Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
With the light of the morning
They've seen the end coming down
Long enough to believe
That they've heard their last warning
Standing alone
Each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends
I sit thinking 'bout Everyman

Seems like I've always been
Looking for some other place
To get it together
Where with a few of my friends
I could give up the race
And maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams
Well though out schemes
To gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down
To waiting for Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for Everyman
Don't ask me if he'll show -- baby I don't know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you'll have to take a stand
Then you're going to need a hand

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place
In the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who'll come along
And hold out that strong
And gentle father's hand?
Long ago I heard someone say
Something 'bout Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I'm not trying to tell you
That I've seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am
But don't think too badly
Of one who's left holding sand
He's just another dreamer,
Dreaming 'bout Everyman


Lyrics submitted by Howard55, edited by brian

For Everyman song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentJackson Browne wrote this song in response to CS&N's Wooden Ships. Wooden Ships is about a group of people who leave this world on ships and sail away to a better place. After hearing the song, Jackson asked "What about everyone else" and wrote For Everyman. I remember listeniong to this song after Bush won the election in 2004. It hit home so perfectly. I felt like leaving for someplace else - Canada perhaps. After hearing the song, I realized I wasn't the only one with these fealings, and that if I stayed here I could take a stand and perhaps make things better.
    Tmo2199on April 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUnderstanding that this song was not written for the following reason I have nonetheless considered an alternate meaning for the song which fits surprisingly well.
    Everyman = Jesus

    Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
    With the light of the morning
    They've seen the end coming down long enough to believe
    That they've heard their last warning
    Standing alone
    Each has his own ticket in his hand
    And as the evening descends
    I sit thinking 'bout Everyman

    Everybody is waiting for the end to come (Judgment Day) and this guy is waiting for Jesus.

    Seems like I've always been looking for some other place
    To get it together
    Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
    And maybe find something better
    But all my fine dreams
    Well thought out schemes to gain the motherland
    Have all eventually come down to waiting for Everyman

    He knows he's made mistakes in his life by living only for himself and he realizes that each mistake has only drawn him further toward Jesus.

    Waiting here for Everyman--
    Make it on your own if you think you can
    If you see somewhere to go I understand
    Waiting here for Everyman--
    Don't ask me if he'll show -- baby I don't know

    Everyone is looking to do everything on their own thinking they can do it good enough and the speaker, while not totally positive that Jesus exists, still waits for him faithfully and with hope.

    Make it on your own if you think you can
    Somewhere later on you'll have to take a stand
    Then you're going to need a hand

    People will try to do things themselves but the speaker knows that when Judgment Day does come only the intercession of Jesus on behalf of the faithful will save anyone.

    Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
    Who can give them the answers
    And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
    Where sweet childhood still dances
    Who'll come along
    And hold out that strong and gentle father's hand?
    Long ago I heard someone say something 'bout Everyman

    People want answers that cannot come in this life even though they've been offered the hand of the Father by the Son in an ancient book that is rarely read or believed anymore though a few faithful do still accept it.

    I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan
    Turn and walk away if you think I am--
    But don't think too badly of one who's left holding sand
    He's just another dreamer, dreaming 'bout Everyman

    The speaker knows he doesn't know everthing and is okay with people not believing him, even allows them to walk away, but also understands that the faithful will be made fun of and wants people to understand that they're just trying to find some way to go on in life even if their waiting never turns into anything substantial.

    Like I said, not the original intent of the song but an interesting perspective to consider.
    wearydreameron September 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMakes me think of College and leaving home after. Reminds me something my Father might play for me as I venture out into the world.

    "Make it on your own if you think you can.. If you see somewhere to go I'll understand."

    Also, about meeting and solidifying a relationship. Always looking over the horizon, looking for the 'one' in another place, possibly out of state, country?

    Everyone, Everyman, seems to want to find another place to get it all together. Out of town, the better we are at the chance of meeting something vast and different.

    Great song, sucks being a 19 year old going to parties and hearing rap now. Wheres Mellencamp, Springsteen? Wheres the good stuff!
    bearfan34on September 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow 'bout that!
    wearydreamer's interpretation is what mine has always been.

    I have always heard it to mean that people go through life expecting Jesus to extend his hand and save everybody, when in fact Jesus has told us to go through life helping each other. In other words, God helps mankind THROUGH us, and we are his agents. We shouldn't be sitting around waiting for somebody else to do it. WE have to do it.
    I always think of that quotation from the Bible:
    "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"

    I am not religious - not in the least. But this has always been the way I hear the song.
    mmagliaroon May 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood comments from everyone. I always thought this song referred to the medieval play "The Summoning of Everyman". In the play, God calls Everyman to heaven and Everyman tries to bring someone (a human attribute) with him to vouch for him. He asks Friendship, Family, Material Goods to go with him but they won't. The only one who will accompany him is Good Deeds.
    Not all of the lyrics seem to relate but there some do, such as needing a hand and trying to get back to the father.
    Truly a beautiful song, somewhat sad but hopeful (like a lot of Browne's wonderful songs)
    rocksolidon November 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think JB intends to make the sentiment in "wooden ships" seem worthy but idealistic. The song starts off "Everybody is ready to leave" and goes on to say "with a few of my friends / maybe find something better", and finishes with "long ago I heard someone say something about Everyman"

    Almost as if it's a great notion to pack up and sail off but as the song progesses it becomes an unlikely ideal and then merely a dream that would never work as it would require everyman to make it happen.

    A wonderful song (one of many by JB) by an artist of extraordinary talent.
    jimmyjammyon December 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    TranslationLyric correction.. Not "father's hand", it's "thought in his hand".. Not great writing, but thats what he sings.
    Hutcherson@mac.comon September 25, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPretty sure he was thinking about FDR here.
    Hutcherson@mac.comon September 25, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy lyric correction was wrong. It is 'father's hand'.
    Hutcherson@mac.comon November 25, 2014   Link

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