Poor John Henry could never prove his worth I sure hope he makes it in the end
So frustrated always underrated I sure hope he makes it in the end
He wakes up each day always empty handed I sure hope he makes it in the end

Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...
Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...
Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...yourself

Poor Mary Ellen ended up with John I sure hope she makes it in the end
She works for nothing and nothing works for her I sure hope she makes it in the end
John and Mary like so many I sure hope they make it in the end

Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...
Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...
Do you ever think of me 'cause I'll be thinking of you and you'll be thinking of...yourself


Lyrics submitted by geekusa

The Ballad Of Poor John Henry song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWell, of course, due to the popularity of the many ballads about tall tale figure John Henry, one would expect this song to be about the infamous steel-driver. However, the song's first line describes that he could never prove his worth - quite unlike the legend. And the John Henry of Legend's wife was named Polly Ann.

    So taking the couple in this ballad to be different, we see that John Henry and Mary Ellen are down on their luck ("She works for nothing and nothing works for her", struggling to make it in life as they have nothing ("He wakes up each day empty handed").

    The chorus is interesting, open to interpretation as being addressed towards the couple or perhaps from John to Mary or vice versa. In general, it seems to be about those people you remember and think about, even if you're not helping them in their hard times. How often have we all thought of a friend and wondered if they ever think of us in return? What starts as a question turns into an accusation, as the "you" in the song thinks only of "yourself". Maybe these are the people who've moved on past John. Maybe John Henry's so caught up in his struggles that he never thinks of others. I'm not sure, but I hope other people start to comment on this amazing group.
    FireStillBurnson January 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me cry everytime I hear it...
    maybe it's the video that does it, I don't know.
    handsonmywaiston January 21, 2006   Link

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