Song Lyric Sunday – Hole in my Shoe

Socks, Shoes, Boots and Feet are the prompts for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, suggested by Paula of Light Motifs II. I have chosen an old one from the swinging sixties by Traffic. A band that I really liked with two of my favorite performers, Steve Winwood and Dave Mason. The song is typical of the time and the lyrics are as silly as “I am the Walrus” by the Beatles.

The Song

This psychedelic song was written by Traffic’s guitarist Dave Mason, who played sitar on the track. Depending on your state of mind, you might find some weighty meaning in the song, but Mason says he was just writing down random thoughts in the style of a nursery rhyme. He also insists that he hadn’t tried LSD when he wrote it. In a Songfacts interview with Mason, he explained: “That’s the first song I ever wrote. It was my first attempt at songwriting. I mean, that stuff I did back then, when I listen to it, I cringe and realize I need to work on writing. But writing comes out of living. You have to have something.”

Dave Mason tells us that this song was “the beginning of the end as far as the other three guys were concerned for me.” The band’s second single (after “Paper Sun”), it was a the biggest UK hit for Traffic, but it wasn’t what Mason’s bandmates had in mind, since they didn’t think it represented their sound. Steve Winwood explained to The Sun June 26, 2008: “We never wanted to be a pop band but we had a hit with ‘Shoe,’ which was Dave’s song. Dave had his own idea about the band, the rest of us had another one – a not-quite-as-sensible one, really, because it wasn’t half as commercial.”Mason quit the band soon afterwards and Traffic began to develop a less commercial sound, which put an end to their run of hit singles in the UK. However their new material proved popular on American Rock stations and it gave the band a second wind across the Atlantic.

The monologue in the middle of the song was by Francine Heimann. Little is known about her.

In 1984 Neil (AKA actor Nigel Planer) recorded a humorous cover, which again fell one place short from topping the UK charts. Neil was a hippie character played by Nigel Planer in the BBC comedy series The Young Ones and there was a great deal of comic potential in Planer’s hippie student singing about the “hole in my shoe letting in water.” It won the 1985 Brit Award for Best Comedy Record, the only time the category was included. To promote the single, Planer performed this song live on the BBC music show Top of the Pops. In a memorable performance he stumbled and knocked down the scenery.

Traffic never performed this song, in large part because of Steve Winwood’s disdain for it. He once called it a “trite little song.”

Courtesy of Songfacts

The Lyrics

I looked to the sky
With an elephant's eye
Was looking at me
From a bubblegum tree
And all that I knew was
The hole in my shoe which
Was letting in water (letting in water)

I walked through a field 
That just wasn't real
With a hundred tin soldiers
Would shoot at my shoulder
And all that I knew
The hole in my shoe which
Was letting in water (letting in water)

(I climbed on the back of a giant albatross
Which flew through a crack in the cloud
To a place where happiness reigned all year round
And music played ever so loudly)

I started to fall 
And suddenly woke
And the dew on the grass
Had soaked through my coat
And all that I knew
The hole in my shoe which
Was letting in water (letting in water)

Writer/s: DAVE MASON 
Publisher: T.R.O. INC., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

  12 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Hole in my Shoe

  1. May 8, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    Before my time but a great track. Thanks.

    • Christine Bolton
      May 9, 2022 at 8:34 am

      Thanks for listening! ☺️

  2. May 8, 2022 at 3:26 pm

    Oh? Christine what a great choice, I do love this track! I should of thought of it so glad you did 💜

    • Christine Bolton
      May 8, 2022 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you! Yes it was deep in my memory bank Willow ☺️💕

      • May 8, 2022 at 5:19 pm

        Excellent 👌

  3. May 8, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    Oh blimey, I’d forgotten this one Christine. Great choice!

    • Christine Bolton
      May 8, 2022 at 1:55 pm

      Did you remember the words too Di? I couldn’t get the song out of my head 🙃

      • May 8, 2022 at 3:21 pm

        Most of them!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Christine Bolton
        May 8, 2022 at 4:34 pm

        Too funny right?

      • May 9, 2022 at 2:59 pm

        Yep. Good music though

  4. May 8, 2022 at 1:09 pm

    It is really cool for me to discover a new Traffic song. Thanks Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      May 8, 2022 at 1:46 pm

      A silly one Jim. I hadn’t listened to it since the 60s and I remembered every word 🤣 LOL

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