"Burn On" as written by and Randy Newman....
There's a red moon rising
On the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There's a red moon rising
On the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There's an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

There's an oil barge winding
Down the Cuyahoga River
Rolling into Cleveland to the lake

Cleveland city of light city of magic
Cleveland city of light you're calling me
Cleveland, even now I can remember
Cause the Cuyahoga River
Goes smokin' through my dreams

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on
Now the Lord can make you tumble
And the Lord can make you turn
And the Lord can make you overflow
But the Lord can't make you burn

Burn on, big river, burn on
Burn on, big river, burn on


Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"Burn On" as written by Randy Newman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIn Cleveland they like to think this song is a sentimental ode to the city, and it's a popular local folk tune.

    But actually it's mocking the city. Calling early 1970's (This song was released in 1972) Cleveland the city of light and magic is clearly sarcastic. As the city gets cleaner and more modern people forget what a smoggy rusty nasty industrial hellhole Cleveland was for 50 years and the sarcasm gets diluted

    It's also a bit of a political statement about how unnatural river fires are. You can't get much stranger than a river catching fire.

    Poor Cleveland. Chemically polluted rivers in heavy-industry towns catching fire was not an unusual event in this country, but Cleveland just can't live down the (very minor) Cuyahoga River fire.
    cgodfreyon April 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRefers to the last time the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland lit on fire, which happened in the late '60s I think. More generally, though, it's also a parody of such location-specific odes. Writing in glowing prose about the virtues of anywhere is certainly a ripe target... this is the only parody of that style that I know of. And Cleveland is about as unromantic a city as possible (except maybe Detroit or Pittsburgh, or any other largely industrial city), which makes the parody perfect.
    jnb987on July 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgood song
    absent124on July 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgood song
    absent124on July 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'll always remember this song as the opening music to the film Major League.

    For like 10 years I had absolutely no idea what Randy was mushmouth singing
    cgodfreyon April 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGoes smokin' through my dreams!!!!

    Lol, Cleveland is immortalized as a shithole and people think it is some kind of tribute.
    Floydcaplinon June 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah the whole section about Cleveland being the city of lights and the city of magic is so wonderfully over the top. What makes it even better is how truly beautiful the music is and Randy's deadpan and sincere delivery. I love the song and the album "Sail Away" is by far one of my all time favorites. It is truly a masterpiece.
    NateFairbankson April 01, 2012   Link

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