Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Flood, Don't Let's Start (EP) [Elektra 7" Re-issue], Flood + Apollo 18
year 1990
first played February 22, 1989 (61 known performances)
run time 1:36
sung by John Flansburgh; John Linnell sings very prominent harmony


  • The title of this song comes from the 24-second instrumental track "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love" by Mahavishnu Orchestra, from their 1973 album Birds of Fire. TMBG's song could be referencing Mahavishnu Orchestra bandleader John McLaughlin with the lyric "John, I've been bad," though it may also be self-referential.
  • From a 2009 Rolling Stone interview:
    • Flansburgh: "This was a track we reworked for Flood. The sounds are very cool, but it's quite a production. We also used to do this song as a duo, and that version had a nice simplicity to it."
    • Linnell: "I thought it would be good to expand on the [identical] title of a very short instrumental Mahavishnu Orchestra album cut from the '70s. 'Bullets of love' is a funnily dissonant idea. That was a few years before the Sex Pistols arrived."
  • TMBG's fake TMBG cover band, Sapphire Bullets, take their name from this song.
  • In live performances, John and John have been known to sing "Here come the bullets of pure love" at the end.
  • In 2020, TMBG debuted a new version of this song called "Stillub", which is the entire original song sung and played backwards.

Song Themes

Love, Precious Metal, References To Other Songs Or Musicians, Self-Reference, Title Not In Lyrics, Weapons


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Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love is currently ranked #371 out of 1005. (134 wikians have given it an average rating of 8.46)