The artist of the song ‘Johnny Come Lately’ is Steve Earl also known as Stephen Fain Earle (born on January 17, 1955); an American song writer which seems to be a record producer, author and...
I'm an American, boys, I've come a long way
I was born and bred in the USA
So listen up close, I've got something to say
Boys, I'm buying this round

Well it took a little while, but we're in this fight
Ain't going home 'til we've done what's right
We're gonna drink Camden Town dry tonight
If I have to spend my last pound

When I first got to London it was pourin' down rain
Met a little girl in the field canteen
Painted her name on the nose of my plane
Six more missions, I'm gone

Well I asked if I could stay and she said that I might
Then the warden came around yelling "shut out the lights"
Death rainin' out of the London night
We made love 'til dawn

But when Johnny come lately comes marching home
His chest full of medals and a G.I. loan
They'll be waitin' at the station down in San Antone
When Johnny comes marching home

My P-47 is a pretty good ship
And she took a round comin' cross the Channel last trip
I was thinkin' 'bout my baby and letting her rip
Always got me through so far

Well they can ship me all over this great big world
I've never find nothing like my North End girl
I'm taking her home with me one day, sir
Soon as we win this war

But when Johnny come lately comes marching home
Chest full of medals and a G.I. loan
They'll be waitin' at the station down in San Antone
When Johnny comes marching home, Johnny

Now my grandaddy sang this song
Told me about London when the Blitz was on
How he married grandma and brought her back home
A hero throughout his land

Now I'm standing on a runway in San Diego
A couple Purple Hearts and move a little slow
There's nobody here, maybe nobody knows
About a place called Vietnam

But when Johnny Come Lately comes marching home
With a chest full of medals and a G.I. loan
They'll be waitin' at the station down in San Antone
When Johnny comes marching home

Now when Johnny come lately comes marching home
Chest full of medals and a G.I. loan
They'll be waitin' at the station down in San Antone
When Johnny comes marching home, Johnny


Lyrics submitted by jenners

"Johnny Come Lately" as written by Steve Earle

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

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Johnny Come Lately song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAs with most Steve Earle songs this is simple to explain. Its sung as though by a WW2 USAF pilot verses 1-3.

    In verse 4 it is revealed that its actually being sang by a Vietnam Vet comparing his homecoming to his grandfathers.

    References
    G.I. loan - US govt. loan made to ex servicemen after the war.
    P47 - WW2 US fighter aircraft
    Purple Hearts - medals awarded for wounds
    gsleithon August 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song. This points out the differences between WW2 vetrans and Vietnam vetrans. World War 2 vets returned home as heros, and Vietname vets returned home as vilians.
    ILoutlawon February 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe only thing wrong with this song is he's the grandson, and he's fighting in Vietnam and Granddaddy in WW2. So If Granddaddy was one of the first US fighter pilots to come to UK in 1942 and the Grandson was one of the last GI's to leave Vietnam in 1973. Only 31 years between them, so why didn't he just call him Daddy? Other than that it's a great song
    michael517on February 03, 2014   Link

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