"Ballad Of Dwight Fry" as written by and Bruce Cooper....
Mommy where's daddy?
He's been gone for so long.
Do you think he'll ever come home?

I was gone for fourteen days
I coulda been gone for more
Held up in the intensive care ward
Lyin' on the floor
I was gone for all those days
But I, was not all alone
I made friends with a lot of people
In the danger zone

See my lonely life unfold
I see it every day
See my lonely mind explode
Since I've gone away

I think I lost some weight there
And I, I'm sure I need some rest
Sleepin don't come very easy
In a straight white vest
Should like to see that little children
She's only four years old.. old
I'd give her back all of her play things
Even, even the ones I stole

See my lonely life unfold
I see it everyday
See my lonely mind explode
When I've gone insane

I want to get out of here
I want to get out of here
I, I've gotta, I've gotta get out of here
I, I gotta get out of here
I, I gotta get out of here
Ya gotta let me out of here
Let me outta her

See my lonely life unfold
I see it everyday
See my lonely mind explode
Blown up in my face

I grabbed my hat and I got my coat
And I, I ran into the street
I saw a man that was choking there
I guess he couldn't breathe
Said to myself this is very strange
I'm glad it wasn't me
But now I hear those sirens callin'
And so I am not free
I didn't want to be
I didn't want to be
I didn't want to be

See my lonely life unfold
(I didn't want to be)
I see it every day
(Leave me alone
I didn't want to be
Don't touch me!)
See my lonely mind explode
When I've gone Insane

Lyrics submitted by nonemoreblack, edited by JohnnyLurg

"Ballad of Dwight Fry" as written by Alice Cooper Michael Bruce

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Ballad Of Dwight Fry song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningThe most obvious yet complex song pertaining to mental illness is arguably Alice Cooper’s “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. An album track released on 1970’s Love It To Death, it details a troubled man’s stay in a psychiatric ward. It’s ambiguous nature is befitting of the dementia often associated with insanity, and it remains an epic telling of the delusion and tormented psyche of a man who can’t seem to fit in with society.

    The beginning question of the child asking for her father is a direct reflection of how Fry’s illness has effected everybody around him, as well as a question of whether he’ll ever “come home”, or in other words, get better.

    Fourteen days is a typical amount of time to be held in a psychiatric ward, depending upon factors such as insurance and condition of the patient. Presumably, Fry could have been in inpatient for more than fourteen days due to any number of overly aggressive or psychotic behaviors. An intensive care ward is for more acute cases, so this in itself establishes that Fry’s illness is out of his control and/or his behaviors are highly irregular. Furthermore, the fact that he was lying on the floor supports this in implying that he was either drugged due to aggression, severely depressed, or both. When Fry says that he was not all alone, it is implying that he had fellow patients as well as trying to stress the idea that he had little privacy, as is typical for patients of a psychiatric ward. These fellow patients, however, are in the danger zone, for they are also mentally destitute. The whole scene established creates an atmosphere of depression and claustrophobia.

    The chorus that is repeated throughout retains all of the same lyrics save the last line. Fry seeing his life unfold and his mind explode everyday is suggestive of him having little willpower to change himself or to overcome his illness, as it continues to progress each time in worsened increments: going away (solitude), blowing up in his face (aggression), and insanity (complete loss of inhibition/control).

    Fry’s loss of weight and deprivation of rest are common side effects of mania. His being in a straight white vest suggests a straight jacket, meaning that his mania has caused him to act violently towards property and/or other individuals. He longs to see his four year old child, and give her back some toys he stole. This longing suggests that he is unable to see his child due to his irrational behavior. This is furthered by the manic repeating of the phrase “I wanna get out of here”. His solitude has become unbearable, and he is even possibly experiencing drug withdrawal, as he could have been stealing possessions from his family to finance an addiction to substances.

    Finally, Fry is released. It is unclear whether it is authorized by the institution or of his own volition. The fact that he ran into the street certainly suggests the latter. The vignette of the choking man suggests that he is glad to be alive and perhaps newly grateful for the things he has, but the calling of the sirens ultimately is indicative of the police coming to take him to jail or even the institution again. This is unless siren is being used in the mythological sense, and Fry is being lured to his demise by some unseen beckoning. It seems to not matter, as in either case, Fry is not free and does not want to be.
    Analyticoon March 22, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFrom what I've read and heard, regarding the Dwight Frye reference...
    Alice is a huge fan of the old b&w horror films. Shortly before this song was written Alice had been sent to rehab. When he got out he made a comment along the lines of, "Now I know how Renfield felt being locked up..." The song was written with that experience as an inspiration and then Alice's Renfield comment inspired the title with, as you pointed out, Dwight Frye being the actor who played Renfield. (In order to stop any possible "law suits" notice how they dropped the 'e' from Frye)
    ricsteron August 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningDwight's coat and hat were available to him, which implies he was released. I always imagined it was Dwight strangling the man that he "saw" choking in the street. It's a little too coincidental for a madman to witness somebody choking immediately upon release from an institution. His disassociation with reality is complete, so he sees the man choking, but fails to recognize that it’s his own hands committing the crime. The sirens are real.
    csjt2on November 17, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA brilliant, but fairly disturbing, song.
    paulothemanioon February 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song scares the frell out of me. Well, I guess it's fairly obvious what this song is about, eh?
    Runforyourlifeon July 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song and I can't come up with any better takes on the song than the ones you've all posted. I do have a question though.

    There was an update AC did of his song and I'm going nuts trying to find it! I rediscovered Alice Cooper in '89 when I first heard "Poison". My senior year('91), when "Hey Stoopid" came out, that track and "House of Fire" really made me want the "Trash" CD. My parents, in their parently knowledge of such things, got me the cassette single of "Hey Stoopid" instead of the entire CD. And on the B-side was the Fry remake. Not really a remake so much as an update of the song. I thought it was awesome! The original was more of a melancholy sort of disturbing, while this newer version had more electric guitars and Cooper's vocals were sharper, crisper, giving the song more of a psychotic rage sort of edge. I lost the cassette when I moved away from home, and I've been searching for this version since. I've looked extensively for it, and it's not listed on any of the discologies I've looked up. HELP!!

    If anyone has it or knows where I can get it, please reach me. My msn is lanakael2@hotmail.com. Please let me know. Thanks in advance!
    lanakaelon June 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like how he sings like he is psycho, especially during the "I gotta get outta here" part
    jordand33on May 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song.. I like how he sings it rather melodramatically, uncertain almost...makes you really see how insane the guy is. Obviously it's about a father who is taken away to the funny farm, and of course he does't like it there. So he escapes. The guy choking outside makes him think how lucky he is, but then he gets chased so he isn't lucky. Poor guy.
    Emmelstoneon March 17, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song ! i wonder if that really happened to the great dwight frye. i hope not. he was a great actor... played renfield in 1931 dracula....also, he played fritz, the hunchback in 1931 frankenstein. great song !
    xl5ronon May 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the best live Alice songs. If you get a chance to see him live, don't miss it!
    hippiegirllon March 26, 2005   Link

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