"Tightrope" as written by and Jeff Lynne....
They say some days you're gonna win
They say some days you're gonna lose
I tell you I got news for you
Your losin' all the time you never win
If you believe that's how it's gonna be I'd better
Put you down
Get off your tightrope up there come down on
The ground you gotta save me now
You better turn around.
When I looked around, I was heading down,
Won't somebody throw me down a line.
They say some days you gotta give
They say some day s you gotta take
If that's the way it's gotta be
Roll it over and you will see
The city streets are full of people going
Nowhere making time
The change from night to day is really only hours
It's just along the line can't you see the sign
When I looked around, I was heading down
Won't somebody throw me down a line
I want to look you straight in the eye
I want to tell you how I really feel
I can feel the wheels turnin' round
Won't somebody throw me down a line
The city streets are full of people going
Nowhere making time
The change from night to day is really only hours
It's just along the line, can't you see the sign
When I closed my eyes, I was so surprised
Somebody had thrown me down the line
Stopped me drownin'


Lyrics submitted by SexieSadie

"Tightrope" as written by Jeff Lynne

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Tightrope song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a depressed person who was really pessimistic about life and people until someone actually helped him at a time when he wasn't expecting any.
    GrandZ13on August 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    MemoryThanks, Chris. You made me believe in people again.
    skoobie93on April 16, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI have always loved ELO and this song in particular. The song is fundamentally about depression and, ultimately, self help.

    The first verse of the song is a kind of 'call/answer', I imagine with the singers own conscience rather than an actual person. Negative self talk, if you like.

    >They say some days you're gonna win
    >They say some days you're gonna lose
    >I tell you I got news for you
    >You're losin' all the time you never win
    >If you believe that's how it's gonna be I'd better
    >Put you down

    The chorus part is an answer back to the positive part of the self conscience (or well meaning people). I guess you'd call it the chorus as it contains the title but this song doesn't really follow a conventional format.

    >Get off your tightrope up there come down on
    >The ground you gotta save me now
    >You better turn around.

    The metaphor Jeff Lynne uses is a good one... 'normal' people day to day are walking a tightrope. One false step or something unexpected and you'll plummet from 'normal' to 'depressed'. Clever.

    So... here the singer is saying instead of just giving me platitudes (like 'snap out of it' etc), get off your high horse (cf. high wire) and come down to the depths with me and do something about it.

    >When I looked around, I was heading down,
    >Won't somebody throw me down a line.

    In these two lines a sense of helplessness is conveyed. I know somethings wrong and but it's only getting worse. I'm turning to other people for the answer/solution but no one seems to be helping.

    >They say some days you gotta give
    >They say some days you gotta take
    >If that's the way it's gotta be
    >Roll it over and you will see

    Verse two is a play on the saying 'it give and take'. Here I take 'rolling it over' as figuratively turning the expression over. Presumably, from the tone of the song, it's all take and no give... :)

    >The city streets are full of people going
    >Nowhere making time

    These two lines caught my attention when I first heard them as a child many years ago. The image I had then was of walking zombies.. people who are filling their day with lots of activity but not much meaning (or perhaps deliberately superficial and avoiding looking for that deeper meaning). This also conveys how disassociated the singer is from the rest of the hoi-polloi.

    >The change from night to day is really only hours
    >It's just along the line can't you see the sign

    The next two lines are probably the simplest but the darkest lines in the song. Maybe touching on suicidal thoughts... hang in there and wait it out, the difference between feeling awful and wanting to kill yourself is only a matter of hours. Hang in there, there are signs that things will improve.

    >I want to look you straight in the eye
    >I want to tell you how I really feel
    >I can feel the wheels turnin' round
    >Won't somebody throw me down a line

    Here again is a sense of helplessness. They have to keep up an emotional facade and can't really tell someone how they're feeling. I know things are happening (wheels turning) but there's no change. Crucially, he again turns to other people for the answer/solution.

    >When I closed my eyes, I was so surprised
    >Somebody had thrown me down the line
    >Stopped me drownin'

    Ooh and here's the payoff (after some great music and lyrics!). In the end, the answer was within the person them self, 'the answer lies within' as it were. A case of 'musician heal thyself' :D
    bikkieflipperon December 28, 2014   Link

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