"Books are Burning" is a song by Andy Partridge. It appeared on the 1992 album Nonsuch.

A live version, from BBC TV's The Late Show, appeared on the 2002 Coat of Many Cupboards box set.

The demo appeared on Andy's Fuzzy Warbles Volume 7 in 2006.


Andy: “I'm intensely proud of this song. I love books, they're sacred objects, and anyone who destroys them is scum. Usually it's frightened regimes, their way of saying we're in control. But what they stand for doesn't have a hope in hell. To destroy thoughts, dreams, and an attempt to communicate is a crime.”

Andy (on the demo): “Only the second song that I recorded on my brand new ADAT machine (the first by the way was ‘Always Winter Never Christmas’). Stumbled over the music while dicking about with learning the Beach Boy's ‘I Get Around’. I just loved the change from G to an E7 with an A flat bass. Thanks Bri. So here it is, a plea for complete freedom in print. Perhaps it should have been titled ‘I Dick Around’.”


Books are burning

In the main square, and I saw there

The fire eating the text

Books are burning

In the still air

And you know where they burn books

People are next

I believe the printed word should be forgiven

Doesn't matter what it said

Wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living

Key to the larder for your heart and your head

Books are burning

In our own town, watch us turn 'round

And cast our glances elsewhere

Books are burning

In the playground

Smell of burnt book is not unlike human hair

I believe the printed word is more than sacred

Beyond the gauge of good or bad

The human right to let your soul fly free and naked

Above the violence of the fearful and sad

The church of matches

Anoints in ignorance with gasoline

The church of matches

Grows fat by breathing in the smoke of dreams

It's quite obscene

Books are burning

More each day now, and I pray now

You boys will tire of these games

Books are burning

I hope somehow, this will allow

A phoenix up from the flames

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