12/07/2007

The Buoys - Timothy 1971


the buoys timothy cannibal song
The Buoys - Timothy - The Cannibal Song
God Why Don't I know

I played this song for about 50 people the past several days. I asked this simple question. What is this song about? Without the use of the Internet not one person knew. So, I pose the same challenge to you. Without the aid of Google to search the meaning, read the lyrics below and tell the Grassy Knoll Institute what the song is about. 

Sidenote: The following lyrics are the exact lyrics from the original single release. They have been altered and misunderstood many times over. Even the original recording was altered to change the meaning of the song along with the lyrics but the Institute has the original so there is no conspiracy going on here.


Timothy - Buoys - 1971

Trapped in a mine what had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left
Was Joe and me and Tim

When they broke through to pull us free
The only ones left to tell the tale
Was Joe and me

Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go
Timothy, Timothy, God why don't I know

Hungry as hell, no food to eat
And Joe said that he would sell his soul
For just... a piece... of meat
Water enough to drink for two
And Joe said to me, I'll take a swig
And then... there's some... for you

Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you
Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do

I must have blacked out just round then
Cause the very next thing that I could see
Was the light of the day again

My stomach was full as it could be
And nobody ever got around to finding... Timothy

Timothy, Timothy where on earth did you go
Timothy, Timothy god why don't I know

Timothyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Yeah
Timothy
Timothy



OK, before you read any further, add your answer in the comments section at the bottom of this page. OK, you can read on to find the meaning.

That's right kids! This song is about cannibalism. Trapped in a mine that caved in, three men survived. Two of the men apparently struck a deal to kill Timothy and eat him to survive. The Grassy Knoll Institute is not kidding. The song really is about cannibalism.

In 1971, Rupert Holmes, (Famous for his Pina Calada Song, Escape) formed a band in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. After a lengthy negotiation, Scepter Records caved in and allowed the band to record a single song. They were informed that the song would not be promoted and they were on their own with it.

Rupert and the band got together and decided to cut a record that would be so controversial that it would get banned. After all, if the record wasn't going to get promoted, they thought that perhaps if their song was banned, another record label would take notice and sign them to a real deal. And so Timothy was conceived and written.

The song got limited play time but soon the kids would call the radio stations and request the song to be played again and again. The station DJ finally listened to the record and realized the meaning of the lyrics and pulled the record from it's slotted airtime. But it was to late.

Timothy had become a hit and after several major radio stations began playing it, it quickly rose to a top 20 hit. The listeners were eating it up. (Pun intended) Unbelievable that a song about cannibalism had become so popular.

Today, parents are up in arms about suggestive lyrics in Britney Spears, Pink, and Beyonce songs plus the sometimes violent storytelling of some rap artists. To put this in perspective, not one of these artists songs tells the tale of three men trapped in a mine where two of them plot against the weaker, kill him, and eat him to survive celebrating cannibalism.

I'm hungry, who wants pizza?!




LURKING ON THE GRASSY KNOLL

52 comments:

  1. Send the men in the white suits and the big nets. And hurry!

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  2. Two original members, Bill Kelly & Jerry Hludzik are still making great music..as DAKOTA ,the story of these guys is on their website.. great music, but they always got screwed by the record labels. Check out their website ....www.dakotajerrykelly.com. They have a live 25th reunion concert on dvd & cd, that is awesome...includes "Timothy"...IF YOU WANT TO HEAR REAL MUSIC AND TALENT, CHECK THEM OUT...YOU WILL BE HOOKED.

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  3. The song never said Tim was a "man", so you immediately assumed the wrong thing. Tim was a MULE. Eating a mule is NOT cannibalism. Rupert Holmes himself and Jerry Kelly have both stated that it really was about a mule.

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  4. Tom, you are dead wrong. Holmes stated in an interview that he wrote the song for sensationalism, to get the buzz the band needed.
    He stated that it was about cannibalism.

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  5. Bill is my neighbor. Awesome singer and great musician. WoW what a voice

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  6. Just don't accept dinner invitations from him....

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  7. TEAM DAKOTA / FLORIDA11/03/2008 5:57 AM

    New C.D'S will be coming out at years end. Dakota's greatest hits vol's 1 & 2 plus The Buoys anthology...also a Brand new Dakota and Jerry Hludzik's solo album.. all at the same time.....for all AOR music fans..these are the ones for you...don't hesitate to get for your collection...You will never be disappointed with this group...Guaranteed you will be singing along with their catchy lyrics and melodies from the very first listen !!!

