"Die With Your Boots On" as written by Bruce Dickinson, Stephen Percy Harris and Adrian Frederick Smith....
Another prophet of disaster
Who says the ship is lost
Another prophet of disaster
Leaving you to count the cost
Taunting us with visions
Afflicting us with fear
Predicting war for millions
In the hope that one appears

No point asking when it is
No point asking who's to go
No point asking what's the game
No point asking who's to blame
'Cause if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die
if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die
if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die,
if you're gonna die

If you're gonna die, die with your boots on
If you're gonna try, well stick around
Gonna cry, just move along
If you're gonna die, you're gonna die

In thirteen the beast is rising
The Frenchman did surmise
Through earthquakes and starvation
The warlord will arise
Terror, death, destruction
Pour from the eastern sands
But the truth of all predictions
Is always in your hands

No point asking when it is
No point asking who's to go
No point asking what's the game
No point asking who's to blame
'Cause if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die
if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die
if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die,
if you're gonna die

If you're gonna die, die with your boots on
If you're gonna try, just stick around
Gonna cry, just move along
If you're gonna die, you're gonna die


Lyrics submitted by numb

"Die with Your Boots On" as written by Bruce Dickinson Adrian Frederick Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Die With Your Boots On song meanings
Add your thoughts

27 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentIt's saying, don't die like a coward, but be a man. Lime in WW1, better to die with bullets in your chest than with bullets in your back.
    UpTheIronson April 28, 2004   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationHere's my take:


    "ANOTHER prophet of disaster
    Who says the ship is lost"

    Oh look! there's another 'end of the world' or major disaster disaster coming!
    As I type this, I'm recalling the 2012 Mayan calender panic. This song will probably remain relevant for some time yet.

    "Another prophet of disaster
    Leaving you to count the cost"

    Perhaps this is a pun: "prophet" for "profit"
    There is money to be made in sensationalized gloom and doom. But if you get taken in by this stuff, there is a psychic price to pay because they are:

    "Taunting us with visions
    Afflicting us with fear
    Predicting war for millions
    In the hope that one appears"

    Perhaps all these prophets of disaster aren't merely cynical money chasers. Maybe some of them genuinely believe and got so attached to their theories that they cannot bear the thought of them being wrong, to the point that they lost perspective and would rather millions die than face the embarrassment of admitting they were wrong.

    It can also apply to arms dealers. There's a lot of money to be made in preparing for the worst.


    But then, it is hard to dismiss the prophets of disaster so easily. I remember it was even more so when the song came out. I'm assuming it was written in 1982-83 when the Cold War was still going strong, the Falklands War was going on, Vietnam was still fresh in everyone's minds and the year "1984" was almost upon us. They were frightening times actually.

    A paraphrase:
    "No point asking when it is, who's to go, what's the game or who's to blame 'cause if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die, you're gonna die"

    "If you're gonna die, die with your boots on
    If you're gonna try, well stick around
    Gonna cry, just move along
    If you're gonna die, you're gonna die"


    Now the song turns the spotlight to the listener:

    All this poring over old tomes and new tabloids, or even just worrying at the particulars of coming calamities is just a pointless waste of time and energy.

    The way the points is in taking up some courage rather than in just optimism. So the world as we know it might come crashing down? So I'll just have to face it and keep my chin up. What else is there?

    I just noticed that on the Piece of Mind album, this songs sits between The Trooper, which is about a historical battle; and Still Life which is about a personal descent into madness that ends with suicide. This song makes a great segue between the two on either side of it.

    The chorus of this song could fit well in The Trooper. "No point asking..." echoes "Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die" from the Tennyson poem, Charge of the Light Brigade, which is about the same battle and apparently inspired The Trooper. (link below)

    The second verse seems to go along with the song that follows it. It starts off:

    "In thirteen the beast is rising
    The Frenchman did surmise"

    I agree with th previous commenters here that it is a reference to Nostrodamus, but not JUST to the old fortune teller. Some older fans will recall the Satanism hoopla surrounding their previous album The Number of the Beast. There was a lot of fear of devil worshiping going around at the time with concerned citizens listening for backward as well as forwards messages in all kinds of rock and metal songs. Heck, a lot of folks thought you could wind up possessed by demons by playing Dungeons & Dragons. I'm sure that was on Iron Maiden's minds when they were writing this song and Still Life, Which starts with a backwards recording of an impersonation of an impersonation of dictator Idi Amin gives us a clue that the song is, at least in part, a humorous response to all that. It also stands up as a sort of allegory about obsession. The narrator in that song stares at a pool until it consumes his (or her?) mind. Is that a warning to or about those people who look for the devil (or whatever nightmarish thing you can think of) in everything?

