I count the cases piled up high
For the 1:15.
For platform and for passerby
It's the same routine.
I'm ranting while I’m raving,
There's nothing here worth saving.

Tell me now, what more do you need?
Take me to Walter Reed tonight.
Baby I've lost the will for fighting
Over everything.
Well there's a few things I gotta say
And make no mistake, I'm mad…
'Cause every good thing I've had
Abandoned me.

All I want to do is hide.
It's graduation day
And everything I learned inside
Didn't seem to pay.
I've had my fill of palm trees
And lighting up Grauman's Chinese.

Tell me now, what more do you need?
Take me to Walter Reed tonight.
Baby I've lost the will for fighting
Over everything
And there's a few things I gotta say.
Make no mistake, I'm mad.
'Cause every good thing I had
Abandoned me.

A sad and lonesome me.

I'm the walking wounded
And I'd say it to your face
But I can't find my place.

So tell me now, what more do you need?
Take me to Walter Reed tonight.
Baby I've lost the will for fighting
Over everything
And there's a few things I gotta say.
Make no mistake, I'm mad
'Cause every good thing I had
Abandoned me.

A sad and lonesome me.
A sad and lonesome me.
A sad and lonesome me.


Lyrics submitted by SphagnumEsplanade

Walter Reed song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think you're right but it seems like there's another level to it too. According to Wikipedia, Grauman's Chinese is "a world-famous movie theatre located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California." It also says, "The song 'Walter Reed' from the album Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 by Michael Penn contains the lyrics, 'I've had my fill of palm trees and lighting up Grauman's Chinese. Tell me now what more do you need, take me to Walter Reed tonight' The contrast presented by these lines suggests that the song title refers not to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but instead to the Walter Reade Theater in New York City."

    From this it seems like it's about someone leaving LA for NYC and comparing it to giving up the battle, with the pun on Walter Reed.
    Isabella_de_Reimson November 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about life. Not the girlfriend or the literal interpretation involving Walter Reed.

    ‘Count the cases piled up high’. What cases? On a train platform for people leaving? Or a hospital ward for people ailing? It doesn’t matter because they are all the ‘…same routine’. It’s the same picture of life’s casualties. They are there every day. And it’s because the singer’s life suffers from the fact that ‘every good thing I new abandoned me’. And its about the repetitiveness of life, the routine, and that change is nigh impossible!

    He is saying this about HIS life. That he is the way he is and he wants to be made better, hence, ‘…take me to Walter Reed’. It was used on ‘House’, essentially about a misanthropic man who happens to be a Doctor; ‘Count the cases piled up high’ of which he is one. He also thought he had found meaning which is why he went to College but ‘…. everything I learned inside didn't seem to pay’. The fun of life is also routine when he says ‘ I’ve had my fill of Palm trees…’ etc. He is fed up with life and probably depressed.

    This is why its such a great song. In the hopelessness of life you find great art, which this is. Like ‘ Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde where he finally found his soul and wrote ‘De Profundis’. If you listen to ‘Crying’ by Roy Orbison this is about a man who meets someone, who dumped him earlier, and they have a superficial conversation but he is still hurting inside. We have all had those moments where we are ripped up inside and have gone home to cry but Roy Orbison managed to go home and write about it from his soul and the rest is history.

    Michael Penn has also written about what we feel (hopefully occasionally) about life and the desolation of it all. ‘Tell me now what more do you need’. The YOU is us and all the people he has ever known. What is the point? It’s a great song borne out of pain but rather than feel self-pity on its own (which he does) he has also written about his feelings and hopefully he feels a great deal better by realising that the ‘YOU’ is him and the answer lies there.
    mstateon June 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was featured in the House episode last week (October 31, 2006). It played near the end, as Foreman comforts the patient and House drives his motorcycle.
    mmkg_28on November 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone know who Walter Reed is?
    kirotourmalineon November 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWalter Reed was an army doctor during the civil war, he had an army hopsital named after him, and was buried in Arlington.

    The song to me means that this guy is tired of fighting a war he cant win and he is wounded and he just doesnt want to fight any more. ANd he just wants to go to the hospital for wounded soldiers.
    Skippy921on November 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWalter Reed is the name of the hospital that Presidents get treatment at. Therefore it's, theoretically, the best hospital in the USA.

    This guy has found out the life he's living is over, sounds like he's tired of fighting with his girlfriend. Graduation day means he's come of age, reached a level of maturity, had an epiphany about what's going on with him. Walking wounded refers to warriors who aren't able to fight but aren't mortally wounded.

    Graumann's is on the West Coast but it's significant of the Entertainment Business.

    It's a good song but it's just another song about a disillusioned songwriter / performer. Great Beatles sounds, I hope the rest of the album is as good
    Ansyenon January 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to me that the song goes back and forth between the point of view of the actual Walter Reed and a young med student who plans on working there.

    The first verse is Reed's point of view as he leaves the battlefront, taking a train with a load of coffins. He's saying this sight is too common, that death has become routine, and that if the war keeps going like it's going there won't be enough life left for a doctor to save.

    The second verse is a med student at or just after he graduates. He's scared of going out into the real world, afraid that nothing he learned will help him and that he won't be able to save a patient. I see the line about Grauman's Chinese Theater being his resolve to do something useful with his life- the theater is a symbol of wasted time, watching movies instead of making a difference.

    The chorus and the bridge are from both of them. Reed wants to get away from the fighting, and says he's lost the will to fight. He's angry about the death all around him. He may have been injured, as in the line "I'm the walking wounded," and can't find his place in the civilian world. The med student wants the seemingly endless wait over with, to get to the hospital and get to work. He's disillusioned with the competitive atmosphere of med school (lost his will for fighting), and is simultaneously ready to go out into the world and mourning his carefree younger days (every good thing I had...).

    That's how I see it, anyway. Great song, especially for a college student going into medicine.
    udabac1on January 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA friend just pointed out to me that the med student may not be contemplating his future career, but may have just lost his first patient- it's "graduation day" because he's entered the real world of medicine, where not everybody can be saved, and all his med school training couldn't help him. He feels guilty and wants to hide from his coworkers, and he feels like all his good intentions have abandoned him because he failed.
    udabac1on January 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWalter Reed was one of my high school teachers!!
    jokingkongon February 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about a homeless vet in LA
    As a "walking wounded" it means he has PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
    He's asking to be taken to the hospital because he's still wounded and doesn't have a home, but no one will treat him for his symptoms. Instead he's left on the street because he doesn't have any physical disabilities and he can't get treatment and most likely got kicked out of the service because of it.
    kattmanjon January 24, 2008   Link

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