(words and music by Rick Springfield) 

Step inside the tent ladies and gentlemen
To see the freak they call Jacko the dog face man
He walks like a man
He talks like a man
Yet he was born with the face of a dog
An actual freak of nature

Bright Lights
Blind me
And I'm whizzing by the people
Pushing, rushing
To the organ grinder's music
And my eyes are running
And my legs are aching
And there's people winning
And the carnival's spinning

Merry - go round
Go round And they make me dizzy
People - shouting
As they shoot and win an ashtray

And my head is ringing
And my ears are flitting
And my hair is thinning
And the carnival's spinning

After the people have gone
I walk along down sideshow ally
And from a tent I hear some crying
The sound of someone in pain

And written brightly on the canvas and woodwork
So that everybody would see
Was the question they pose to the public
"When is a man not a man
When he's a freak in a sideshow"

But we all got to cry
Yes, we all got to cry
And we all got to cry

Bright lights
Blind me
And I'm questioned by the people
Pushing - rushing
To the organ grinder's music

And my eyes are running
And my legs are achy
And there's people crying
And the carnival's dying

(total playing time 5:03)

Song Facts: This can be found on Zoot Out,  and Zoot Locker.


 According to US

What a strange song this is, but I like it anyway! I especially like the fast pace of the guitars when they're in rhythm in between the verses. I like the mix of the fast pace and then how it suddenly slows down during other parts. I think Daryl sounded good on this song as well. The music has kind of a dizzy carnival sound to it. I think it's a very appropriate sound for the lyrics. 

The distant-type voices (like someone coming over an intercom to make an announcement) that start out the song before the music begins, are talking about a circus freak named "Jacko the dog-faced man." In fact, most of the lyrics seem to revolve around a man in the circus who is seen as "a freak in a sideshow." I really don't think Rick was writing about an actual circus or carnival though. I think it's an analogy about a man who feels like an outcast. Now I might be wrong. Maybe Rick had been to a circus and felt compassion for the man who was the circus `freak.' Maybe he felt like he was kind of in the same position as the `freak,` with all eyes on him. I can see how the lyrics could relate to stardom and the insecurities one might feel within themselves as they are constantly in the spotlight. People who are celebrities are generally under a lot of scrutiny and public back lashing by those who are watching them ever-so-closely---watching every move, every mistake, every physical difference. And from what I've heard from Rick about his early days on stage, he felt very strange up there and would turn his back to the crowd. Maybe he felt that he looked like a 'freak' in a sideshow. I'm only guessing that's what this song may have stemmed from. 

I also think that many of the lyrics relate to what growing popularity and the grind of stardom might feel like. This verse really confirms that idea in my mind: "Bright lights-- Blind me. And I'm questioned by the people." (Stardom? Everyone wanting a `piece' of him? Interviews? Questions about himself?) "Pushing - rushing--To the organ grinder's music." (This could be the hectic nature of showbiz…everything happening all at once, all of a sudden). I think the line that says "and the carnival's spinning" would really relate to the fact that when success and stardom finally come, it's often an unexpected whirlwind. It can sneak up out of nowhere, and then suddenly…your whole world is `spinning' out of control. Maybe not `out of control' so much, but just a lot to deal with at once. 

I like this verse also: "After the people have gone (the crowd from the show?) ---I walk along down sideshow ally. And from a tent I hear some crying---The sound of someone in pain." I wonder if this is about those inner voices he may have been hearing. I don't know that he really means actual `pain,' but rather the `prices' one pays for their popularity. It sounds like he's talking about someone else, but I really think it was HIM he was referring to. 

I've always believed that being `swept up' into the public eye would really feel like being on a carnival ride. It becomes a vicious cycle, and it might have a dizzying affect on a person. "Merry - go round. Go round---and they make me dizzy. People - shouting. As they shoot and win an ashtray." This could be about the people in his life who were profiting from Zoot's success at that time. 

Despite the confusing lyrics…I think this is a pretty cool song. I'd love to be able to ask Rick someday about the meaning behind this one. Although, I don't know that I would. He says he HATES when fans ask him what the lyrics mean! LOL So I guess I'll just have to wonder what this one's all about, and go with what I believe he was trying to say here.  - Kelley Pearson