"Frank And Jesse James" as written by and Warren Zevon....
On a small Missouri farm
Back when the west was young
Two boys learned to rope and ride
And be handy with a gun
War broke out between the states
And they joined up with Quantrill
And it was over in Clay county
That Frank and Jesse finally learned to kill
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the rivers and the range
Keep on riding, riding, riding Frank and Jesse James
After Appomattox they were on the loosing side
So no amnesty was granted
And as outlaws they did ride
They rode against the railroads,
And they rode against the banks
And they rode against the governor
Never did they ask for a word of thanks
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the prairies and the plains
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Robert Ford, a gunman
Did exchange for his parole
Took the life of James the outlaw
Which he snuck up on and stole
No one knows just where they came to be misunderstood
But the poor Missouri farmers knew
Frank and Jesse do the best they could
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James
Keep on riding, riding, riding
'Til you clear your names
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Across the rivers and the range
Keep on riding, riding, riding
Frank and Jesse James


Lyrics submitted by jimmer-the-great

"Frank and Jesse James" as written by Warren Zevon

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Frank And Jesse James song meanings
Add your thoughts

5 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is a grate example of Zevon's excellent story telling abilities. His using a well known outlaw as the protagonist is the perfect example of an anti-hero (whether he intended it or not). It's also interesting that this (the first song on his self titled debut) and Desperados Under The Eaves (the last track on the same album) have identical intros (same key but different instruments) just really is amazing but I'm not sure if that meant anything or not.
    jimmer-the-greaton January 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is more about making fun of those people that idolize Jesse James. You have to understand that Warren's sarcasm comes in huge abundance but is always subtle.
    RoxorFuxoron September 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always professed that Warren Zevon is the greatest rhymer in rock, and this song proves it.
    He flawlessly rhymes Quantrill with kill, banks with thanks, etc, etc.
    Kind of reminds me of Billy Joel's song Billy The Kid, except that Billy was genuinely an angst-filled celebration of the outlaw/anti-hero, whereas this one, as RoxorFuxor stated, is more a sarcastic parody on the antihero theme.
    Anyway you look at it though, classic Zevon classic bluesy-rock. Just remarkable.
    TheThornBirdson March 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is actually a song he wrote aout the Everly Brothers. Warren used to be their musical arranger.
    velvet44on November 05, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was able to predict Walter White's death (Breaking bad antihero) from this song, during the first half of season 5 when everyone thought that he would get away with it.

    After I heard this song I researched it and learned about Robert Ford the Coward. I think I watched a documentary too.

    The line "Just because you kill Jesse James don't make you Jesse James". I had to watch it a few times but I blogged about it for a class.

    It's hard to be humble when you're a genius [robot voice].

    Here's a link to the blog: davidbowieub40.blogspot.com

    Go down to Hazard Pay.
    bkabbotton January 03, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain