"Johnny Appleseed" as written by Joe Strummer, Scott Shields, Martin Paul Slattery, Tymon Dogg and Pablo Cook....
Lord, there goes Johnny Appleseed
He might pass by in the hour of need
There's a lot of souls
Ain't drinking from no well locked in a factory

Hey, look there goes
Hey, look there goes
If you're after getting the honey, hey
Then you don't go killing all the bees

Lord, there goes Martin Luther King
Notice how the door closes when the chimes of freedom ring
I hear what you're saying, I hear what he's saying
Is what was true now no longer so

Hey, I hear what you're saying
Hey, I hear what he's saying
If you're after getting the honey, hey
Then you don't go killing all the bees

What the people are saying
And we know every road, go, go
What the people are saying
There ain't no berries on the trees

Let the summertime sun
Fall on the apple, fall on the apple

Lord, there goes a Buick forty-nine
Black sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line
We think there is a soul, we don't know
That soul is hard to find

Hey, down along the road
Hey, down along the road
If you're after getting the honey
Then you don't go killing all the bees

Hey, it's what the people are saying
It's what the people are saying
Hey, there ain't no berries on the trees
Hey, that's what the people are saying, no berries on the trees
You're checking out the honey, baby
You had to go killin' all the bees


Lyrics submitted by b-pot

"Johnny Appleseed" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Johnny Appleseed song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentIf you are looking a for a stronger song then this, you will find yourself hard pressed. Its levels of interpretation are unfathomable, and you have to stand in awe of these amazing song writer.

    personally i saw this song as a testiment to the strength of individuals and how with the proper convictions life can yeild heros. This is a the true test of the individual, as being a "black sheep of the angels".
    St. martanion April 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust as a little note, I heard from a friend - who is a huge Joe Strummer fan - that this song is about workers' rights.

    Personally, I would agree. I've seen the music video for "Johnny Appleseed" and it's Joe and the boys walking through a foreign country where the market is on the street, so the feel of the video would signify such a connection with the song being about workers' rights, or at least perhaps touching base with the topic. Just thought I'd throw that in there. (RIP Joe)
    sacrifice_for_life1on May 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing song. The chorus is awesome

    There's a lot in this song..
    Cherub Rockon June 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWho can tell some more things about this song. I've read some comments and find them interesting. They suggest more. I can translate the words (English is not my own language) but I can't translate the "depth" of this song.
    boeloon March 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes it is mostly about worker's rights, the worker being the bees, and if you want to get the fruits of their labor you don't go destroy them
    Rudiskaon June 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment" seen the music video for "Johnny Appleseed" and it's Joe and the boys walking through a foreign country where the market is on the street". Don't know the exact location but it looks a bit like Camden to me. Not foreign to Senor Strummer.

    Anyway, I think this song is summed up by the chrous "If you're after getting the honey, Then you don't go killing all the bees". Its clearly about the sad decline of beekeeping in inner London and the direct impact on prices of honey in Islington.
    NHSMonkeyon October 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn all my years of listening to music, this is easily the best song I've ever heard. The lyrics, the melody, the music...it's absolute perfection. And I'm so proud to say it came from a punk legend like Joe Strummer.
    R.I.P.
    BlackLungFeveron November 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the song is more than just "workers rights". I thin its about humanitarian rights in general within the U.S. and paying attention to the idea that it is the little people, or the "bees" in this case, which make the larger picture and actually make progress:

    Lord, there goes Johnny Appleseed
    He might pass by in the hour of need
    There's a lot of souls
    Ain't drinking from no well locked in a factory
    (Johnny Appleseed, aka John Chapman, went around the great lakes region and Ohio territoies planting small groves of appletrees where he felt they were fertiles. He would then sell the trees for cheap, often giving them away to those who did not have the money, only asking in return for them to promise to pay him when they could afford to in the future. This is often, at least within the United States, the first story we are told about someone who made social change on a small scaled. Although we are taught about Independence, I think the story of Johnny Appleseed embodies more than just doing good for the people. There are no politics attatched to it (or at least it seems this way when we are young); rather the message is, do good and you, in turn, can be free and will be good. Joe seems to be saying that there are still those that have broken away from our society of "convenience"; there are still people who believe in doing things their own way as well as doing good.)