    One of the great bands that most never heard of...shame on the record companies that failed to promote these talented musicians and songwriters

    Check out their website and read all about their journey and the struggles they encountered along the way @....www.dakotajerrykelly.com

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  8. I bet your #1 song title is SPAM!

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  9. Seymour Czowznofskei11/09/2008 5:49 PM

    The difference in music is that it once upon a time conveyed "emotions." You know, emotional responses, such as love, lust, excitment, envy, sentimentality, longing, suspense, warmth, cold, attention, forboding, attraction, etc. One could feel the responses without understanding the words, and often, with only instrumental music. Today, much of that is gone; Aurel communication now has to be enhanced with video display. So many radio listeners are not really listening to the point of paying attention, unless it's outrage, shock or 'yahoos' of the left or right doing what loosely passes for 'talk.' It was better when listeners actually listened!

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  10. I'm sorry, I wasn't listening, I was watching the new Britney Spears comeback video.

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  11. The Buoys played my college around '71. Bill Kelly offstage said Timothy was a mule, but reading this article also makes sense - maybe the mule was a cover story. The lyrics sound like cannibalism to me.

    I loved to play it on the college station - the rhythm and instrumentation were GREAT, lyrics notwithstanding.

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  12. Timothy, quite simply put, is about cannibalism. I too have heard the story that Timothy was a mule but the song's composer, Rupert Holmes, denies that. He has stated in the past he wanted to write a song which would be banned as that would give it publicity it would not have received otherwise. When Timothy started climbing the charts, the record label tried to avert controversy by dismissing Timothy as a mule or donkey. Holmes never went along with this claim so I can only deduce it is exactly what people think it is. Now, having reached that conclusion, my question is, why Timothy? Sounds like he was the unfortunate victim of two others who were stronger and maybe a little faster than him.

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  13. Perhaps he was already dead from the cave in. Or mortally wounded.

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  14. wow, i've known this song all my life but had no idea rupert holmes was part of the band!

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  15. I remember calling AM kiix in Tucson and the local pop station refusing to play this song!

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  16. Yeah, around here in Youngstown, Ohio, the stations played it until the news circulated the theme of the song.

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  17. I remember this song frighteningly well from my youth!
    It never struck
    us that wierd that the song was about cannibalism in the
    same era and genre as songs like "ben" about a killer rat, also poular around that time.
    Wierd enuff!

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  18. And kids today think Marilyn Manson is hardcore.... :D

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  19. Hell,all the best music was from that era, bubble gum ,acid rock
    and the buoys, new it then, and we love the look our parents gave us when we played it. what a great time to be young, thanks bouys.

    rick

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  20. Agreed, the music back then was fantastic. Although my parents said the same thing. The music back then was better.
    :D

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  21. Holmes did not form The Buoys in 1971, as you state. The Buoys had been together for many years and had even recorded a few local hits in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. area, in the late 1960s. (In fact, they recorded "Timothy" in 1969 or 1970, not 1971, but it wasn't released nationally until 1971.)

    I'm a Wilkes-Barre native and saw The Buoys perform live many times before and after they recorded Timothy, and Ruppert Holmes was never a member of the band.

    Holmes wrote Timothy, as you say, to see whether he could get a song about cannibalism on the radio, and he hand-selected The Buoys to record the song. The song was inspired by the Sheppton, Pa., mine disaster of 1963, although none of the rescued miners was ever accused of eating any of their dead comrades.

    The song climbed the charts very slowly, although it became an instant hit in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Once people started to realize what the song was about, it began to draw national interest ... and to sell. An embarrassed Scepter Records -- who put out the song without realizing what it was about -- scrambled to deny that it was about cannibalism and invented the story about Timothy being a mule. Holmes was forced to flog that story (he was a young, unproven songwriter in those days and couldn't afford to piss off the record company), but he later recanted and admitted that "Joe and me" ate "Tim" -- a fellow miner.

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  22. I think Holmes discovered the Buoys and Timothy was their only hit single. They were a one hit wonder. the only information i found on the Buoys had them forming in 1970, and Timothy aired in 1971. The rest of your information has been stated on many "Wiki" and blogs on the net. I'm not disputing your info, just questioning it.

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  23. The Buoys formed in the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., area around 1964 (http://www.dakotajerrykelly.com/buoyslinks.htm).

