"Five Hundred Miles" as written by and Hedy West....
If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles

Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two, Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four
Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home
Five hundred miles, five hundred miles, five hundred miles, five hundred miles
Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home

Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name
Lord I can't go home this away
This way, this way, this way, this way
Lord I can't go home this away

If you miss the train I'm on you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles


Lyrics submitted by pieligero

Five Hundred Miles song meanings
Add your thoughts

4 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is done in the style of many old negro spirituals, many of which had a double meaning in aiding the escape of slaves. This one sounds more like a marching tune for escaped slaves to be singing on the road, though, since the meaning would be difficult to mistake. (My interpretations are in parentheses.)

    If you miss the train I'm on (the Underground Railroad),
    you will know that I am gone (I've run away from Master)
    You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles (That's how far the local slave-catchers will chase me)

    ...

    Lord I'm one, Lord I'm two, Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four,
    Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home (That's roughly how far it is to the Free States/Canada)

    ...

    Not a shirt on my back, not a penny to my name (This is a grueling journey)
    Lord, I can't go home this-a-way (because if I do, Master will beat me to death)
    Inyarearon September 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is about death.
    if u miss the train im on, u will know 'im gone'' (meaning the spirit leaving the body)
    lord im 500 miles away from home (afterlife)
    etc etc.... :)
    rachel5887on January 01, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationShe has asked him to leave with her to start a new life/run away. If he hears the train whistle she has gone on without him and he will have missed his chance to be with her forever. She's not waiting for him forever.
    angelica11on October 10, 2017   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about the unemployed men who stowed away in train box cars during the Great Depression, seeking to spare their families the burden of feeding them, and hoping to find work in another town. The singer has no money to call or write to his family, to let them know where he is. He says that if they did not actually see him get on the train, they will realize that he must have done so when they notice that he is missing and hear the train's whistle. Later in the song, he laments that he is ashamed to return home because he has not found work and has no money to bring back to his family.
    interpreter2on October 19, 2017   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain