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5:15 AM Lyrics

Artist: Mark Knopfler
Album: Shangri-La

5.15 a.m.
snow laying all around
a collier cycles home
from his night shift underground
past the silent pub
primary school, workingmens club
on the road from the pithead
the churchyard packed
with mining dead

then beneath the bridge
he comes to a giant car
a shroud of snow upon the roof
a mark ten jaguar
he thought the man was fast asleep
silent, still and deep
both dead and cold
shot through
with bullet holes

the one armed bandit man
came north to fill his boots
came up from cockneyland
e-type jags and flashy suits
put your money in
pull the levers
watch them spin
cash cows in all the pubs
but he preferred the new nightclubs

nineteen sixty-seven
bandit men in birdcage heaven
la dolce vita, sixty-nine
all new to people of the tyne

who knows who did what
somebody made a call
they said his hands
were in the pot
that he€™d been skimming hauls
he picks up the swag
they gaily gave away
drives his giant jag
off to his big pay day

the bandit man
came north to fill his boots
came up from cockneyland
e-type jags and flashy suits
the bandit man
came up the great north road
up to geordieland
to mine
the mother lode

seams blew up or cracked
black diamonds came hard won
generations toiled and hacked
for a pittance and black lung
crushed by tub or stone
and alone
how the young and old
paid the price of coal

eighteen sixty-seven
my angel€™s gone to heaven
he€™ll be happy there
sunlight and sweet clean air

they gather round the glass
tough hewers and crutters
child trappers and putters
the little foals and half-marrows
who pushed
and pulled the barrows
the hod boys
and the rolleywaymen
5.15 a.m.


by Blyth on 5/27/2008 9:38am
One of the all time best songs ever!
by Dan on 2/1/2009 11:30am
"a collier cycles home"

Ah, not the right lyrics.

How about:"a college psyche goes home." As in a college psychology student.
by Kristin on 2/14/2009 9:48pm
Actually, it is 'a collier cycles home"...A collier is a person who digs coal. That's what the song is about, a comparison between the flashy rich guy who gets murdered and dies alone in his nice car, and the regular working men, who may not have nice things or even a car, but have their lives and their friendships with each other.
by Peter on 3/23/2009 2:05pm
one of the best ever!!! i would say!!!
by Ray on 11/21/2009 1:34pm
A truly great song that really brings back memories of the 60s when E-type and Mk10 Jags were huge status symbols and "bandit men" in flashy suits actually did prey on the working men.
One of the most poignant and atmospheric songs I have ever heard. I almost feel the snow crunching underfoot and see the one arm bandit numbers spinning.
by Gary W. Longsine on 8/10/2010 9:53pm
This is a perfect song. Just in case you were seeking an example.
by Stan on 8/13/2010 12:23pm
I'd just like to agree with the other posters - on my Best Song Ever list. Always gives me goose bumps when it comes up on "shuffle" mode. To top it off, Knopfler's guitar sound is TO DIE FOR; the whole album is one of the best engineering jobs ever.
by Dan is Dumb on 11/14/2010 9:23am
"A college psyche goes home?"

Did you even read the liner notes with the CD, dumb bastard?
by linus on 8/23/2014 8:38pm
The one armed bandit is a slot machine with one lever. Bandit because it typically left the player penniless. The one armed bandit man is the guy who installed these machines in the working man pubs and clubs. Clearly his hand was in the till and he paid the ultimate price. Beautiful song.
by Dayvem on 10/27/2014 5:32pm
Angus Sibbet.
by Dayvem on 12/10/2014 6:26pm
At 5.15 a.m. on a cold morning in
January 1967, Durham coal miner Tom
Leak was cycling home from his night shift at the local pit.
In South Hetton, just past Pesspool
Bridge, he noticed a Mark X Jaguar
saloon car, poorly parked, about
fourteen inches from the kerb, and also damaged. Snow covered the back
window, bonnet and much of the top.
He cupped his hands and peered into
the car through the near-side passenger window. A man was lying across the back seat.
Leak opened the door, said loudly,
'Hey, mate, you can't park there,' and shook his left leg. As he did so, Leak realised that the man was dead. He hailed three passing colleagues, also going home, and they called the police.
A local GP, Dr John Hunter, was then summoned, though the police advised him not to touch the body. It was clear that the man, who had been shot three times, was a murder victim.
by Onoto Mandarin on 7/24/2015 4:36pm
This is just one of many great songs he's written and recorded. Whenever I hear Mark Knopfler I always think of home.
He is the voice of Northumberland
by Andy on 7/18/2016 9:29pm
"He picks up the swag they Gaily gave away"... I think it's probably "the ceilidh gave away". As in a Scottish community party. What say you all?

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