What does Suffragette City mean?

Search Login

David Bowie: Suffragette City Meaning

Tagged:

No tags, suggest one.

Song Released: 1976


Get "Suffragette City" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon

Suffragette City Lyrics

Play "Suffragette City"
on Amazon Music

(hey man) oh leave me alone you know
(hey man) oh henry, get off the phone, I gotta
(hey man) I gotta straighten my face
This mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place

(hey man) my schooldays insane
(hey man) my work’s down the...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    GEM
    click a star to vote
    Oct 10th, 2005 10:39pm report


    This whole song is about bi-sexuality and how the character in the song, most likely Bowie, is telling his friend, Henry, that he loves the comfort and sex of a woman and so doesn't want to have anymore sexual relations with a man.

    This is shown when Bowie sings about a boy crashing at his house but he doesn't want him because 'there is only room for one and here she come' He doesn't want the sex with men as he sings 'don't lean on me man' and then saying that he can't tempt him back from the love of a woman saying that 'you can't afford the ticket' to get Bowie back 'from Suffragette City' Suffragette City being the love of women, instead the word suffragette is used than woman. It meaning the women in the earlier 20th century who fought for equal rights.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    LaLa_Farfalla
    click a star to vote
    Jun 5th, 2008 6:02am report


    This song is about the singer's love affair with Heroin - or H - or Henry and him trying to escape it after he meets this 'mellow thighed chick' and wants to go back to having a fulfilling sex life. Something which Henry is preventing him from doing by hanging around, refusing to leave.



  3.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 5th, 2016 7:49pm report


    The words just sounded good for a great hook,
    its that simple!



  4.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 29th, 2016 1:36pm report


    For the meaning of Suffragette City I think it helps to link the song with the non-album track John, I'm Only Dancing from the same Ziggy sessions, which was released as a follow up single to Starman. In both songs Bowie is frustrated by his feelings for his boyfriend because he wants to have sex with a woman. In Suffragette the boyfriend is Henry, and he is caught between rejecting Henry to have sex with a "mellow thighed chick who's just put my spine out of place". In John, I'm only dancing his boyfriend is called John and he is trying to explain to him that he only wants to dance with a girl called Annie who turns him on and "always eats her meat". In other words, sex or dancing with women is fun, and his boyfriend should not be jealous "don't lean on me man" because he's not seriously romantically involved with the suffragette woman or Annie. Suffragette is a name for women's suffrage but in this contact is used on the context of gay suffrage or liberation - Bowie wants to be free to love his boyfriend but also to have sex or to dance with women when he want to.



  5.  

    Count
    click a star to vote
    Dec 17th, 2015 12:13am report


    I'm surprised no one mentioned S&M. If you look at it from that angle, a lot of the words make sense. First of all the title itself would be a play on words alluding to "suffering" as in pain resulting from S&M acts. Going along with that is the line about the chick putting his spine out of place. Then "she had to squeeze it": I can only imagine what! "Can't afford the ticket" means his friend isn't into S&M, can't take the punishment perhaps. Then during the guitar lead, he says "Oh (or Ow), hit me" - further evidence. Then he tops it off with "Wham bam thank you ma'am", very possibly another reference to being hit or hitting.
    I love this song whatever the words mean - to me his best.



  6.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 22nd, 2014 4:54pm report


    Is it possible Bowie DID write the song "Suffragette City" about his future experiences in Rochester, NY but didn't know it yet or maybe the people in Rochester were waiting for him to play there so they could...make it come true??? Weird. The song does smack of Rochester and it seems hard to believe it was written four years earlier in 1972. Strange indeed. Great tune! Thanks, Mr. Bowie.



  7.  

    Cherie
    click a star to vote
    Dec 30th, 2013 12:08am report


    I think there's importance to the word "suffragette" as well. It's an old term for women who fought for the right to vote. A term that isn't used much anymore. It's a certain type of woman--perhaps a strong woman--maybe a militant one. These days we might say feminist instead. So I think it makes sense in the context of Ziggy that being with a strong purposeful woman could be termed "suffragette city" as a different place, a different world from the place where Henry hangs out.



