"The Stairs" as written by Andrew Charles Farriss and Michael Kelland Hutchence....
In a room above a busy street
The echoes of a life
The fragments and the accidents
Separated by incidents

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

Story to story
Building to building
Street to street we pass each other

Story to story
Building to building
Street to street we pass each other

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

The nature of your tragedy
Is chained around your neck
Do you lead or are you lead
Are you sure that you don't care?

There are reasons here to give your life
And follow in your way
The passion lives to keep your faith
Though all are different, all are great

Climbing as we fall
We dare to hold on to our fate
And steal away our destiny
To catch ourselves with quiet grace

Story to story
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs

Listen to by the walls
We share the same spaces
Repeated in the corridors
Performing the same movements

Story to story
Building to building
Street to street
We pass each other on the stairs


Lyrics submitted by ms_gurr

"The Stairs" as written by Andrew Farriss Michael Hutchence

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

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

The Stairs song meanings
Add your thoughts

14 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentI love that this song is open to so many personal interpretations. Hutchence said it was about city life, but I've always read a deeper meaning based on that idea. "Story to Story" always seemed to me to have a double meaning. That is that whether you're going up or down, whichever way in life, we pass each other and don't take advantage of making connections. I don't think of him saying it in a judgmental way, just a gentle nudge that you could make more of connecting with people if you wanted. Great song all the way around.
    djupdogon October 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWonderful song, my favorite by INXS. America, the nation where our neighbors are strangers.
    Abq_physon February 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't like this song but it's one of the best lyrics of INXS. I don't think this song refers only to America. In my opinion refers to the people who live around the world. They share the same problems each day, no matter where they live. The narrator believes that people will find a way for better future. So generally it's an optimistic song albeit the stairs lead in two directions, up and down, so it might suggest that some people go ahead with hope, the other ones suffer depression.
    Voodemaron August 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust throwin somethin different out there
    I think this could be about 2 people who are considering attempting suicide
    one has gone to the top of a building and has decided not 2 do it and the other is on the way up to jump off the building
    the one on the way down has a positive outlook on life and attempts to convince him not to jump
    hence lines like the echoes of a life
    they both have similar stories and are reflectin on their lives
    haydoson September 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the live version on Live Baby Live, superb.
    mrgrumbleon April 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBest INXS song I've heard... so far.

    The lyrics are a brilliant piece of poetry. I don't know what they mean but I do know that the verse "There are reasons here to give your life, and follow in your way, the passion lives to keep the faith, though all are different, all are great" is written across my heart. I wholeheartedly support and BELIEVE these lyrics.

    On the outside it looks like a song about city life. If you dig deeper you will find multiple meanings. And now when I walk up a long flight of stairs I'll always think of this song.
    EnduringChillon July 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI was recently making a fan video for this song and the image choice made me realize a new story behind it. Continuing from haydos's idea that it's about suicide, I realized the story is about two lovers/friends. One wants to kill him/herself (the nature of your tragedy is chained around your neck) because he/she feels there is no point to life, that someone is just yanking a chain-link leash to keep him/her going (do you lead or are you led? Are you sure that you don't care?) The next verse has changed drastically in how I view it now. The line "There are reasons here to give your life and follow in your way" sounds indeed like suicide. If someone can accurately explain the "passion lives to keep the faith" line, that would be helpful. Then the other person trying to talk the suicidal one out of it- "Though all are different, all are great." Then, "climbing as we fall" is a metaphor for how one tries to survive under so much pressure... "We dare to hold on to our fate" means they are daring to live this life and see what's in store for them. "And steal away our destiny, to catch ourselves with quiet grace"- actually that sounds a little bit like they went ahead and jumped/pushed the chair away anyway. Hm.

    So basically I think the song is about inner-city suicide and the relationships in such a city.
    EnduringChillon December 23, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about religion and the many different ones in the world. "...the nature of your tragedy is chained around your neck..." Many people wear the symbol of their religion around their necks. The "tragedy" is perhaps speaking to the prejudice that is associated with the various religions. "Do you lead? or are you led? are you sure that you don't care?" I think speaks to those who "practice what they preach" vs. just going to church or synagogue or temple, and the fact that they may not care speaks perhaps to atheism. "There are reasons here to give your life and follow in your way" speaks again to devoting ones life to their religion. "The passion lives to keep the faith, though all are different, all are great" I think speaks for itself. People are passionate about their religion, and although there are many religions, all are great...no one is better than another. It's about the belief; that you believe in your faith. In general, it speaks to how we can all pass each other, every day, everywhere...how we all exist together. We are the same, yet different because of our religious beliefs and it doesn't make one of us better than the other.
    AFanon April 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationHutchence always said this song was about city life. I think while it can be interpreted deeper, it relates to what he wanted.

    In a big city so many of our lives have the same movements, same repeats and yet we never know it or the people we pass on the street or in our buildings. At times we get so wrapped in our life that it can be like a chain around our neck and it begins to lead us instead of us leading our own life. We have reasons to give up this life and seek our own forms of "greatness" through our passion or the things we love but we have to want it bad enough.
    phxandyon November 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@Abq_phys We don't want to be strangers! I appreciate all the gifts Australia has shared with us! ✌️
    KissTheDirton June 04, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain