"Wrecking Ball" as written by Gillian Howard Welch and David Todd Rawlings....
Look out boys, 'cause I'm a rollin' stone
That's what I was when I first left home
I took every secret that I'd ever known
And headed for the wall
Like a wrecking ball

Started down on the road to sin
Playin' bass under a pseudonym
The days were rough, and it's all quite dim
But my mind cuts through it all
Like a wrecking ball

Oh, just a little deadhead
Who is watching, who is watching
I's just a little deadhead

I won a dollar on a scholarship
Well, I got tired and let my average slip
Then I's a farmer in the pogonip
Of a weed that I recall
Was like a wrecking ball

Met a lovesick daughter of the San Joaquin
She showed me colors I'd never seen
Drank the bottom out of my canteen
Then left me in the fall
Like a wrecking ball

Standin' there, in the morning mist
A Jack & Coke at the end my wrist
I remember when first we kissed
'Though it was nothing at all
Like a wrecking ball

Hey boys, a little deadhead
Who's watching, who's watching
I's just a little deadhead

With too much trouble for me to shake
Oh, the weather and the blindin' ache
Was ridin' high until the '89 quake
Hit the Santa Cruz Garden Mall
Like a wrecking ball


Lyrics submitted by bluedogbeads

"Wrecking Ball" as written by Gillian Howard Welch David Todd Rawlings

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Wrecking Ball song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAbsolutely beautiful and powerful song, autobiographical or not and seems to chronicle a life's stages through "sin", not living up to parent's or other people's expectations of you and living a life off the grid or finding and following your own path perhaps made easier after having your mind's eye opened and seeing colors, life, the world, beauty, love as though you had never seen them before after you "met a *Love*Sick *Daughter of the San Joaquin" or had an LSD experience, in reference and an earthquake to shake you awake in case you weren't already paying attention to the way you should go in your life.
    That's my gut take on it.
    These two's music gets to my heart and soul and makes me happy and appreciative of life in the same manner. So real. Such love.
    I saw them in Chicago and it was an incredible time. I dearly hope they come back.
    slickeronstateon March 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is gutwrenching, I love it, so powerful... Gillian's voice is perfect over the loopy electric guitar, it all just fits together... I think this is a pretty personal, autobiographical song for Gillian... but still I can relate to it. "My mind cuts through it all / Like a wrecking ball."
    smallwonderroboton July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song came on while I was driving back from seeing my dog for the last time before she was put to sleep. as soon as it started to play I began to cry.
    crippledmcgimpon June 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe she was channeling Bob Dylan singing Like A Rolling Stone. Great great song.
    bobwaitson April 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had been listening to this song for a few years at least when I started actually hearing some of the lyrics, and I started to pick out what seemed to be references to Santa Cruz, California, somewhere I lived for a while. I looked into it and was surprised that she had lived there, too, attending college at UC Santa Cruz.

    She mentions "the Pogonip," which is a trail and area of the mountains behind UC Santa Cruz. These lyrics make it sound like she dropped out of classes to grow weed out in the woods there. I agree with slickeronstate about the "Lovesick Daughter"— it's probably a reference to taking LSD with her hippy friends in Santa Cruz. Lord knows it's a common enough practice there, especially back in the eighties.

    The '89 quake was a big event in central California. The epicenter was in the forest of Nisene Marks, which is a beautiful place. I hiked by there once; there's a little monument even. My old piano teacher's daughter was in college at UCSC at the time, and I remember hearing stories from her about it. I remember the Bay Bridge in San Francisco collapsed and I'm pretty sure there were some casualties.

    Anyway, it surprised me to suddenly make this connection with a song I already thought was beautiful, to suddenly find the lyrics run parallel to my own personal childhood mythology. And I figured it might be insightful to mention UCSC and Gillian's time there. Love this album.

    ~profanelexicon~
    profanelexiconon April 28, 2017   Link

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