"Let Me Die in My Footsteps" as written by and Bob Dylan....
I will not go down under the ground
"Cause somebody tells me that death's comin' 'round
An' I will not carry myself down to die
When I go to my grave my head will be high,
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There's been rumors of war and wars that have been
The meaning of the life has been lost in the wind
And some people thinkin' that the end is close by
"Stead of learnin' to live they are learning to die.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

I don't know if I'm smart but I think I can see
When someone is pullin' the wool over me
And if this war comes and death's all around
Let me die on this land 'fore I die underground.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

There's always been people that have to cause fear
They've been talking of the war now for many long years
I have read all their statements and I've not said a word
But now Lawd God, let my poor voice be heard.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

If I had rubies and riches and crowns
I'd buy the whole world and change things around
I'd throw all the guns and the tanks in the sea
For they are mistakes of a past history.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flood
Let me smell of wildflowers flow free through my blood
Let me sleep in your meadows with the green grassy leaves
Let me walk down the highway with my brother in peace.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

Go out in your country where the land meets the sun
See the craters and the canyons where the waterfalls run
Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho
Let every state in this union seep in your souls.
And you'll die in your footsteps
Before you go down under the ground.


Lyrics submitted by Gentle_Demon17, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Let Me Die in My Footsteps" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Let Me Die in My Footsteps song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentits a protest song about nuclear war and the threat thereof. he wont go down under the groung to die in a fall out shelter. basically anti war.
    willardon November 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I first listened to this song I thought it was one of the most beautiful and sad songs that I had ever heard, but I didn’t understand the full meaning of "let me die in my footsteps before I go down under the ground." Then I saw ‘No Direction Home’ on PBS and it described the fall out shelter explanation that Willard cited. It gave a completely different perspective and fuller meaning to the song, something that I could never realize before because I didn’t grow up in that era. Despite the obvious anti-war message, the more I hear it the more I realize that the song is not meant to be so much a protest to war as it is to be a protest to fear.
    Reginaon October 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love the sentiment of this song; basically nobody is going to stop me from living my life, and if i die i die but at least i lived. it's almost laughable to compare this song to current artists like Radiohead who sing "i will lay me down in a bunker underground." i think i'll stick with Dylan's attitude on the subject.
    sean_ton April 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know if I'm smart but I think I can see
    When someone is pullin' the wool over me

    One of the greatest lines in music history
    sputty3204on April 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsean, i'm pretty sure Thom Yorke is only referring to laying in bunkers because that is what people do during war, and he's not necessarily suggesting someone do that. It's a song written about people killed in bunkers by US war missiles during the first Gulf War, and his anger.

    Anyways, yea you guys have the meaning of this song down pat.
    lazyoldsunon January 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hear the lines, "There's always been people that have to cause fear. They've been talking of the war now for many long years" ... can't help but think about the idea of the apocalypse and the rapture and how Christians shove it down your throat, and how Dylan is sort of like, "shut up!' because everybody is so afraid to die and so concerned about the other side that they miss out on what they have here! So he goes, "let me sleep, let me smell, and let me walk!" Just let me live NOW!!! I think the anti-war bomb shelter aspect brings a different angel to the song but I always thought it was about living and appreciating here and now what you have rather than preparing yourself for another life.
    ckad79on September 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere's a scene in don't look back (or it might be on 65 revisited) where dylan, neuwirth (sp) and some others are talking in a room and bob jumps up and says "oh i remember!" and starts playing this song and neuwirth gets really excited and says "yeah! that's it!" anyways i never payed much attention to this song before seeing that...
    jasssson January 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo call it a war protest song is an over simplification. In society we are constantly being told that the end is near, that something horrible is about to happen. If you don't believe you'll go to hell, if you vote Trump we'll all die, if you eat corn syrup you'll get cancer. But none of these things are representative of our actual experiences like road tripping across the American Southwest, like stopping to smell the roses. When we start behaving like the end is right around the corner we live with one foot in the grave (under the ground) but when we see life for what it is and experience it we may die, but we die above ground, in our own footsteps. Its a reminder to keep your mind on your music, to not succumb to fear, to remember to trust your own experience and intuition beyond the threats of others.
    GratefuldannyTon November 21, 2017   Link

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