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The Emperor
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Based stylistically on world music fusion like 'You Can Call Me Al', this is a tribute to Joshua Norton.
Artist
Genre
Charts
Peak: #73   (126,676 songs currently in Pop)
Peak in sub-genre: #16   (23,614 songs currently in Pop Rock)
Upload date
November 07, 2007
Meta data
Bitrate: 128 kbps. Runtime: 3:29. File size: 3.20 MB.
Writer (words/music)
Z. Mulls/Ron Tintner
Copyright
2007
Story behind the song
This song is based on Joshua Norton -- I had wanted to write a lyric about him for some time, and I'm quite pleased with this one. Ron Tintner, the composer, understood exactly what the lyric needed and provided a Brazilian rhythm and a "world music" feel. You should look Joshua Norton up on Wikipedia and elsewhere, but listen to the song first :-) Norton is known as being the first (and only) Emperor of the United States. He declared himself so, and the citizens of San Francisco were so tickled by having the Emperor live in their city, they went along with him. It's a fascinating story -- when Norton died, there was a huge funeral procession through the city. His grave, provided for by the city, notes his title of Emperor. The song is based stylistically on "You Can Call Me Al" -- a loosely spoken/sung verse and a rousing chorus, with a lot of images flying by.
Lyrics
When grains of rice slip through your fingers Might as well be diamonds that you lose And when forty foolish years stare in the mirror There's noone to accuse You can feel the balm of sweet exile But no man lives forever in No Man's Land You must return to your dominion Come take matters firmly into hand Cause it's a matter of perspective You can stand on the corner Lost in impotent invective And harangue But by the grace of God You can be the Emperor of the whole shebang I educate the populace And issue my Imperial Decrees You'd think I'd crack under this burden But I have learned to roam the earth with ease When the oceans rise to reach the moon When the world goes mad and fortune takes her flight A man needs to fulfill his promise Stretch out his mighty hand and set things right Cause it's a matter of perspective You can stand on the corner Lost in impotent invective And harangue But by the grace of God You can be the Emperor of the whole shebang Search out the kings Of other lands Their hands with blood and treasure soiled I have shed no blood And robbed no man And no sovereign country have I despoiled The sun comes up in my empire And some shopkeepers know enough to bow Others disrepect my office But I can't take the time with them just now There are iniquities and imperfections As plentiful as fish who swim my bay You can let your life be vague and soft Or build your bridge across and seize the day Cause it's a matter of perspective You can stand on the corner Lost in impotent invective And harangue But by the grace of God You can be the Emperor of the whole shebang