Origin of Love

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Screen capture from the film version.

Origin of Love is a progressive rock song from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 1998. The lyrics of the song are based on a story from Plato's Symposium which describes humans originally existing as two people conjoined at the back, however, the gods became angry and afraid of them, so they cut the humans into two separate individuals. This caused the origin of love, the act of two people trying to push themselves back together into a single person.

The lyrics and music were composed by Stephen Trask. The song is track 2 on the film soundtrack recording, and vocals are by John Cameron Mitchell, backup vocals by Trask and Miriam Shor, lead guitar was played by Bob Mould, rhythm guitar by Trask, keyboards by Trask, bass by Ted Liscinski, and drums by Perry James.


I first heard this song when I watched the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with my friend Sarah in the early-2000s. I especially enjoyed this song and its fantastic visuals in the film. The song became my favorite from the musical and one of my favorite songs from musicals in general. In particular, I love how the song has a very mellow, matter-of-fact beginning, even though it describes all these fantastical elements. My favorite part is the break after the third verse which erupts into hard rock and becomes highly emotional. The final verse is full of sorrow, but also the hope that people can reconnect with those who understand and love them.


When the earth was still flat
And clouds made of fire
And mountains stretched up to the sky
Sometimes higher
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs
They had two sets of arms
They had two sets of legs
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked while they read
And they never knew nothing of love
It was before, oh
The origin of love (origin of love)
The origin of love (origin of love)

Now there was three sexes then
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back
They called the children of the sun
And similar in shape and girth
Was the children of the earth
They looked like
Two girls rolled up in one
And the children of the moon
Was like a fork shoved on a spoon
They was part sun, part earth
Part daughter, part son

Ah-ah, the origin of love

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all with my hammer,
Like I killed the giants."
But Zeus said, "No-
You better let me
Use my lightning like scissors
Like I cut the legs off the whales
Dinosaurs into lizards"
And then he grabbed up some bolts
He let out a laugh
Said, "I'll split them right down the middle
Gonna cut 'em right up in half"
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades of a knife
And it ripped right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun and the moon and the earth
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane
To scatter us away
In a flood of wind and rain
A sea of tidal waves
To wash us all away
And if we don't behave
They'll cut us down again
And we'll be hopping around on one foot
And looking through one eye

Last time I saw you
We'd just split in two
You were looking at me
I was looking at you
You had a way so familiar
I could not recognize
'Cause you had blood on your face
I had blood in my eyes
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine
That's the pain
That cuts a straight line down through the heart
We call it love
We wrapped our arms 'round each other
Tried to shove ourselves back together
We was makin' love
Makin' love
It was a cold, dark evening
Such a long time ago
When by the mighty hand of Jove
It was a sad story how we became
Lonely two-legged creatures
The story, the origin of love
That's the origin of love (oh, yeah)

The origin of love
The origin of love (ah-ha)
The origin of love


Fan Art


Film version.
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack version.
Original off-Broadway version.
Live, 1999-01-15.
Neil Patrick Harris version.
Live, not in character, 2003-10-21.