"Rednecks" as written by and Randy Newman....
Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a TV show
With some smart a** New York Jew
And the Jew laughed at Lester Maddox
And the audience laughed at Lester Maddox too
Well he may be a fool but he's our fool
If they think they're better than him they're wrong
So I went to the park and I took some paper along
And that's where I made this song

We talk real funny down here
We drink too much and we laugh too loud
We're too dumb to make it in no Northern town
And we're keepin' the n*****s down

We got no necked oilmen from Texas
And good ol' boys from Tennessee
And colleges men from LSU
Went in dumb, come out dumb too
Hustlin' 'round Atlanta in their alligator shoes
Gettin' drunk every weekend at the barbecues
And they're keepin' the n*****s down

We are rednecks, we're rednecks
We don't know our a**
From a hole in the ground
We're rednecks, we're rednecks
And we're keeping the n*****s down

Now your northern n*****'s a negro
You see he's got his dignity
Down here we're too ignorant to realize
That the North has set the n***** free

Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage
On the South Side of Chicago
And the West Side
And he's free to be put in a cage
In Hough in Cleveland
And he's free to be put in a cage
In East St. Louis
And he's free to be put in a cage
In Fillmore in San Francisco
And he's free to be put in a cage
In Roxbury in Boston
They're gatherin' 'em up from miles around
Keepin' the n*****s down

We're rednecks, we're rednecks
We don't know our a**
From a hole in the ground
We're rednecks, we're rednecks
We're keeping the n*****s down
We are keeping the n*****s down

Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"Rednecks" as written by Randy Newman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Rednecks song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentRandy Newman says that he wrote "Rednecks" in response to an episode of The Dick Cavett Show in the early 1970s (just before Newman's Good Old Boys album was released). Lester Maddox (governor of Georgia at the time) was the guest on the episode with NFL star Jim Brown. Dick Cavett made some rude comments to Maddox and the audience taunted Maddox on the show and wouldn't let him speak. Maddox became fed up and , on air, got up and left the stage. Newman was furious after watching the episode and as the lyrics say: "I went to the park and I took some paper along - and that's where I made this song."

    In the linear notes of the album, Randy makes this statement about 'Rednecks': "I thought, if I were a resident of Georgia, I'd be angry at these people, this New York audience and the New York TV commentator. As if they were treating black people SO much better, you know. There wasn't that sort of moral superiority. The difference was, down South racism was law, up North it was just de facto. So that's what I wrote about".
    Pecanman17on January 30, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe phrase "free to be put in a cage" refers to the ghettos of the northern states. In the 30's and 40's Southern African Americans flocked to the north and these areas which went into a decline in the 60's (which coincides with Lester Maddox timeframe). The left the south to find better paying jobs and escape the racism of the south but found themselves confronted with the same issues in the north.
    GoodnightLittleBearon November 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song would be much less funny if
    1) We were not ruled by rednecks
    2) The song wasn't so accurate
    3) we're in a whole mess o' trouble
    utasteadrenalineon October 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow very blunt.
    Java_bean_xon February 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLester Maddox, for people who want to know was the governor of Georgia in the 1960's and was the meaning of the term "Redneck" who always wanted to keep the niggers down (opposed to civil rights).

    But don't think this song is simply making fun of the southern boys, it sure seems that way in Newman's trademarked ironic way, but in the last bit of the song when he is describing how the niggers are free he lists all areas considered to be "northern" (I know St. Louis was in Missouri which was a southern state I think), showing that blacks really aren't free anywhere, even among people who want to give us civil rights, we are still discriminated against.
    Nonfactoron February 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthe actually says "east st louis" in the closing lines. which is in Illinois. But im sure non factor knows the difference between her ass and a hole in the ground. This song means a lot to me because im from the south and have to deal with dumbass bush votes every day.
    homesteadasamson March 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentunlike utasteadrenaline, I think the fact that the world's being fucked-up by a no-neck oil man from texas and his cronnies makes this song less funny than it once was.....
    captainfinkon September 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a satire of the traditional thinking of the south. Lester Maddox used to be a segregationalist, because he thought that this was what everyone wanted (blacks included). He later changed his views, and appointed more blacks to government offices than any govanor in any state ever. So when the song says Were keepin the niggers down, this is a sarcastic statement.
    twinspick22on January 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat's really funny is Bush was an East coast business elite (ok, more a frat boy than a business elite) pretending to be a cowboy. And, the people who lvoe and hate him have all bought the act. Like a Rhinestone Cowboy.
    montresoron March 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reveals that people all look down on other groups and fail to treat others as individuals and give each person a chance to earn their respect. Hence, it is critical not only of Lester Maddox, but also the smart-ass Jew and his audience. And, really anybody that is keeping anybody else down.
    montresoron March 25, 2010   Link

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