I Started A Joke (1968)

By the Bee Gees

Lyrics

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying,But I didnt see that the joke was on me, oh no. I started to cry, which started the whole world laughing. Oh, if Id only seen that the joke was on me. I looked at the skies, running my hands over my eyes. And I fell out of bed, hurting my head from things that Id said.Til I finally died, which started the whole world living. Oh, if Id only seen that the joke was on me. I looked at the skies, running my hands over my eyes. And I fell out of bed, hurting my head from things that Id said. Til I finally died, which started the whole world living. Oh, if Id only seen that the joke was on me.
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Analysis

This song is about someone who has done or said something horribly wrong, which resulted in alienating everyone around him. Its a great example of lyrical songwriting, and very much a love-it-or-hate-it song. With the opening line, "I started a joke, which started the whole world crying," followed with "I started to cry, which set the whole world laughing," the song can be heard as achingly poignant or overly sentimental, depending on your mindset. This song is one of those living things whose meaning vary according to its listeners. It heavily depends on the listeners life experiences, which is great for the emotional value a song, for its something anyone can relate to, one way or another. For me, its about unrequited love. The joke the narrator speaks of, its the naive illusions from the start, which grow into something sad and unwanted. After the rejection, the loved one and everybody else goes on with their lives without giving the matter any more attention, while the narrator remains heartbroken.
The Bee Gees- 'I Started a Joke'