  8.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 1st, 2012 7:12pm report


    Bowie has kind of gone back and forth on his bisexuality, hasn't he. Honestly, I don't think this song is particularly deep. He's telling a friend to go hang out somewhere else, because he's expecting a visit from a lover. It's possible that "suffragette" was just used because he liked the way it sounded.



  9.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 20th, 2012 1:16am report


    I agree with it possibly not being about bisexuality since Bowie has stated that he was never really attracted to men (although he could still write a song about it). I think the drug theory is probably the most likely because even though he never had a heroin habit (that I know of anyway) he was out of his mind on Cocain and PCP for several years so the meaning sticks. At least this is my opinion



  10.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 31st, 2011 7:23pm report


    I will sound like a crazy person but. Back in the USSR is a Bowie parody to the Beatles (back in the USA). This is a parody to the surfer sound stuff- Beach Boys music.



  11.  

    Marina Anna Pauline Fraser
    click a star to vote
    Jul 7th, 2011 7:48pm report


    Bowie, himself, has stated that the whole bi-sexual persona was just part of his act at the time and that he was never sexually into men. So, I don't think the first interpretation is even remotely likely. He has, however, experimented with drugs and used them, he just never got caught up in them quite like his peers did. Nonetheless, he battled with drugs, was surrounded by friends who were brilliant junkies, and was greatly impacted by them. Ashes to Ashes is about this battle with drugs and personal demons. So, I think the song is more likely about that.



  12.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 22nd, 2011 5:46pm report


    I think that this song probably has something to do with women's suffrage. I think that the "Henry" referred to may be Henry B. Blackwell, a huge Women's Suffrage activist. You can figure out the rest.



  13.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 25th, 2010 3:30pm report


    I agree with the Susan B. Anthony story, very interesting. However, there's no way the song could have anything to do with his arrest in NY seeing as he was arrested 3 years after the song was written during his Thin White Duke phase. There's no way the song is about heroin either (contrary to belief, not every great rock song is about drugs)because Bowie never messed with the stuff (besides experimentation I'm sure). I would say the bi-sexual theory is a safe bet seeing as it was written during Ziggy Stardust which was when Bowie became very curious about cross dressing, other men, and the likes. That, or the Susan B. Anthony theory would be my bet.



  14.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 28th, 2009 11:24pm report


    I heard it was about Rochester, NY, where susan b anthony was from. A "Suffragette" who wanted womens vote, and he was arrested for marijuana possession, and "cant afford the ticket"

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  15.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 6th, 2008 10:22pm report


    In context with the Ziggy Stardust storyline, you could see it as part of Ziggys downfall. He is too busy fucking groupies and not paying attention to anyone else. Even his friends.



  16.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 1st, 2007 6:24pm report


    Dude that's rebel rebel

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  17.  

    krizs
    click a star to vote
    Dec 25th, 2005 12:34pm report


    This song is about David Bowie in love with this girl who cut her hair real short and is a punk rocker and her mother doesn't know if she's a boy or a girl because she's not a proper lady and so she's a rebel.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


‹ prev 12



More David Bowie song meanings »


 


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]






Just Posted

Lost Boy anonymous
Walk On Water anonymous
One Thing anonymous
Bless The Broken Road anonymous
Silent Lucidity anonymous
Naked anonymous
Burning In The Skies anonymous
10001110101 anonymous
Record Year anonymous
Crackerbox Palace anonymous
Hey Angel anonymous
Bungalow anonymous
Kinda Complicated anonymous
PDA anonymous
Baepsae/Crow-Tit/Try Hard anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Cycles
Jonathan McReynolds
Hall Of Fame
Swoope
No Hard Feelings
Avett Brothers, The
War Cry
Social Club Misfits
Pray for Me
Weeknd, The
Hardaway
Derez De'Shon
Never Tear Us Apart
Bishop Briggs
Saturday Sun
Vance Joy