    I used to see them at local dances in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., as a sophomore and junior in high school, circa 1967 and 1968. By the way, the story on the above link contains a few errors about who played what in the band: Chris Hanlon was the drummer, not Carl Siracuse. Carl played guitar, keyboards and bass, as did Fran Brozena. Bill Kelly sang lead and played lead guitar.

    Holmes "discovered" the Buoys in that he produced their 45s and album for Scepter Records and gave them their first four singles: "These Days" (a regional hit), "Timothy," "Give Up Your Guns" (another regional hit and, interestingly, a big hit in Europe, but one that didn't do well nationally in the States) and "Bloodknot," which never charted nationally.

    Holmes produced all four singles, as well as The Buoys' only LP for Scepter, released in March 1971. Scepter folded in 1972, and The Buoys then signed a deal with Polydor and recorded an album of all Buoys originals -- including singles called "Don't Try to Run" and "Liza's Last Ride" -- which did nothing nationally. (I saw them perform these singles in 1972.)

    Polydor never released the album, and it remained unreleased for almost 30 years, until "Collectibles" Records released the "Timothy" CD, which included all songs from the Scepter and Polydor albums, plus "These Days," which was not on the original Scepter album.

    The band's lead singer (Bill Kelly) and bass player (Jerry Hludzik) -- who wrote most of The Buoys' original songs -- left the band in the mid- to late-70s to form a band called Jerry Kelly, which recorded one LP on Epic Records, I think. (I have it at home, not here at work.) That band then morphed into Dakota, which recorded several LPs for Columbia in the '80s produced by Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine.

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  24. I am 62 years old and I bought the album back in the day and the cover photo was of two guys and a donkey. That pretty much settled it for me...Timothy was a donkey.

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  25. Here's the cover of the LP:

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51R8REX9T1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

    No donkey in sight.

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  26. You sir know your Buoys. Your knowledge of the local phenomenon is impressive. Very impressive.

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  27. I do not recall an album cover like that. I thought th album had the band members in front of a building or something like that.

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  28. When we were kids and the song came on, our friends told us that Timothy was a mule that they had taken into the mine with them - not a man.

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  29. Yes, that was the propaganda the record label put out to save face. Alas, the genie was already out of the bottle.

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  30. So Joe and me were sitting around eating Timothy the clown, Joe turned to me and asked "Does this taste funny to you?"

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  31. And you said, Nah, just needs salt.

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  32. Timothy WAS a mule!

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  33. After the fact. Before, when the song originally came out, it was about cannibalism. Only after the secret was revealed that the story switched to a mule.

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  34. Wow! No responses since 2007. I'm a 50-yr-old who loves this song. I checked in just to "remember" the lyrics, (and I picked a site at the bottom of the search page), and I'm happy I did. What a great story, huh? If only to imagine yourself in a similar situation (the colleague who is injured beyond repair), whaddya do? Read the wikipedia page, it's good. Then go listen to the Pina Colada Song.

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  35. Tough call. I know most would say they would never do that, however, in dire needs, instincts kick in.

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  36. The song actually came out in the late 68-69 period! The earlier comment was wright about cannibalism> Everyone thinks a miner was eaten to survive how ever Timothy was actually a donkey! I watched this band at Tucker Road Center Oxen Hill Md. many times. Great band! They were Pa. based band and many other songs were very Crosby Stills and Nash sounding. Cheers! 71 Grad.

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  37. I don't think so Anon. Holmes discovered the buoys and penned the song in 71 and it was pressed and released to the radio airwaves. Not in 68, or 69, nor in 70, but in 71.
    And the song is about cannibalism.
    Do a google search.

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  38. 57 year old guy who was riding his bike and this song popped into my head. Remember it well played on WMMR (or was it YSP?) back in the 70s. Remembered it was about cannibalism, and how that wasn't really too strange for the time.... There was a lot of weirdness back then.... Had to go search the interwebs to see if my memory was correct and came upon this site. Thought it was a sequel to the BeeGee's NY State mining disaster song.

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  39. Good call on the Bee' Gee's tune. And yes, Marilyn Manson has nothing on the 70's rockers.

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  40. Yes, the song is about eating their fellow miner, Timothy. The mule was a cover story after the fact. Just today I updated chart position info on the Wikipedia site.

