Song Name: The Shadow

Artist: DEVO

Album: Total Devo

Year: 1988

Run Time: 3:25

Writing Credits: Gerald V. Casale / Mark Mothersbaugh

Sung By: Gerald V. Casale

Trivia / Info:[]

Songwriting and Lyrics:

  • "Reverend Jimmy and Tammy Belle" are not-so-subtle references to televangelist Jimmy Bakker and wife Tammy Faye, founders of Heritage USA. Mr. Bakker was currently facing indictment on numerous fraud charges when the album was released, and in 1989 he was found guilty and jailed.
  • The lyrics point out that all people have innate negative behavioral influences, not just people with publicized scandals.[2]
  • "'The Shadow' is kind of about everything and anybody." - Mark (1988).[3]
  • Other DEVO songs refer to the Jungian shadow self, including Peek-A-Boo!


  • Mark and Bob 2 said a layered combination of sounds became the sound like horns.[4]

Onstage Behavior:[]

This was never played live.


dr jekyll
and mr hyde
a real nice guy with a n-n-n-n-nasty side
in trouble
he tried to hide from himself
good gawd
sad man
couldn't face up to the yin and the yang
all of us got a shadow
who knows what lurks
in the hearts of men
the shadow
knows we become what we do
not what we pretend
between the intention
and the expression
between the emotion
and the response
falls the shadow
sometimes i fail to follow through
on things that i want to do
and other times i find myself
doing the very things i hate
reverend jimmy
and tammy belle
big time pumpers with a story to sell
wait a minute
their finger's pointin' at you
pay attention
listen up
don't try to deny it or cover it up
all of us got a shadow


  1. "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot. Shmoop [Text of the Poem]. (From

  2. Tommy Gear. “total DEVO”. Roland Users Group, v.6 #2. (1988).

    Jerry said, “Some people got the wrong idea about Devo, thinking it was negative or dangerous. That view is just really wrong!”
    ...The trouble may have come from our sense of humor and use of irony in trying to present a total picture.
    Mark Mothersbaugh agrees: “Holier-than-thou preaching about universal love or the spiritless messages about selfish desires in most songs conceals the truth about the real conflicts that keep the world turning.
    Exactly,” interjects Casale. “The truth is that all of us have a shadow – a big one.
    We have always tried to reveal, rather than conceal, these conflicts. That’s our reason for being...

  3. Tommy Gear. “total DEVO”. Roland Users Group, v.6 #2. (1988).

    "MM: 'The Shadow' is kind of about everything and anybody. It's about Jimmy Swaggart, it's about Ronald Reagan, it's about everybody because it talks about how there are two sides to each person. There's no reason to pretend you are only one thing, because people are also the things they don't want to be - sort of the Jekyll and Hyde in people."

  4. Tommy Gear. “total DEVO”. Roland Users Group, v.6 #2. (1988).

    "MM: That sound was layered with MIDI - I don't remember the name of all the patches..."

    "BC: ...that was created by combining a sample from one of the S-50s and the JX-8P with the guitar.
    On that we used the GP-8 rack mount Guitar Effect Processor, which produced a really radical sound on its own, but when we blended it with horn sounds it alludes to horns but really becomes somthing else."

    MM: "...They all went into the board and then we mixed it down to stereo."

External Links:[]

"The Shadow" (lyrics) -- Genius Lyrics

Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese
Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's Devo (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total Devo (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1978) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015) | Art Devo 1973-1977  (2023)
In The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution (1976) | The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
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