the second coming. The Jews, who do not think Jesus is the messiah, still await his birth, though he is to be the descendant of David, and so not a Levite. Yet it may still be true that by defeating the Nazis and preserving the Jews, the Britons have preserved the possibility of the messiah in the world. Who knows?

Tostig is a small time entrepreneur in the cartoon balloon industry, and works out of his own garage of his home by the freeway, though they say he makes a lot of money. Jesus plays about the family business, occasionally letting helium balloons go from the porch swing. His soaring aspiration, though, is to go to Venus, or seek and find love, the impulse of the young toward their future generation. Who knows? He may become a Jewish British Hippie. The dream implies that he will leave his father, as he fades into the twilight of life, declining toward death.

Notes from Songmeanings.com:

Blibstodge: “bears his war wound like a crown” crown of thorns?

Ah I understand it now. I think it’s really just about something that happens to every child and parent. The child really wants to go out there in the world, to reach real high, while the parent is bound to tradition and home.sgtpepperon January 24, 2005Link

Soloon June 02, 2004 :Jesus blows up balloons all day – many ideas, hopes dreams, coming from the breath of life (his chest (lungs/heart)…. and someday he will ride one of those dreams away into the sky -heaven? Leaving the slowly dieing Levon behind.

before the time magazine featuring “god is dead” on the cover was released (april 1966) the new york times ran an article called “god is dead” (Jan. 9. 1966) draglineon March 23, 2007

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