"Bad News from Home" as written by and Randy Newman....
High on a cliff in Mexico
Staring down at the rocks and the sea below
I can hear the church bells ring
I can hear the choir

I remember the night she left
I drove to the station in the pouring rain
Sat all night behind my big iron desk
The oil on the water made a rainbow

At the end of this bone white gravel road
They both lie sleeping on a feather bed
And her hair is black as the sky at night
But her eyes are gray like the moon
You can run but you can't hide
You can run but you can't hide
You said you love me but I know you lied
You said you love me but I know you lied


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"Bad News from Home" as written by Randy Newman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

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Bad News from Home song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretation"Gonna do something bad" could also mean suicide. The opening makes me think that the singer is contemplating jumping from that cliff. But if it's suicide he shouldn't be hearing a metaphorical heavenly choir. So the church sounds are real and are from his lover's funeral.

    If he's already killed her (or them) then the question is why isn't he locked up somewhere? He "drove to the station"... He's a cop. Perhaps the sheriff because he has a "big iron desk." And that's how he got away with murder, but now he's being haunted.

    Haunted by her ghost! The last four lines are spoken by her. He can't hide from from her. He never loved her and that's why she cheated on him.
    bertiebottbagon May 02, 2012   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningWhat!? No comments on this, possibly the greatest murder ballad ever written? Please, please comment, there is SO much interesting discussion to be had from this song.
    Anyway I think it's almost certainly about a man whose wife or lover leaves him for another, and the kills them both. All I could find from the Great Randy Newman himself was "It sounds life the guy's gonna do something bad," and describing it as a "Little drama."
    MagusMirificuson May 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a pretty evocative song -absolutely dripping with foreboding or menace. My original thought was that he was simply contemplating suicide. I thought the bells might be her wedding bells. I didn't think he had killed them, though that's a solid theory too. Agree with bertiebottbag that he must be a police chief which makes the "you can run but you can't hide" lyric work. However he could be telling himself that because he knows he will have to go on living in the knowledge she is with somebody else.
    sulphurcreston July 18, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd say it's pretty clear that she and her companion are dead - caskets are lined with down, making the "feather bed". The question is whether he did it or someone else did. I like to think it's a revenge thing - telling whoever killed her that they can run but they can't hide. Probably a murder ballad though. Simple answers are usually the right ones.
    Bastyanon May 31, 2016   Link

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