I don't want to be adored
Don't want to be first in line
Or make myself heard

Keane - Hamburg Song lyrics meaning


The lyrics in Hamburg Song by English piano-rock band Keane are indicative of the unusual songwriting dynamic at the band's heart - most of their songs are written by pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, but sung by Tom Chaplin. Debut album 'Hopes & Fears' turned Keane into one of the biggest bands in the world, in a very short time. To date it has sold nearly six million copies worldwide and often appears on lists of the greatest albums ever made.

Naturally shy and not typical of the rockstar mould, the three-piece found this limelight difficult to deal with, and life for lead singer Tom in particular took a dramatic turn. He became addicted to alcohol and cocaine, placing an enormous strain on the band - which nearly split - and on his relationship with best friend Tim Rice-Oxley.

Unable to get through to Tom on a personal level, Tim resorted to talking to him through his songwriting, particularly on 'Hopes & Fears' follow-up 'Under The Iron Sea', which 'Hamburg Song' is taken from. It's a track that gets to the very centre of their relationship, and when Tom sings 'I don't wanna be adored, don't wanna be first in line, or make myself heard', it is in fact Tim talking, describing perhaps the nature of being the pianist as opposed to the lead singer. For those who know this story, the song is exceptional moving - but the universality of its lyrics mean it can be interpreted in any number of ways.

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