"Silent Running" as written by and Michael/robertson Rutherford....
Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I'm with the high command

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

There's a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should pray to God
The Father and the Spirit
Will guide you and protect from up here

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Swear allegiance to the flag
Whatever flag they offer
Never hint at what you really feel
Teach the children quietly
For some day sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stood still

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Can you hear me running (can you hear me calling you?)
(Can you hear me) hear me calling you?
(Can you hear me running) hear me running babe?
(Can you hear me running) hear me running?
Calling you, calling you


Lyrics submitted by IronHalo

"Silent Running" as written by Michael/robertson Rutherford

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, IMAGEM U.S. LLC

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Silent Running song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think its like a pre-apocalypse type thing, when war is just breaking out. The narrator is someone high ranking in the army, warning friends perhaps, that fighting is coming and to hide out in the cellar, under ground. "Protect you from up here" refers to the surface, where the fighting and danger is, which is reinforced by the fact that there's a gun over the doorway, but they can only use it in an emergency (perhaps there is an anti-gun law?). The lines about praying are to enhance the fact that they're helpless and there's nothing else than can do. Pledge to the flag they tell you to, so that you will not be singled out as a traitor. This is about a time when people have absolutely no freedom. Probably about a resistance against a totalitarian government.
    flamingxroseson January 30, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFirst of all, this is to me one of the most evocative rock songs, musically. Great vocal, great melody, great minor key chorus. There is something very profound about it.

    The images the lyrics create are of a futuristic wartime in which the only good actors are NOT of church or state, but are of a secret, truly spiritual, and noble underground (The High Command). I can't know what the composer was thinking, but the words are to me (thankfully) intentionally too general to be applied to a particular war, in a particular country, in a particular year. Any attempt to get more specific is pure speculation, and goes beyond what can be reasonably deduced.

    This song fascinates me because of its air of mystery, nobility, wartime images, and practical wisdom imparted.
    xrxs1020on June 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is sung from the point of view of someone up in heaven. Perhaps it's a man who has died and is trying to communicate to his wife or to his son/daughter down on earth, or maybe it's an angel. Whoever it is is guiding someone on earth during a tumltuous time such as war or even a more religious theme such as the end times.

    In the line,"Will guide you and protect from up here", I think "up here" refers to heaven where the observer, or singer in this song, is at. "Believe in me, I'm with the high command" might be referring to the fact that he's with God (the high command) in heaven.
    bnsfjordanon January 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment This song is interesting if taken with several of Mike Rutherford's other offerings on his first and second albums. His songs "Silent Running", "Take the Reins", "Call to Arms", and then "Why Me" all seem to explore the same theme of insurrection or resistance against some sort of foe. Rutherford seems like a dedicated Libertarian who frets the loss of Freedom and an possible future Dark Age of authoritarianism of some sort. Although these songs all date from the 1980s, I think they are telling and especially relevant for today.
    pklocekon August 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentApparently it's about a country being overrun in during a war. Honestly this is one of the most intriguing songs I've ever heard, lyrically.
    ApollyonCrashon April 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis one is a tough one, and I'd love to hear something authoritative. I suspect that perhaps the song is not meant to be taken literally, but more symbolically. There are some ambiguous religious references, such as the references to prayer in the second verse. Perhaps the song refers to a symbolic war between those who are religious, and the secular organizations that they feel are opressing them. Note the reference to pray in order to be protected from the outside, and the reference in the third verse to teaching the children quietly. This last may refer to the secular orientation of the public school system. Alternatively, when I first heard the second verse, I interpreted it as a diatribe AGAINST religion. When they say "pray to God, the Father and the Spirit, will guide you and protect you from up here", I interpreted "up here" refering to your head. Namely, religion will protect you from rational thought, which is an anti-religious message. On the other hand, "up here" could simply mean the outside world, as we know from the first verse that they are supposed to be hiding down in the cellar. Either way, I believe the song is meant to refer to a symbolic conflict, rather than a literal war.
    worlebirdon November 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHonestly, though, its easy to get into "American Pie" mode when you start thinking about that, though. I've read a gazillion interpretations of the song "American Pie", and when you get finished saying "This line means this and this line means that", you've basically come up with something totally different from what is written.
    ApollyonCrashon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSure would like to know what this song means. Lyrically this is one is tough to understand.
    dugan31on May 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaven't seen it in a while, but I recall liking the video to this song. It had a sci-fi spin, with a father warning his son through a hologram display.

    Both the video and 45 record claim to come from a film called "On Dangerous Ground". While there's several movies out there with this name, I've not seen one that includes this song.
    Arbiteron June 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't this song about his father? Just like most of his songs?
    fatcatx2lon July 15, 2005   Link

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