"Wendell Gee" as written by and Peter Buck Bill Berry....
That's when Wendell Gee takes a tug
Upon the string that held the line of trees
Behind the house he lived in
He was reared to give respect
But somewhere down the line he chose
To whistle as the wind blows
Whistle as the wind blows with me

He had a dream one night
That the tree had lost its middle
So he built a trunk of chicken wire
To try to hold it up
But the wire the wire turned to lizard skin
And when he climbed inside
There wasn't even time to say
Goodbye to Wendell Gee
So whistle as the wind blows
Whistle as the wind blows, with me

If the wind were colors
And if the air could speak
Then whistle as the wind blows
Whistle as the wind blows


Lyrics submitted by rieve

"Wendell Gee" as written by Peter Buck Bill Berry

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Wendell Gee song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    Song MeaningWendell Gee is an actual person. It's who one of the members in the band used to work for, and he actually worked for him on a farm. It's not about changing, it's about the death of a man he worked for that respected him. Wendell slipped away, who he was never able to say goodbye to or tell Wendell how much he appreciated him. Wendell Gee is a friends grandfather. It's awesome to live where someone famous is from! :D
    KickEmDeadSonon October 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWendell Gee was a local businessman in the Athens, Ga area.
    * He was a used-car salesman, if I remember correctly. In
    the "Shiny Chatty People" interview, the guys say there is a little town near
    Athens where there are a bunch of businesses owned by people named "Gee" --
    pool hall, bail bondsman, etc. "You just know it must be some kind of family,"
    Peter says. He doesn't quite explain why they used the name in the song,
    though
    REMFIELDon October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about corruption, wendell losing his good foundation and slowly decaying into a different bad type of world.
    rockmanon January 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm thinking Wendell is a man who loses his faculties and slips off into senility.
    PencilNeckedGeekon August 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy first impression is that Wendell is a troubled teen, a misfit.
    He hangs himself (in his parents back yard). The song reads "lived" past tense. Nobody new of his inner turmoil or his plans so "there wasn't time to say goodbye". Wendell takes the easy way out...but as the dream suggests it's a horrible choice. But the realization comes too late, in the dream and after the "tug" of the rope.
    Here the wind represents death or the life after death and the spirit being free. And the miss-interpertation and romanticism teens have with suicide.

    Song's eerie, haunting sound kind of confirms it.

    But, hey, that's just what I think.
    Mark Vanon August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have no clue what this song means, but this is one of my favorite lyrics:

    If the wind were colors
    And if the air could speak
    Then whistle as the wind blows
    Whistle as the wind blows
    silasbrockon December 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe string on the line of trees could easily be his clothes line and it's just kind of the opening of him in his backyard doing laundry. It appears he is an old guy who isn't your ordinary citizen. He moves the beat of his own drum, a nonconformist. As for the middle lyrics they don't sound right. But it appears he's past on and no longer is with us. People may have understood him better if they looked at things the way he did from his perspective if they took the time to get to know him.
    REMFIELDon October 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSaturnine lyrics. Liking the tune...
    vogonjron June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is just an imagined funeral for a man. People eulogize him and tell stories about him and his life, but at the end 'there wasn't even time to say goodbye'. We can 'whistle as the wind blows' but once we stop the air carries it away, forever.
    lucid42dayon December 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationAlthough the song was inspired by a real person, as mentioned by two of the other commenters, I find some of the lyrics to be exceedingly surreal and ill-fitting to be a reference to a physical death.
    In the first verse, Wendell (from the old German Vandal, a tribe name which came to mean perpetration of destruction) tugs a string which *held* the line of trees, implying that the trees are either no longer in line or that the string which held them has snapped. This may be a metaphor for a loss of respect (being ordered in a line, or tethered by a string) for symbols of elder strength (trees). This interpretation is also supported by the next few lines in this verse.
    The second verse starts with a dream of a tree (a symbol of elder strength or authority) losing its "middle" (the source or core of that strength or authority). He builds a wholly artificial core to replace the source of authority, and that core became corrupt (it "turned to lizard skin", which is the skin of a reptile, a common metaphor for a person of shifty, untrustworthy, or cold-blooded morality). Ie., a used car salesman. Climbing inside and losing Wendell Gee has the obvious interpretation of his personality being replaced or entombed in his new philosophy.
    The repeating background lyric of "Gonna miss you, boy" also conveys the loss of a child, not an adult, which fits with the metaphor of a child becoming an adult with thickened skin and a loss of innocent morality.

    In the last verse, two tempting but empty phrases are used to prompt the listener to follow the path of Wendell and "whistle as the wind blows", which is also a common metaphor for loose morals.
    slider142on July 10, 2012   Link

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