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  41. Oh yeah, I DO remember this song when I was 15 and lived in Va Beach. They used to play it on the radio- and maybe, can't remember I could have had a 45 of it. Someone my age introduced the song to me, and just said..."they ate this guy." I liked the beat at that time, but I could NOT believe someone wrote a song about 2 men eating another guy, getting away with it, and oh well...he was dead, and so what? So i just kept playing it over and over again trying to make sure I really understood all the lyrics. I had them all right- as I see posted above. I knew after that it was exactly what the song was about; an undeniable, extreme inference. Then everytime I heard it, the hair on my arms used to raise. It was very creepy, but strangely alluring in some way. As if that wasn't creepy enough, I think I used to still listen to it very occasionally when I was very angry, or feeling rebellious. And those were quite rebellious days for me- and angry ones. If I did have a 45, which I think I did, I finally got rid of it, because I thought it was creepy of me to listen to it & ever think it was ok, or be able to relate in any way, at anytime. Ridiculously, I also played it for and explained it to my 12 year old brother!!!! We would listen to it together sometimes, discussing it, but were both weirded out by it. Every once in a while- great once in a while, I think of it- like today. And I still get creeped out. But then, I never liked cartoons as a kid in the 60's. I mean I NEVER watched cartoons, because I thought they were so "mean,": & violent. I never thought it was funny to see someone's neck stretched till their head popped off, or being thrown off the moon to land splatted flat on the earh- whether it was a person, a bird or a ladybug. Those were kind of mind- boggling times I think, when society and people in general were kind of trying to define their own personal boundaries for what was acceptable even in "fun, " and what was not. I wasn't much "fun" then, but I sure thought alot about that kind of thing, and still do.

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  42. Just be glad that the song doesn't make you hungry. :D

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  43. LOL!! There IS humor in that statement! No-I MUST be OK after all. Never thought about EATING ANYTHING whatsoever while listening to "Timothy!"
    I don't believe this "bull" about a "mule" one bit. If a 15 yr old in utter disbelief could figure it out by distinctly listening to the lyrics to prove that they WEREN'T talking about cannibilism, and definetly concluded that they WERE....... well, no one will EVER convince me they were'nt.
    Lots of songs I loved back then- heard there were "deeper meanings," usually drug related, but since I wasn't a big druggie- I never really knew. Like Hey Jude? Get her under or into your skin?...... Is that really about shooting heroin, or someone's wild imagination? And White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.... still love that one & still play it......Does sound like an acid trip. But then, some people have said for years that Puff the Magic Dragon is about an acid trip. Geeze- I just thought it was a very imaginative kids song! I still say that was the BEST music. The Zombies- "She's Not There." Anybody know what that's really about? I still listen to it every now & then & don't get the whole scenerio there in that song. Gonna refer little brother Larry to this site. He WILL remember "Timothy!"

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  44. Hey Jude - McCartney declared the song was written about John Lennon's son, Julian.

    White Rabbit - Just remember what the door mouse said....

    Puff The Magic Dragon - It was written as a children's song.

    She's Not There - Some believe it was about a mentally challenged woman, although alive, she could not communicate with the world. However, I believe the song was about Marilyn Monroe and the messy relationship she had with the president and also Bobby Kennedy.

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  45. you guys are all sick no one would ever eat a fellow human being I heard that timothy was a lucky stuffed animal guess it wasn't so lucky after all

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  46. You would be amazed at what lengths a human would go to survive.

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  47. Well, Carlos, you must have asked a class of 50 1st graders. There was NO internet and NO Google in 1971 when I was 15, and my brother was 12. We listened to it over and over again to make sure we UNDERSTOOD every word, and me thinks we did dude.

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  48. Correct. In 1971 the Internet was merely a twinkle in Al Gore's eye.

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  49. "According to his own account Holmes and a colleague had discovered the Buoys and convinced Scepter Records to sign them to a one-single contract. Since the deal did not call for the label to promote the single, the band would have to find some other way to get themselves and their song noticed. Holmes suggested a novel solution to this problem: to purposefully record a song likely to be banned." Wik. It's about making money gang....

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  50. Donnor Pass was about more than low supplies, many stories survive especially from the early sailing days about having to consume the dead or dying to live. The stranded team only ate one person, someones dead mom. It's not like it's running rampant among the peasants ya know!

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  51. Listened to it all the time on CKLW. I knew, even back then, that it was about cannabalism, but just didn't want to go there. Was a catchy tune, so I bought it on 45. Yeah, I'm with some of the rest of you. Nobody believes me, or wants to remember the song. (or is it just CRS kicking in???) ;)

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  52. At first I did not, until my older brother clued me in.

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Entertain Me With Your Wealth Of worthless Knowledge