"My Little Town" as written by and Paul Simon....
In my little town, I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all.
And he used to lean upon me as I pledged allegiance to the wall.
Lord, I recall, in my little town,
Comin' home after school, flyin' my bike past the gates of the factories,
My mom doin' the laundry, hangin' out shirts in the dirty breeze.
And after it rains there's a rainbow and all of the colors are black.
It's not that the colors aren't there, it's just imagination they lack.
Everything's the same back in my little town,
My little town, my little town.

Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.
Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.

In my little town, I never meant nothin',
I was just my father's son. mmm.
Savin' my money, dreamin' of glory,
Twitchin' like a finger on the trigger of a gun.

Leavin' nothin' but the dead and dying back in my little town.
Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.
Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.
Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.
Nothin' but the dead and dyin' back in my little town.


Lyrics submitted by tranquilasadove

"My Little Town" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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My Little Town song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI don't know if it's still there, but in the 80s there used to be a huge grafitto on the wall of the concrete sluice that curves through Johnstown, Pa.: NOTHING BUT THE DEAD AND DYING HERE IN OUR LITTLE TOWN. This song is so powerful, in part because it's being re-enacted every day in small towns all over the place. The kids grow up, get out, and never come back, leaving, well, the dead and dying.

    Aside from that, though, the song is incredibly evocative. The words are incisive, and Simon manages, just through the timbre of the music, to convey his feelings of nostalgia, fondness, cynicism, and disillusionment. Older and wiser, he can see the unpretty truth that his youthful innocence obscured. Yet he still cherishes his memories, and is sad that he can never really go back--he's outgrown the place. Many an ex-small town kid can relate, I'm sure.

    For me personally, this is one of S&G's best songs. I think their song "America" is the perfect bookend to this song.
    law4on April 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHahahaha, it is ridiculous that this song has no comments. I expected hundreds.

    This song is great.
    cowboyupinblueon December 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeriously, I'm with you on that one cowboy. I'm kind of puzzled by this song because he suddenly starts talking about "death and dying". This is one of my favorites by them.
    tranquilasadoveon January 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about the love-hate feeling most people have for the town they grew up in.
    goforgustoon September 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlaw4 you nailed the meaning of this song. i have to say im only 21 years old but this song describes my youth in parts and also reminds me of my early youth because my parents used to play this song (and other S&G songs) all the time. its kind of funny that the song about leaving the "dead and dying" in "my little town" is the very song that describes my youth in my hometown.
    Explosivoon December 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I heard this song I was stunned. It is so blatantly about ghettos and the line about the rainbow, "and all of the colors are black" really hit me. The fact that children who grew up in a marginalized community have this jaded of an outlook really makes me want to do more in owing up to my privilege. Great song overall, I bet it was very controversial when it came out,
    Lovey30on September 25, 2016   Link
  • -3
    General CommentI think there aren't as many comments as there might be because, I hate to say it, but as much as I like this song, there is a trollish aspect to it. S&G have some other songs that indicate things that could be taken as insulting, but this one is pretty seemingly overtly insulting, and it'd take a lot of modernist indirection to talk your way out of it. Trolls just hate being trolled.
    vieuxnezon April 16, 2014   Link

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