"Driving The Last Spike" as written by and Michael/collins Rutherford....
Leaving my family behind me
Not knowing what lay ahead
Waving goodbye, as I left them in tears
Remembering all we'd said

I looked to the sky, I offered my prayers
I asked Him for guidance and strength
But the simple beliefs of a simple man
Lay in His hands, and on my head
My head

I gave everything that they wanted
But still they wanted more
We sweat and we toiled
Good men lost their lives
I don't think they knew what for

I sold them my heart
I sold them my soul
I gave everything I had
But they couldn't break my spirit
My dignity fought back
Fightback
Just fightback

Can you hear me
Can you see
Don't you hear me
Don't you see

We worked in gangs for all we were worth
The young boys pulling the wagons
We were digging the tunnels, shifting the earth
It was then that it happened

No-one knew how the cracks appeared
But as it fell they all disappeared
Stone fell like rain

Can you hear me
Can you see
Don't you hear me
Can you breathe

The smoke cleared, the dust it settled
No one knew how many had died
All around there were broken men
They'd said it was safe, and they'd lied
You could hear the cries, you could smell the fear
But good fortune that day was mine
And it occurred to me that the heart of a good man
It seems is hard to find

Can you hear me
Can you see
Don't you hear me
Don't you see
How we worked, how we worked like
The devil for our pay
Through the wind, through the snow
And through the rain

Blasting and cutting through Gods country like a knife
Sweat stinging my eyes, there has to be a better life

But I can hear my children's cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
Memories of those I've left behind
Oh just still ringing in my ears
Will I ever go back again
Will I ever see her face again
'cause I'll always remember that night
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We came from the North
And we came from the South
With picks and with spades
And a new kind of order
Showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Driving the last spike
Lifting and laying the track
With blistering hands
And the sun burning your back

But I can hear my children's cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
Oh memories of those I've left behind
Still ringing in my ears
'cause I'll always remember that night
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We followed the rail, we slept under the stars
Digging in darkness and living with danger
Showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Can you hear me
Can you see
Don't you hear me
Don't you see


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Driving the Last Spike" as written by Phillip David Charles Collins Anthony George Banks

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Peermusic Publishing, IMAGEM MUSIC INC

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Driving The Last Spike song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is pure genius. It's about Irish immigrants who left they're families and home's to come to England and build the railways. Lyrics by Collins - his best ever in my opinion.
    timbo.hon January 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKnowing nothing about the authors intention I envisioned this as a story about people building the railroads in the United States.

    Much of the description of the dangers involved and the fact that the workers were lied to and treated like insignificant cattle rang true in this context as well.
    soze_umamaon May 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Timbo, probably the best song that Phil has ever written. I've worked for the railway for years and I know how difficult it can be for the tracklayers now but back in the 19th century it must have been hell.

    The verse, 'We came from the North and we came from the South with picks and with spades and a new kind of order, showing no fear of what lies up ahead. They'll never see the likes of us again', just sends shivers up my spine. It's genius.
    Delta-Von June 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed.
    Smokleron January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed.
    Smokleron January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe sleeve note for the song says it all. Great lyrical work by Mr. Collins. Proves that when he wants to he can measure up to the more complicated lyrics of Tony Banks.
    Jibril_Abdullahon August 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreatest lyrics Genesis ever did, and this coming from a confirmed lover of the Peter Gabriel era.
    Anglagard1on August 22, 2009   Link

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