What does Caves Of Altamira mean?

Steely Dan: Caves Of Altamira Meaning

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Album cover for Caves Of Altamira album cover

Caves Of Altamira Lyrics

I recall when I was small
How I spent my days alone
The busy world was not for me
So I went and found my own
I would climb the garden wall
With a candle in my hand
I'd hide inside a hall of rock and sand

On the stone an ancient hand

  1. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2023 !⃝

    To me it sounds like the tale is taken from the singers POV, describing how as a child they would retreat to an ancient cave system inhabited by humans tens of thousands of years ago when the busyness of modern life got too much for him. The lyrics heavily imply that the cave systems had not been found by others yet, which makes the lyrics even more fascinating.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 30th 2017 !⃝

    In that earlier cave paintings were largely done by the women, I think the reasons evolved and changed. Each had accurate depictions of things around them--animals, hands and where to find food. (If for any reason the family unit were broken, what better way to instruct and help them survive.But also the paintings express their inner mind).

    In the moment of creation, a variety of motivations come into the creative process. By present standards, civilization is more passive, willing to let others define us. A similar frustration comes from the song by the New Radicals...are we really letting others define us, define our most deep expression--including Hollywood. And with a strong sense of legacy, Steely Dan leads us to express ourselves-- for generations to come. When they refer to tgeir early influences, they state, "now these jazz artists will be played forever." For you and me they certainly understood.

  3. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2013 !⃝

    I feel it's about a young man wanting to learn music the way music notes were written, practiced, perfected and played. "Before there was Hollywood". The glamour of the music biz and the loss art of being a real musician. The cave being a symbol of the unknown, lost and forgotten. The candle being his instrument, his understanding and his willingness to learn notes and how they were intended to be played. "The writing on the wall" left by true musicians before the fall of the art of writing and reading music symbols and notes.

  4. joeo
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    Apr 4th 2009 !⃝

    This song is about early man's call to be creative and expressive. He talks how early in life he recognizes that "BUSY WORLD WAS NOT FOR ME SO I WENT & FOUND MY OWN", his imagination was sparked in his solitude studying , reading IMAGINING CREATING. The story of the Caves of Altamira, cave dwelling paintings by Neanderthals in Spain "BEFORE THE FALL WHEN THEY WROTE IT ON THE WALL WHEN THERE WASN'T EVEN A HOLLYWOOD THEY HEARD THE CALL"... He answered his creative call & we are all ever grateful.

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