"Carolina Rain" as written by and Ryan Adams....
Rose lived on the south side of town
Until her landlord showed up with two hundred dollar bills
A notice of eviction on the other hand
Now she don't live there no more
And everyone thinks he drowned

I pulled into Mecklenburg on them trains
Into a station that got flooded when they opened up the dam
And broke their connections to the railway lines
So they could blast into the quarry
And for every load of granite
We got a ton of worry

One night at the diner over eggs
Over easy she showed me the length of her legs
But that gold plated cross on her neck, it was real
And you don't get that kind of money from pushing meal

I should've told him that you were the one for me
But I lied, but I lied
To most any drifter whose looking for work is too weird
I met your sister and I married her in July
But if only to be closer to you, Caroline

Percy and I moved down the street
Until we lost two pretty girls
One was seven and one was three
Alderman and Caroline owned the house right up the hill
Where we laid those babies down
So they could still see our house

Suspicion got the best of old Alderman Haint
He owned an auto parts store off the interstate
But the lord took him home in July
And then Rose spilled the beans on the day that he died
We was in trouble

I should've told him that you were the one for me
But I lied, but I lied
Tied up to concrete at the bottom of the quarry
With a tattoo on his heart that spelled out "Caroline"
He was silent but his rosary
Well, it drifted into the custody
Of a sheriff that was just deputized

And I was down at the banquet hall
When two guys came up, pretty angry and drunk
And I'm still here at the banquet hall
At the banquet hall
Where the gun went off in the Carolina rain
In the Carolina rain
In the Carolina rain
Oh, Caroline


Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry

"Carolina Rain" as written by Ryan Adams

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Carolina Rain song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI always thought "I'm still here at the banquet hall where the gun went off..." was about some kind of brawl that went down "where two guys came up pretty angry and drunk" where the narrator got shot and so his ghost/spirit/whatever kind of lingers in the 'banquet hall' (or whatever that's a metaphor for) so he's still there. If that makes any sense!
    hannah26on June 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I met your sister and I married her in July
    But if only to be closer to you, Caroline"
    favourite part.
    MaggieCareyon January 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationLove Ryan. This is one of my favorite songs by him, but it's tough as hell to interpret. This is my analysis after hours of study. Please give me feedback.

    The narrator is involved with Rose at the beginning of the song, and he helps her kill her landlord as revenge because he evicted her and is possibly bribing her? The landlord's body is dumped in the quarry which is why they "got a ton of worry" with every "load of granite." The narrator then meets Caroline at the diner and falls in love, but she's with rich guy Alderman Haint. Percy (Caroline's sister)and the narrator obviously get married and experience a great tragedy (two pretty girls) that seems unrelated as far as I can tell, but maybe is included to show the passage of time? Alderman becomes suspicious of the narrator's desire for Caroline, so the narrator kills him and dumps his body in the quarry. Rose knows the narrator is dangerous and has a motive for killing her since she knows about how he killed the landlord. She might even think he killed his daughters. How did they die? I don't know. Rose spills the beans to protect herself. Alderman's rosary eventually "drifts into custody" of the novice sheriff. Novice sheriff isn't trusted to carry out adequate justice which is why the two angry, drunk men kill the narrator at the banquet hall. They might even think he killed his daughters.
    bluetangledon December 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI do not agree that one needs to be an American Southerner to understand this story, but the Faulkner comparison is in my opinion apt, particularly with regard to how this narration seems to skip around a bit in terms of timeline at the beginning, and how the author chooses to indicate the passage of time through imagery.

    Rose is down on her luck, and about to be evicted. Her landlord "shows up with two hundred dollar bills", so she knows he has cash, and she enlists the help of a "drifter who's looking for work" (the narrator), to travel by train to Mecklenburg and help her kill the landlord and dump his body in the quarry, splitting the cash down the middle.

    The narrator would have left town by train afterward, but the station "got flooded when they opened up the dam". So he is stuck, and anxiously awaits its reopening, because "for every load of granite, we got a ton of worry", fearing that the body of the landlord would be discovered.

    During this waiting period, the narrator falls in love with a woman in town named Caroline who works in a diner. He knows that she is taken by another man, because "that gold plated cross on her neck, it was real, and you don't get that kind of money from pushing meal". Whether or not he discloses his feelings to her is ambiguous. The lyrics quoted here are "I should've told him that you were the one for me", but i have also heard Ryan sing it as "I should've told her that she was the one for me". Either way, he makes the decision to stay in Mecklenburg because he is in love with Caroline.

    Caroline marries the man who gave her the gold cross, Alderman Haint. The narrator marries Caroline's sister, Percy, in order to stay close to her. The narrator then settles down in Mecklenburg for a number of years, during which time he suffers a great deal, because not only is he forced to conceal his feelings for his wife's sister, but also fathers two children who both die before the age of 7.

    So the narrator has concealed 2 secrets during the 7 years he has known Alderman Haint, one being the murder of Rose's landlord, the other being his affection for Haint's wife Caroline. At some point after the deaths of the children, "Suspicion got the best of old Alderman Haint". Which of the 2 secrets Haint uncovered remains ambiguous, but the narrator decides to murder Haint and dump his body in the quarry.

    "He was silent but his rosary well, it drifted into the custody of a sheriff that was just deputized". Haint's body remains undiscovered, but his rosary becomes dislodged from his body and floats to the surface of the quarry, coming into the possession of an inexperienced sheriff. It is clear that Haint has been murdered, but the sheriff is thus far unable to pin the murder on the narrator, since the narrator is never taken into custody but is still "down at the banquet hall". Nevertheless, evidence is now in play, and the narrator is now quite nervous.

    Rose, who has apparently remained in Mecklenburg as well, "spilled the beans on the day that he died", which means she knows about the murder of Haint almost immediately, presumably because the narrator confides his offense to her. Rose decides to turn on the narrator, her former partner in crime. She sees his desperation and feels threatened, because if the novice sheriff is able to figure out that the narrator is the murderer and arrest him, the narrator might confess to the original landlord murder as well, implicating her in the process. Preferring that the narrator die before he has a chance to blow her cover, she discloses to the townsfolk that the narrator is the culprit, and vigilante justice is carried out in the banquet hall by some angry drunken locals, "where the gun went off".
    ewartmjon October 20, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthe makes a lot of references to eggs, in this and a few other songs.
    this is one of my top 3 from "29"
    Falafel_is_goodon January 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the third verse, "One night at the diner..." and how Adams plays with the words to intertwine the dining scene and how it somehow led to some sexual encounter with Caroline. It seems so blurred together like it probably actually happened to the man in the song. Ryan is a genius.
    keller8902on February 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the third verse, "One night at the diner..." and how Adams plays with the words to intertwine the dining scene and how it somehow led to some sexual encounter with Caroline. It seems so blurred together like it probably actually happened to the man in the song. Ryan is a genius.
    keller8902on February 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song is set in north carolina. mecklienburg is a county there. other than that the song is pretty self explanatory
    thesoundsystmon July 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe thing that is easy to mull over in this song is that the narrator killed alderman by trying him to concrete in the bottom of the quarry. "And everyone thinks he drowned." Which explains all of the song except the last part about the banquet hall.
    drewdewson December 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm from germany so excuse me bad english. I really love this song since it was released and tonight they played it on the radio and the guy in the radio told the story. I used to understand it except of the ending but now i know that caroline married a sherrif after Aldermans death ( i don't think he was killed) and so the narrator kill the two guys and waits until the sheriff arrest him. then he stays in prison and so he is still near the sheriff and caroline
    Little_Boy_Belleon December 25, 2006   Link

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