These are alternate lyrics from a live acoustic version Michelle Shocked played on the Dutch radio show "2 Meter Sessies" (a recording of which is available on 2 of their compilation CDs):...
I took time out to write to my old friend
I walked across that burning bridge
Mailed my letter off to Dallas
But her reply came from Anchorage, Alaska

[She said]
"Hey girl, it's about time you wrote
It's been over two years you know, my old friend
Take me back to the days of the foreign telegrams
And the all-night rock and rollin'... hey Shell
We was wild then

Hey Shell, you know it's kind of funny
Texas always seemed so big
But you know you're in the largest state in the union
When you're anchored down in Anchorage

Hey Girl, I think the last time I saw you
Was on me and Leroy's wedding day
What was the name of that love song they played?
I forgot how it goes
I don't recall how it goes

Anchored down in Anchorage

Leroy got a better job so we moved
Kevin lost a tooth now he's started school
I got a brand new eight month old baby girl
I sound like a housewife
Hey Shell, I think I'm a housewife

Hey Girl, what's it like to be in New York?
New York City - imagine that!
Tell me, what's it like to be a skateboard punk rocker?

Leroy says "Send a picture"
Leroy says "Hello"
Leroy says "Oh, keep on rocking, girl"
"yeah, keep on rocking"

Hey Shell, you know it's kind of funny
Texas always seemed so big
But you know you're in the largest state in the union
When you're anchored down in Anchorage
Oh, Anchorage
Anchored down in Anchorage
Oh, Anchorage

Lyrics submitted by bladet

"Anchorage" as written by Michelle Shocked


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Anchorage song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentTo ringfingers,

    I'm not saying you are wrong, but I don't think that's what this song is about at all. To me, it's simply a song about someone who really misses an old friend, that's it.

    To Island Myk--It's also possible that Leroy isn't overbearing at all. Perhaps he doesn't know the protagonist well enough, but still wants to say "hello". But I think you might be right about a couple of friends who "used to be wild and free" and now one of them is married with kids.

    I know the feeling, in a way. I'm married and in my early 30s and play bass in a bar band with my sibling and my cousins. We used to play four or five gigs every weekend. It's getting harder and harder to do now because everyone has family and work obligations now. At most we do 2 or 3 gigs a month now.
    Susan_The_BassPlayeon September 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song rocks.
    oh.pinknesson September 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, love the lyrics and the background. One question - where is the 'burning bridge'?
    glenmanon March 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a rocking song and I can't believe it's the only one of hers this site sports. I shall be donating some lyrics to more.
    __Scarleton March 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGlenman, there's no actual "burning bridge." She's singing about getting back in touch with a relationship she had been neglecting. It's the old metaphor about "burning your bridges," cutting off connections to your past. Her connection to this friend was in danger of disappearing.
    Kyomaraon December 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a great song and artist one of my favourite's
    Skagon May 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the "what's it like to be skateboard punk rocker."
    Also, a brand new eight-month old baby girl.
    But the best part of the song to me is when she sings "Leroy says hello" and her voice goes high on the first syllable.

    The meaning is pretty obvious; she mailed a letter to an old friend in Texas but found out she'd moved to Alaska.
    iluomoon December 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo add to iluomo's entry...I think the song's about a couple of friends who used to be wild and free, but one of them got married, had some kids, and found herself kind of stuck in Alaska as a housewife while the other is still out there, living the musician's life.

    Sounds like Leroy might be a little overbearing, since it seems like she can't even write a letter to an old friend without him butting in and adding his two cents.

    So, maybe the song is about the peril of settling down at the expense of your dreams.
    IslandMykon February 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am honestly really surprised at how little understanding there is of this song - obviously she has been fawning over this old female friend of hers for some time, and there are multiple suggestions that they might have hooked up at some previous time; her ex-crush is now "anchored down in Anchorage", whereas she would prefer her to be available, now that, as the letter to her seems to suggest, she realizes her entrapment in Alaska/heterosexuality, etc.
    ringfingerson March 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEven though that old friend is reminiscing, fondly, about the all night rock-n-roll days... I think she's the happier of the two.

    At least, that's my take on it, as a mom who sometimes remembers those days of the foreign telegrams, but who couldn't be happier that those days & the lessons that I learned then lead me to these days, now.
    pinkthingon February 19, 2010   Link

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