"My Father's Gun" as written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin....
From this day on I own my father's gun
We dug his shallow grave beneath the sun
I laid his broken body down below the Southern land
It wouldn't do to bury him where any Yankee stands

I'll take my horse and I'll ride the northern plain
To wear the color of the greys and join the fight again
I'll not rest until I know the cause is fought and won
From this day on until I die I'll wear my father's gun

I'd like to know where the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
So slip us a rope and sail on round the bend

As soon as this is over we'll go home
To plant the seeds of justice in our bones
To watch the children growing and see the women sewing
There'll be laughter when the bells of freedom ring

I'd like to know where the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
All I said, all I said, slip us a rope and sail on round the bend

I'd like to know where the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
All I said, all I said, slip us a rope and sail on round the bend, oh

I'd like to know where the riverboat, the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
All I said, all I said, slip us a rope and sail on round the bend

I'd like to know where the riverboat, the riverboat, the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine, that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
All I said is slip us a rope and sail on round the bend

I'd like to know where the riverboat sails tonight
To New Orleans well that's just fine, that's just fine alright
'Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men
All I said, all I said, slip us a rope and sail on round the bend

Riverboat sails tonight
That's just fine, alright
Ah ah ah ah
Slip us a rope, sail, sail around, sail around the bend
Riverboat sails tonight


Lyrics submitted by suckmykiss

"My Father's Gun" as written by Elton John Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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My Father's Gun song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis song is about a Southern man whose father has died fighting in the American Civil War. The lyrics "I'll take my horse and I'll ride the northern plain
    To wear the colour of the greys and join the fight again"
    Tell us that he is going back to fighting the yankees as a confederate soldier. The confederacy wore gray uniforms, and the union wore blue. The reference to riding the northern plains puts the location of the song somewhere in the western theater of operations, where deep raids into Yankee and Confederate territory by cavalry were very common.
    The lyrics "To New Orleans well that's just fine alright
    `Cause there's fighting there and the company needs men"
    Again tell us that this is a confederate soldier, as the union troops did not take riverboats (operated by southern citizens) thru the south to New Orleans. Union troops who attacked New Orleans can by sea, through the gulf of Mexico.

    This song is about a poor (the vast majority of confederate soldiers were poor and owned no slaves) soldier whose father is killed in combat. He takes his father's gun and vows to continue to fight for their homeland and freedom. The song doesn't mention slavery, instead it talks about the plight of the average southern soldier, fighting a war he feels is just.
    ixilthicilixon December 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is going to get a lot of play thanks to Cameron Crowe and his new movie "Elizabethtown." Don't know if it'll hit "Tiny Dancer" status, but still a great song in its own right, and seems to fit the film's sentiment perfectly.
    srh1sonon June 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always liked this song, it has one of the bes choruses ever, but Taupins subject matter is...strange. Pointlessly romantisicing the Conferacy seems very weird for an Englishman.
    AntBMSUon October 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had not heard this song a long time, and then I heard it again when I went to see Elizabethtown. Musically it just fit so well where they put it in the movie, (as did every other song in the movie) but I just love this song. It makes me feel strangely nostalgic about growing up and being young for some reason. I just absolutely love it.
    pixie9on November 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know I heard this song many many years ago but as pixie and srh1son had said ever since i have seen elizabeth town it has a whole new meaning for me. Aces to that song and that movie
    iluvsamon July 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's kinda catchy :)
    ohplease(!)on August 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, it references the American civil war. But I don't think it's really at all ABOUT the civil war.

    The narrator is clearly in the North, living peacably. It would be easier to bury his father close to where he lives, but he goes out of his way to bury his father in the South. His father, was either involved in the Confederacy or sympathized with them.

    As someone who grew up in the South (Texas), there are to this day alot of people (myself NOT included) who sympathize with the Confederacy. Not because of slavery or racism, but a sort of antifederalist sentiment. The Confederacy rejected the increasing power of the national government over state and local law, slavery was just on of these issues. The confederacy is widely used in the South not only as a symbol of symbol of racism, but young rebellion, Jeffersonian libertarianism, and state pride. This is especially true in Mississippi, which retains the Confederate flag as its state flag, despite a large African American population.

    I could be influenced unduly by Elizabethtown, but this doesn't have to literally be about a Civil War vet. The Civil War wasn't long enough to be a generational war in most cases.

    It could very well be about a son in more recent timeswho had rejected his father's conservative southern values, represented by his Confederate leanings and onely carrying a firearm. In his father's death he has symbolically taken up his father's cause out of sentimentality and respect.

    The references to New Orleans and the river boat are references to the fastest way south in the war period, but are obviously not literal because as a previous poster noted, both Galveston and New Orleans were blockaded to prevent the South from receiving aid from the English.
    thomas_shawon January 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song just makes me happy when I hear it. Just like Orlando and Kirsten dance in the film, it makes me dance too, in a certain way to forget all problems and just thinks of the song and dance in a kind of 'trance' way.. you know what I mean? hmm probably not, but anyway, great song!! :D
    LaurieB89on March 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can't hear this song without thinking of my grandfather, a police office for 27 years, so strong, so hard, but when he died he was soft, just a broken body waiting to die, a sweet man ready to be with my grandmother. it brings me to tears. i was listening to this song on the way to the hospital where he eventually laid to rest. it was a hard but a release to let him go. he was greatly loved.
    caircoon November 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song does very well what many have tried to do and failed,dispel the myth that your enemy in a war is an evil villain when in many many instances he's just a man like you trying to live up to his code.
    jackwinabox57on December 05, 2016   Link

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