"For A Dancer" as written by and Jackson Browne....
Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must've always thought you'd be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening

I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There's nothing you can do about it anyway)

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
And let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know will be coming down

Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive but you'll never know


Lyrics submitted by Howard55

"For a Dancer" as written by Jackson Browne

Lyrics © Jackson Browne/Swallow Turn Music/Night Kitchen Music/Open Window Music

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For A Dancer song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthis is one of my favourite songs
    it never gets old
    Jackson Browne is one of the very few singer song writers who can bring out so much emotion through his lyrics.

    "Cause I know you'd rather we were dancing"
    Beautiful line
    woodenshipson June 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song was written for a bisexual friend of Jackson's, Scotty Runyon. "Song For Adam" was about Adam Saylor.
    rainmanjron May 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhenever I want to sob, I listen to this song.
    joan_of_snarkon September 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Jackson Browne song right now... it's an incredibly moving meditation on death (especially "there is one dance you'll do alone", that line gets me every time). The absolute best part, however, is that, for once, death inspires hope. Jackson literally turns my frown upside down every time I get past the violin solo.
    jnb987on December 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentincredible song. to me, it's mostly about one of the sad truths in life: that one day everyone and everything we love will be gone. but it's all we've got, and you owe it to those you love to make the best of it.

    probably my favorite jackson browne song, too.
    sadmachineon January 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust wanted to set the record straight on this song, and for that matter, the Late For The Sky album. This album was released in 1974. Jackson's wife committed suicide in 1976. Some of the songs on the Pretender album are supposedly about the death of his wife, but he's said in interviews that most of the songs were already written before she died.
    acahill1962on May 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was actually written for the same Adam the song "Song for Adam" is about on Browne's first album.
    wearydreameron June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is existentialism
    battaryacidon November 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song makes me cry.

    when i was little, my mother would play jackson browne albums and i would listen and sing along. i came to know all the songs by heart, including this one. but over the years, i heard less and less Jackson Browne. Recently, his CDs have went back into my CD player, and, while I'm still little (just a teenager), the music has a completely different meaning to me because I am able to listen to and understand the lyrics. after listening to this song for years as a young child (like 5 to 8 years old), I finally put it back in the CD player at the age of 15 and I just started crying. It is an amazingly sad and beautiful song.
    Colosimoon May 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI should add that this is one of my very favorite Browne songs. There are so many that my favorites depend on what catagory we're talking about. For the catagory of life, death, and how to live it nothing beats For A Dancer. I cry when I hear it.
    rainmanjron May 09, 2007   Link

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