Back in the old folky days
The air was magic when we played.
The riverboat was rockin'
in the rain
Midnight was the time
for the raid.

Oh, Isabela, proud Isabela,
They tore you down and
plowed you under.
You're only real
with your make-up on
How could I see you
and stay too long?

All along the Navajo Trail,
Burn-outs stub their toes
on garbage pails.
Waitresses are cryin'
in the rain
Will their boyfriends
pass this way again?

Oh, Mother Goose,
she's on the skids
Shoe ain't happy,
neither are the kids.
She needs someone
that she can scream at
And I'm such a heel
for makin' her feel so bad.

I guess I'll call it
sickness gone
It's hard to say
the meaning of this song.
An ambulance can only
go so fast
It's easy to get buried
in the past
When you try to make
a good thing last.

I saw today
in the entertainment section
There's room at the top
for private detection.
To Mom and Dad
this just doesn't matter,
But it's either that
or pay off the kidnapper.

So all you critics sit alone
You're no better than me
for what you've shown.
With your stomach pump and
your hook and ladder dreams
We could get together
for some scenes.

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes.
How can he remember
who he's talkin' to?
'Cause I know it ain't me,
and I hope it isn't you.

Well, I'm up in T.O.
keepin' jive alive,
And out on the corner
it's half past five.
But the subways are empty
And so are the cafes.

Except for the Farmer's Market
And I still can hear him say:
You're all just pissin'
in the wind
You don't know it but you are.

And there ain't nothin'
like a friend
Who can tell you
you're just pissin'
in the wind.

I never knew a man
could tell so many lies
He had a different story
for every set of eyes
How can he remember
who he's talking to?
Cause I know it ain't me,
and hope it isn't you.

Lyrics submitted by hourafterdark

Ambulance Blues song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentWhat an appropriate song to end "On The Beach." I think it deals with the inevitable process of aging and passing of a generation. His references to Toronto and Isabella refer to his earlier days, simple, and chaste, so to speak. The early '70's brought an end to the hippy era, and the Nixon administration was certainly not well-received.
    "An amublance can only go so fast."
    Certain things, like aging and the loss of innocence, can't even be saved by anything--the ambulance symbolizing means for salvation.
    Shakey_Oneon February 08, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is just about Neil reflecting on the end of the hippy era
    Cortez_08on December 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentapparently the "I never knew a man/could tell so many lies/He had a different story/for every set of eyes" lines are referring to Nixon. but as for the rest of it i have no clue either.
    Kornoon May 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe riverboat was rocking in the rain. This line is a reference to a club he played "back in the old folky days" wich was called the riverboat. Isabella was a street in toronto that was plowed up. T.O is ofcourse Toronto. But its really hard. As he says:
    I guess I'll call it
    sickness gone
    It's hard to say
    the meaning of this song
    powderfingeron March 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti have no idea what the hell this song is about. however i do greatly enjoy the lines "you're all just pissin in the wind/you don't know it but you are/and there ain't nothing like a friend/who can tell you you're just pissin in the wind" ain't that the truth
    5isa4letterwordon August 19, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis one is hard to figure out..
    melpomeneon May 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentapparently at the beginning he's singing about when he was playing clubs in Toronto. "back in the old folky days". and at that time he was staying in an apartment complex that was Isabella suites or something like that, and since he left its been torn down. he even says later on "Well, I'm up in T.O.
    keepin' jive alive".
    Kornoon September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand "you're all just pissin in the wind" is definitely said by the old man who's seen it all and knows that no matter how much they preach about pace it's never gonna change anything, at least that is the song in a nutshell for me
    Cortez_08on December 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think you nailed it Shakey One
    XxFreebirdxXon December 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read somewhere that the line "You're all just pissing in the wind" refers to the CSNY manager, talking about said band.
    wristmeetrazoron June 29, 2007   Link

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