"Who Killed Davey Moore?" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not I," says the referee,
"Don't point your finger at me.
I could've stopped it in the eighth
An' maybe kept him from his fate,
But the crowd would've booed, I'm sure,
At not gettin' their money's worth.
It's too bad he had to go,
But there was a pressure on me too, you know.
It wasn't me that made him fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not us," says the angry crowd,
Whose screams filled the arena loud.
"It's too bad he died that night
But we just like to see a fight.
We didn't mean for him t' meet his death,
We just meant to see some sweat,
There ain't nothing wrong in that.
It wasn't us that made him fall.
No, you can't blame us at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says his manager,
Puffing on a big cigar.
"It's hard to say, it's hard to tell,
I always thought that he was well.
It's too bad for his wife an' kids he's dead,
But if he was sick, he should've said.
It wasn't me that made him fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?


"Not me," says the gambling man,
With his ticket stub still in his hand.
"It wasn't me that knocked him down,
My hands never touched him none.
I didn't commit no ugly sin,
Anyway, I put money on him to win.
It wasn't me that made him fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says the boxing writer,
Pounding print on his old typewriter,
Sayin', "Boxing ain't to blame,
There's just as much danger in a football game."
Sayin', "Fist fighting is here to stay,
It's just the old American way.
It wasn't me that made him fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says the man whose fists
Laid him low in a cloud of mist,
Who came here from Cuba's door
Where boxing ain't allowed no more.
"I hit him, yes, it's true,
But that's what I am paid to do.
Don't say 'murder,' don't say 'kill.'
It was destiny, it was God's will."

Who killed Davey Moore,
Why an' what's the reason for?


Lyrics submitted by HagbardCeline

"Who Killed Davey Moore" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Who Killed Davey Moore? song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIt was March of 1963 in a triple title night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Davey Moore had succesfully defended his Featherweight title 5 times and put it on the line against the Cuban Sugar Ramos. Ramos knocked the 5'2" Moore down into the ropes in the tenth round but Moore who was nicknamed The Little Giant popped up and finished the fight. He lost in the scorecards however and the title was transferred to Ramos. Moore walked back to the locker room and in a post-fight interview stated he couldn't wait to fight Ramos again to get his title back. Shortly after the reporters left Moore complained of headaches and fell unconscious. He died of inoperable brain damage in a local hospital where his wife had been flown to meet him. Geraldine Moore, on being informed of her husband's death said "It was God's will" and fainted.

    Dylan wrote this in '63 back when he was doing a lot of social protest songs. This one however is different. I'll warn you, don't read too much into it as far as Dylan's perspective is concerned. I don't think Dylan believes boxing is all that bad. Dylan's rival Phil Ochs had written a song called Davey Moore and it seems as though Dylan wrote his version to show his superiority as a songwriter. It does man's and society's hypocrisy - and in that aspect very Dylanesque, yet if you think Dylan wrote this song to lead a flowers and bandanas revolution against boxing you might as well puke up the mushrooms.

    An additional irony was added to Dylan's song when doctors concluded the autopsy of Davey Moore. Apparently when Moore had fallen in the tenth round his head had hit the ropes in what doctors called a "thousand to one" accident. The bottom rope had caused the brain to swell in the back which eventually proved fatal. So who killed Davey Moore? The inanimate and unfeeling ropes of the ring. The ropes that seperate the fighter from the crowd. Created by folks in some warehouse of a sports manufacturing company either to help hold men up or be pinned against.
    nigelmustaphaon December 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFor sure, it is about the death of Davey Moore, but also the same mentality that Dylan is criticizing is behind many of our social ills. The tendency to place blame and point fingers instead of taking ownership for our role in all of these things. Environmental issues are an easy fit. We all criticize the policy makers and the corporations, that are the direct cause, but really we all contribute to these ills in our own individual lifestyles. We do not insist that the corporations we work for operate in an environmentally friendly manner. We take the paycheck and go home and throw our bottles in the recycler like that's all we can do. We do not employ the age-old peaceful protest tactics of walk outs, or boycotts nearly frequently enough. We make signs and hold them up at protest rallies, but then do nothing when our jobs are on the line. Not everyone, but many. Not always, but often. Take ownership and affect change from the ground up.
    dustybasicson March 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDylan paints a picture of our violent society and how all of the people who say its not their fault davy moores dead are actually guilty in a way. it was our society who killed davy moore.
    Inpeaceon December 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about he died him. omg
    howmanydrumstickson December 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhy worry about blame? people get killed for less than that. boxers should know their limits better than anyone else.
    freeter mcbeanon December 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! ONLY 3 POSTS!?! Although the first post hit the nail (donkey*) on the head

    * donkey was a randomly chosen animal, i dont hate donkeys
    :)4thecameraon May 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone know who it was really based off of? If anyone?
    jimmyjamesjack87on July 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOH wait I guess Davey Moore was his real name, I figured he might've changed it because on the live 1964 album he says "this was taken out of the newspaper... nothing has been changed... except the words."
    jimmyjamesjack87on July 16, 2007   Link

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