"Soul Survivor" as written by and Mick/richards Jagger....
When the waters is rough
The sailing is tough,
I'll get drowned in your love.
You've got a cut throat crew,
I'm gonna sink under you,
I got the bell bottom blues,
It's gonna be the death of me.
It's the graveyard watch,
Running right on the rocks,
I've taken all of the knocks.
You ain't giving me no quarter.
I'd rather drink sea water,
I wish I'd never had brought you,
It's gonna be the death of me.

Soul survivor, soul survivor.
Soul survivor, soul survivor.
Soul survivor, soul survivor.
Soul survivor, soul survivor,
Gonna be the death of me,
It's gonna be the death of me.

When you're flying your flags
All my confidence sags,
You got me packing my bags.
I'll stowaway at sea,
You make me mutiny,
Where you are I won't be,
You're gonna be the death of me.

Soul survivor, soul survivor.
Soul survivor, soul survivor.
It's gonna be the death of me

Soul survivor, that's what I'm talking about
That's what I'm talking
That's what I'm talking, soul survivor
Soul survivor
Soul survivor, soul survivor
Soul survivor, soul survivor


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"Soul Survivor" as written by Keith Richards Mick Jagger

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Soul Survivor song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationKiss off to Bianca:

    When you're flying your flags
    All my confidence sags,
    You got me packing my bags.
    I'll stowaway at sea,
    You make me mutiny,
    Where you are I won't be,
    You're gonna be the death of me
    funkspielon June 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe intro always gets me up and then this song kind of evens out too much and production quality disappoints. boo hoo
    coo2kachooon April 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentListen to it 5 times in a row, it grows on you. All the seafaring imagery is great and unique for a stones song (most Brit bands have at least one, its an island y'now)
    hipshoton January 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEXACTLY. To the first poster. The intro always gets me up then takes me somewhere else. Not depression for sure! Still, this is one of my favorites. The guitar is great.
    RiversideGuitariston July 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWho is this about??

    I'm gonna sink under you,
    I got the bell bottom blues,
    It's gonna be the death of me.
    It's the graveyard watch,
    running right on the rocks,
    I've taken all of the knocks.
    You ain't giving me no quarter.
    I'd rather drink sea water,
    I wish I'd never had brought you,
    It's gonna be the death of me.
    ---OK, clearly the singer ("I") is having difficulties *surviving*. (E.g., "It's gonna be the death of me".)

    Soul survivor, soul survivor.
    Soul survivor, soul survivor.
    Soul survivor, soul survivor.
    Soul survivor, soul survivor,
    Gonna be the death of me,
    It's gonna be the death of me.
    ---Now, we start hearing about "soul survivor". Since the singer is *not* very certain to "survive", we must assume the "Soul survivor" is another person.

    Why is the title of this person, then, "Soul survivor", when the principal characterization of this person is as the person who is going to be responsible for the *death* (drowning, etc.) of the singer?!?

    Wouldn't it be more accurate to call them "murderer"??

    Or, maybe, since this person is going to be the only survivor out of the two characters, the singer and the "soul survivor" -- since they're the "only" survivor, they're the "sole", or, to invoke soul music, the "soul" survivor.

    But, that sounds like a positive title... And, as I said, the main thing they say about this person, is not that they'll be surviving (which is also said), but that *they (he/she) will be responsible for the failure of the singer to survive*.

    So, why would you give the person who is responsible for you "drowning" and dying a positive sounding title like "soul survivor", which implies possession of some soul in addition to being the sole (or only) survivor?

    One answer: you would give them a positive title even though they will be the only person that survives between the two of you, and even though they are responsible for your failure to survive -- because you're in love.

    The other person is going to survive the love, the affair -- you're going to drown in their love, and the aftermath of love, and they are going to continue surviving, because, perhaps, they have enough "soul" to carry on.

    Hence, "soul survivor".

    Just an idea. But the song is beautiful, really great guitar on the intro, "When the water is rough...", and then "It's the graveyard shift...", and "When you're flying your flags my confidence sags." Really great guitar on those portions, and great back-up singing throughout.

    That last line, by the way, really fits in with a character who is being emotionally killed by their relationship.

    Sounds like the song is sung from the point of view of a person who is "under [someone's] thumb", and the "soul survivor" is the one whose thumb the singer is under.
    just12on November 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentis the bell bottom blues line a reference to the song of the same name by Derek & The Dominos?
    velmaxcorganon December 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think its about the breakup of a relationship which is clearly floundering, described in nautical terms. The singer seems more intent on simply surviving the break-up while the partner (soon to be ex) is described as having a "cut throat crew." Not unlike the battle between a merchant ship and a pirate ship.
    I love the guitar intro which swings back and forth similar to a ship pitching in heavy seas. It goes with the lyrics, "When the water is rough..." You can realy feel the ship's movement in the music; towards the end, the eerie high-pitched sounds are like wind whistling through the rigging, mixed with bird sounds and perhaps voices from the dead.
    But the rhyming scheme is the most unique part. In the 6-line stanza, the first three lines rhyme and the last three lines rhyme. (aaabbb)
    Its one of my favorite songs.
    C
    mceiseleon July 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of thee greatest songs ever recorded. But they got the beginning wrong. It's , "Winter walruses rub, and shave your tongue, Aqua trow in yo lung". At least that what it sounded like to me the first 20 times I heard it. Seriously though, the real lyrics are great. The first time I found out what all the "Exile" lyrics really are was a wonderful revelation. That's the best rock n roll album ever whether you know the words or not.
    Rankoutsideron May 24, 2012   Link

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