    Hey - look there goes
    Hey - look there goes
    If you're after getting the honey - hey
    Then you don't go killing all the bees
    (I think its a commentary how most of us don't stop to realize what is happening within our lives. That we are so busy, we don't even notice that our way of life, fast paced work and society, is whats killing us. And in the process, we're killing the potential of community and good that could exist)

    Lord, there goes Martin Luther King
    Notice how the door closes when the chimes of freedom ring
    I hear what you're saying, I hear what he's saying
    Is what was true down along the soul
    (The passing of a great man, a man who's doors closed because he was trying to create equality and freedom. Many hear what he's saying and have tried to fight the battle further, however it gets lost within society. Race doesn't matter when you look at what everyone is made up of; "Is what was true down along the soul", everyone has the same soul)

    Hey - I hear what you're saying
    Hey - I hear what he's saying
    If you're after getting the honey - hey
    Then you don't go killing all the bees

    What the people are saying
    And we know every road - go, go
    What the people are saying
    There ain't no berries on the trees
    (most people believe in these ideas and want to do good, however, we're so worn out or have become so discouraged that many do not try or believe that their voice will make a difference. "There ain't no berries on the tree", there are no fruits to the labor)

    Let the summertime sun
    Fall on the apple - fall on the apple
    (simplicity at its best. taking a moment to notice something that's beautiful. it also may mean that there is something forming, sunlight is needed to nourish a plant. summertime is often considered to be before the harvest. a new generation may be able to reap the fruits)


    Lord, there goes a Buick forty-nine
    Black sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line
    We think there is a soul, we don't know
    That soul is hard to find
    (I can imagine that Buick '49s were once considered to be the top of the line car. They're still considered to be aesthetic marvels by many in the classic car circuit. However, its been lost within technology. "Black sheep" meaning its an outsider, "of the angels" refering to cars as, possibly or once thought of as, being beautiful machines which have "saved" modern society. Most people believe in some sort of soul, however, within today's society, its hard to realize this idea)

    Hey - down along the road
    Hey - down along the road
    If you're after getting the honey
    Then you don't go killing all the bees

    Hey - it's what the people are saying
    It's what the people are saying
    Hey - there ain't no berries on the trees
    Hey - that's what the people are saying, no berries on the trees
    You're checking out the honey, baby
    You had to go killin' all the bees

    This is just my interpretation. Regardless of anyone's ideas or thoughts about it (sorry if mine seem very liberal, I'm reading Walter Benjamin right now ha!), the song is amazing. Very powerful and very uplifting despite the conclusion.
    XmisfitXgirlXon April 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I think the song is more than just "workers rights". I thin its about humanitarian rights in general within the U.S. and paying attention to the idea that it is the little people, or the "bees" in this case, which make the larger picture and actually make progress:"

    I'm not so sure an -Englishman- like Strummer would be writing a song to focus on humanitarian rights in the -US- when there exist plenty closer to home, or transcending a single locality altogether.

    The labour-oriented interpretation is probably most accurate, especially when one considers past works like Clampdown and Career Opportunities.
    endestewon June 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about freedom in general and the death of freedom. Honey and berries is symbolic of freedom or the fruits of freedom. Bees create honey and pollinate flowers that grow into fruits. Johnny Appleseed symbolizes all that has been great about America. Joe is sayin' that Appleseed is gone now. America has died. Appleseed is a bee. Martin Luther King is also a bee that was trying to produce the fruits of freedom and liberty. They killed him for it. When a great leader emerges who can promote the message of freedom and equality someone kills them. That's what I think the meaning of the song is. It's about freedom and liberty in general and doesn't apply to any one country or group of people, but applies to all countries and groups of people. That's why this song is so great.
    jd-buckeyeon August 04, 2007   Link

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