"The Way The Whole Thing Ends" as written by and Gillian Welch David Rawlings....
Say you wanna see my garden
And you wanna make it shine
Say you wanna see my blue jeans
Hanging on your old clothesline

Standing in the backdoor crying
Now you wanna be my friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole thing ends

Now what's a little baby doing
Dressing up in banker's clothes?
Now what's a little sweetheart like you
Doing with a bloody nose?

Standing in the backdoor crying
Now you're gonna need a friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole thing ends

Now once you had a hook and ladder
Up into the headless night
And once you had a motorcycle
But you couldn't ride it right

Standing in the doorway crying
Now you're gonna need a friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole thing ends

Someone said something one time
But Daddy didn't talk too loud
People oughta stick together
That's the way to make a crowd

But here you come alone and crying
Now you wanna be my friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole thing ends

Momma's in the beauty parlor
And Daddy's in the baseball pool
Sister's in the drive-in movie
Brother's in the old high school

Now here you come alone and crying
Once, you know, you were my friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole thing ends

Standing in the backdoor crying
Now you wanna be my friend
That's the way the cornbread crumbles
That's the way the whole things ends


Lyrics submitted by smallwonderrobot

"The Way the Whole Thing Ends" as written by Gillian Howard Welch David Todd Rawlings

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, DO WRITE MUSIC LLC

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The Way The Whole Thing Ends song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentEach verse begins with a reference to an innocent time in the past, a time in which the person she's talking to had it right. But, the person lost his connection to the real meaning of life, even though he fell into the right way to live by the accident of birth. What is the meaning of this life we are living? Love. Connection. Togetherness. Community.

    He sought, instead, the glorification of the Ego. He gave up the innocent pursuit of love and connection and togetherness and community. He wanted to separate himself from others, to be one-up on others.

    But that is a false, untrue, wrong pursuit. And it always ends in failure, and sadness and suffering and disappointment. That's the way the cornbread crumbles. That's how a false search for meaning ends. The only meaning in this world is Oneness, Connection, Love.

    jweyekon July 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSuch a beautiful ode to people falling apart.

    The lover who cannot hold true;

    Two "stories" of children, a boy and a girl, who choose the wrong path in life;

    Two images of the lonely one, separated from community and family;

    The simplicity of each image belies a complexity of tone and emotional impact: the narrator ties it all back to broken friendship. We who were together are so no longer, and there's a hardness there. There is no offer of forgiveness or reconciliation.

    "That's the way the whole thing ends."

    After this, I recommend listening to "One Wrong Turn" by Greg Brown.
    bluejackon July 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThey used to say when there is enough blue sky to make a pair of overalls, the storm is going to clear up. That's the reference in the first stanza. This is God speaking to the down-and-out prodigal who came back, looking for reconciliation and a better day.
    JDG556on January 31, 2012   Link

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