“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic

Song of the Week

May 27, 2018

Written by Steve Winwood & Jim Capaldi
Produced by Steve Winwood
Recorded at Island Studios, London, September 1971
Released on the album The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys in November 1971

The title of Traffic‘s 1971 album and it’s eleven-plus-minute title track comes from a movie that was never filmed, involving actor Michael J. Pollard and Traffic’s percussionist Jim Capaldi. While the lyrics seem to suggest that this is a shot at the music industry in general, Capaldi has stated it has a simpler meaning based on rebelliousness.


Musically, the song is notable for its methodical rhythms, Steve Winwood‘s dynamic vocals, and the extended leads on saxophone and piano. This anthem draws deep influence from the Miles Davis’s classic Bitches Brew, which was released just prior to this song’s production.

Listen to “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”:

Song Lyrics

If you see something that looks like a star
And it’s shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can’t escape from the sound
Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys

And the thing that you’re hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys
The percentage you’re paying is too high a price
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest was
The low spark of high-heeled boys

If you had just a minute to breathe and they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance?
Or something similar as this? Don’t worry too much
It’ll happen to you as sure as your sorrows are joys

And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys
If I gave you everything that I owned and asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you?
Or take me for a ride, and strip me of everything including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys
And the sound that I’m hearing is only the sound
The low spark of high-heeled boys

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