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What does this phrase in the song Wow - Kate Bush mean?

We're all alone on the stage tonight.
We've been told we're not afraid of you.
We know all our lines so well, uh-huh.
We've said them so many times:
Time and time again,
Line and line again.

Ooh, yeah, you're amazing!
We think you're incredible.
You say we're fantastic,
But still we don't head the bill.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Unbelievable!

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    Note that "head the bill" and "foot the bill" have nothing to do with each other. To "foot the bill" is to pay the whole cost of a large purchase. Jul 3, 2014 at 14:53

2 Answers 2

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It's usually top the bill (bill = billing = billboard = a flat surface or board, usually outdoors, on which large advertisements or notices are posted.

To top the billing literally means to be listed at the top of the advertising posters (as the most important of several attractions), but it can be used figuratively. Note that in some contexts (bands at a concert, actors in a movie, etc.) the alternative sequence order of appearance may used instead of importance. Rarely, you may come across head the bill (but not, I think, top the bill) to mean be listed first in the promotional material because you're the first act to go on stage.

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  • I've seen "headline artist/etc" or "headliner" to refer to the most important performer more often than anything with top in it. Is top more commonly used in the UK? Jul 3, 2014 at 15:27
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    And tonight Mr Kite is topping the bill @DanNeely.
    – TRiG
    Jul 3, 2014 at 15:48
  • @TRiG: Ah, right! I forgot that one! :) But perhaps I might regret that smiley in a few hours if the earworm is still with me. Jul 3, 2014 at 15:53
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    @Ollie: Sure. But as this Googlefight shows, you're much more likely today to be headlining than top of the bill. Here's another supporting chart. Jul 3, 2014 at 16:47
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    This must be regional or something. I've often hear "head the bill", but almost never "top the bill". Jul 3, 2014 at 20:42
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If you don't head the bill you are not the featured performer ( in a promotion sense)!

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