"Herring Bone" as written by Daniel Raphael Rossen and Fred Hurley Nicolaus....
Oh boy, when you're gone, you are gone
Those nights you wander all night
You won't get to relive them
Or even to explain them
To your next of kin

They come one,
After the other, after the other
Just like herring bone
Oh, oh, oh oh

Way out there where the tide meets the tide
Those nights you'd get so quiet
You won't get to enjoy them
Or even to explain them
To your next of kin

They come one,
After the other, after the other
Just like herring bone
Oh, oh, oh oh

And I know you like herring bone
Yeah, I know you like herring bone
Through the cold you've held on with
The one you went to went to war with
The only word you can't explain


Lyrics submitted by kstemz

Herring Bone song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentit's not "you're next up kid" it's "to your next of kin" as in, you won't get to explain it to your next of kin (your kids). very positive on this.
    Kratoeson August 31, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm always under the impression that it's "coat" and not "cold."

    Either way, this song is about how you better live now, and communicate what you want to while you can, 'cause you are going to die.

    I think the very last part is concerning the etymology of the word herringbone, and it ties in well with the theme of being short shrift.
    sweetadeleiiineon July 29, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJovial reminiscing of drunken stupors long since passed? Sounds like a drinking song to me.
    uselessopinionon January 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI thought of this song more as relating to death, that perhaps someone is going to be missing out on so much because of dying.
    meow_kitties!on April 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, I've always heard "to your next of kin" also. If that is the case, the song must be about death; perhaps the "herring bone" is a crowd of mourners at a funeral dressed in black and white?
    Goldaon November 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm guessing on the true meaning of 'herring bone' here. It's most commonly known as a pattern in fabric, or a seating arrangement, etc. In the song he mentions 'when the tide hits the tide'... the herringbone attern can actually look like waves. This fits since he says 'I know you like herring bone' and he seems to be talking to someone about how much they like this pattern, or these patterns of waves. They can be mesmerizing.

    The part that really throws me off is 'you wont get to enjoy them, or even to explain them to your next of kin'. It definitely seems logical to say he died.

    'Through the cold, you held on with, the one you went to war with' seems to imply that these 'waves'/herringbone he loved provided some kind of comfort/meaning to his life when things got tough.

    Lastly the cryptic 'the only word you can't explain' line could mean, roughly, that although he holds onto and loves this 'herring bone', he cannot explain why.

    What this song means to me, is that people often enjoy or love being in nature. They say that putting a picture of trees, the ocean, etc. in a depressed man's cubicle can make him feel a hundred times better. nature is filled with patterns, like 'herringbone'. Despite not knowing exactly why certain patterns and things give us pleasure, they are still important to us. Some people live to travel, hike, etc. and it gives their life meaning.

    To me, the song is almost ironic, because herringbone itself is kind of an ugly pattern. You could say someone who really loves herringbone has bad taste. But that's just my interpretation. : )

    Gwelenguchenkuson January 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationa lot of songs on this album are very dreamy. . . and though I am a lyric hound. . . this album also just makes me feel things beyond the lyrics
    this song I've always imagined is Daniel musing on his father or grand father. . .
    perhaps looking at pictures
    of when he was in the war

    Herringbone is a pattern that used to be more common than it is now
    that's what it makes me think of
    talking to an older generation
    that is, yes, dead now

    looking at pictures
    wondering about his life

    and though he's had a son who's had a son who's had a son
    and that son is wondering
    he's dead
    and cannot explain it
    anything

    family stories
    family mysteries

    . . . that's how this song has always made me feel
    dominicvineon February 26, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPerhaps about a boyfriend that goes to the beats in the evening? Into the forest. Very Twin Peaks.. And the meaningless sex his gentleman friend has over and over. bless. It means nothing... just like herringbone
    mandrew101on November 20, 2015   Link

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