    I might have digressed a bit there, but my point is that there are a lot of references packed into those two lines that are easily overlooked without the wider context of the album and the times.

    "Through earthquakes and starvation
    The warlord will arise
    Terror, death, destruction
    Pour from the eastern sands"

    Yes yes, more scary stuff.

    "But the truth of all predictions
    Is always in your hands"

    The final line urges us to not confuse the stoicism of facing a situation that might not go well for you personally with the fatalism that assumes we're completely helpless to prevent horrible things on a large scale in the first place. Remember the "IF" in "If you're gonna die..."!

    Perhaps instead of spending a lot of time and money building a compound in the wilderness and stocking up on food and weapons, we would do better to work for sanity in our politicians, in our media, in our neighbors and in ourselves.

    We need to put on boots, but maybe sometimes they should be work boots rather than combat boots. And maybe in the next panic our politicians should be more willing to face a danger to their careers by resisting fear mongering rather than "safely" going along with the madness. A little skepticism goes a long way.

    Relavant links:

    Charge of the Light Brigade
    web.archive.org/web/20070513072721/http://etext.virginia.edu/britpo/tennyson/…

    How many times must a world end?
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    On the satanic scare in the 1980s and why a grain of salt is important.
    holysmoke.org/sdhok/…

    I miss vinyl.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    Robobearon October 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song ComparisonGoonMan22 on youtube said this

    "There's been terrorist attacks in Paris today Friday 13th November 2015... sadly, 130 innocent victims "Died with their boots on"... Iron Maiden (Nostradamus) astoundingly predicted this in the lyrics of this songs 2nd verse; 1:42

    "13 the Beast is Rising,
    The Frenchman did surmise,
    Through earthquakes and starvation,
    The Warlord will arise,
    Terror, Death, Destruction,
    Pour from the Eastern sands,
    But the truth of all predictions,
    Is always in your hands."

    According to this Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the warlord and ISIS are the terror from the eastern sands. What do you guys think? Very creepy."

    youtu.be/…
    JakobieJoneson April 18, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIm not sure but i thinking this song is about if your gonna die, die do something good in life or die doing something useful or doing something you love.
    IronMaidenManon May 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about predictions of nostradamus:
    "In 13 the Beast is rising,
    THE FRENCHMAN DID SURMISE,
    Through earthquakes and starvation,
    The warlord will arise."
    this one is currently playing itself out:
    "Terror, Death, Destruction,
    Pour from the Eastern Sands, "
    rattbastardon June 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't see what that's got to do with anything.
    UpTheIronson September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh right, I see it's one of the lyrics. Sorry, I thought you were just randomly quoting things. Ha, sorry about that. Right then. After making a fool of myself, I'm gonna go.
    UpTheIronson September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about the end of the world and how we should be brave when it comes to the end. The song is based around what various prophets have prediction to be the end of the world.
    maidensoadacdcgnron January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe the just of it is:

    Ignore people who claim to predict when the world ends.

    When it does:
    If you die, die trying. (Die with your boots on.)
    If you try hard enough, you might just survive 'till Earth 2.0 (If you're gonna try, stick around!)
    If all you're gonna do is sit and mourn the old world, you're just gonna die with your boots off. (Gonna cry? Just move along!)

    'Cause if you're gonna die, you're gonna die. May as well die trying, 'eh?
    addseale2on March 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe term "to die with your boots on" is actually a real old southern phrase that means to go down fighting or don't give up with out a fight.I don't know if it means the same thing in England though lol
    MaidenHell81on April 27, 2006   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