"Telegraph Road" as written by and Mark Knopfler....
A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a sack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness

He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came walking down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back

Then came the churches, then came the schools
Then came the lawyers, then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their load
And the dirty old track was the Telegraph Road

Then came the mines, then came the ore
Then there was the hard times, then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph Road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river

And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There's six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow

I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I've got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found
Yes, and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed
We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed

And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the Telegraph Road

Well, I'd sooner forget, but I remember those nights
Yeah, life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your hand on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care

But just believe in me baby and I'll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
'Cause I've run every red light on memory lane
I've seen desperation explode into flames
And I don't wanna see it again

From all of these signs saying "sorry but we're closed"
All the way down the Telegraph Road


Lyrics submitted by Dasch, edited by adrolter

"Telegraph Road" as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Telegraph Road song meanings
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48 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentConsidering current news on the Detroit Bankruptcy, just how brilliant and visionary does one have to be to write this song 30+ years ago????
    tmanon July 19, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOn the Love Over Gold album the version is over 14 minutes long. Truely great song mind.
    gnome101on October 06, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is an epic song... there's an 11 minute version on their "Money For Nothing" album... it's a beautiful song... plus it's recorded live with the piano parts. This is excellent Dire Straits musicianship with echoing guitars, haunting vocals, and, of course, the rest of the band at the top of their game.

    Simply brilliant.
    Prime_Knighton June 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI particularly like this section:

    Then came the churches, then came the schools
    Then came the lawyers, then came the rules
    Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
    And the dirty old track was the telegraph road

    It's absolutely amazing how they wrapped a civil development with such lyrics and melody.
    bugmenoton November 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's one of my all time favorites. the whole story of civilization in 14 minutes. After u listen to this you really wish you were born in woods 500 years ago!

    "And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
    They can always fly away from this rain and this cold"
    a dire straits master piece
    roddioson April 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn my opinion, this song could be used to describe one, or maybe all of three things.

    The first is the obvious: the "Telegraph Road" as it is called. Starts off a little no-where in the woods, develops more and more into a little industrial town, becomes a large, populated area, then after a while gets entirely abandoned, shut down, and just as deserted as it was beforehand.

    The second theory that sprang to my mind upon pondering the lyrics a bit more deeply was that it could be a description of a relationship, using the "Telegraph Road" as a metaphor. First, there's nothing. The two in the relationship no not of each other. Then along they come, unpack their stuff, and eventually build a relationship and a home for themselves. They are at the peak of the relationship at the same point that there is heavy traffic on the road. Then, things turn out wrong, problems spring, matters go astray, and the relationship gets abandoned. All the things that they used to do are no longer, indicating the "Sorry, We're Closed" signs. The very last verse seems to add to my theory of it being about a relationship.

    My third and final theory is that the song explains the course of a human being's life. Once again, starting with nothing but a horny girl and her erect husband. We then find a small baby, who makes himself comfortable in his environment. He keeps growing, expanding his knowledge, and then reaches the peak of his life. Shortly afterwards, things start going downhill, eventually leading to him deserting his life, or more bluntly, dying. Thus concludes the song.

    And in case you didn't notice, the name of this website is "Song Meanings", not "Post bullshit". I'm sick of the "0|\/|6z53rzZ 7|-|!5 $0|\|6 R0xx34s |\/|Y S0xX3rs" bullshit. Aren't we supposed to be discussing what the song means to us? Not childish, fool-written asscrap with no content.
    fledgehogon August 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBest rock song ever. Period.

    The lyrics combined with the instrumental backing, wich really reflects the lyrics, needs no explanation.
    It's just a story that's being told.
    Just shut up and enjoy is my advice.

    The emotion that Knopfler puts in his singing is also mindblowing.

    But...the finale that takes one last look 'all the way down the telegraph road' is geniousty itself: Love the reprising of the main theme, wich occurs 3 times...
    Just: Wow
    OldSkoolon July 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI echo that this is the most brilliant song ever written. I worked through very difficult jobs and went to law school not three miles from this road in the Detroit / Toledo area and let me tell you, that place beats you down. Every time I heard the solo I knew I was going to move far away when I got the chance, I mean hell the solo still brings me to tears because it echos the desperation, the desire, and the will to believe that there is a paradise out there for you when you are stuck in Hell. Well I got that chance, took it, and when I was driving those thousands of miles, I played this song on repeat, full blast, in tears... Crazy huh? I'm a guy.
    JamesHarton June 06, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn epic - if you want to hear the entire version buy the Love Over Gold album. Their greatest hits selection only has a faded out live version.
    Brett Whiteley the talented Australian artist used to paint with this song played up LOUD!
    chrisb1on April 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPS: And Dire Straits was an admirer of Brett Whiteley. Their live album \"Alchemy\" cover was comprised of a Brett Whiteley painting of the same name.
    chrisb1on April 23, 2005   Link

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