"Johnsburg, Illinois" as written by and Tom Waits....
She's my only true love
She's all that I think of, look here
In my wallet
That's her

She grew up on a farm there
There's a place on my arm where I've written
Her name next to mine

You see I just
Can't live without her
And I'm her only boy
And she grew up outside McHenry
In Johnsburg, Illinois

Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"Johnsburg, Illinois" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Johnsburg, Illinois song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentFunny how you have no idea where she is now, or how she feels about him... in fact, he points to everything (a tattoo, her hometown, a picture) EXCEPT the girl herself.
    dmesgon January 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA tribute to his wife. And going with the theme of album, a man away from his home- reminiscing about his only true love
    mrsiegalon September 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnoones commented? jesus christ...

    this song is beautiful, it's short and the lyrics are simple but immensely powerful - like the best Waits
    jacko251on July 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about a sailor in a bar, while on leave talking to someone about his girlfriend/wife. You could see it as a companion piece to the song "Shore Leave" which is on the same album. It's also a love song to his wife Kathleen who is from Johnsburg, Illinois.
    vonfunkon May 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti could see it being a sailor in a bar, especially since the album does have several bluesy, sad or gritty songs about a soldier or sailor. personally, i thought it was just about a guy who loved this woman immensely, and she left him, breaking his heart. i first listened to this song shortly after my girlfriend of a year and a half broke up with me very unexpectedly right before xmas, so the song sounded all the more bittersweet to me.
    blitzed_hippieon January 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentApparently Tom Waits' wife Kathleen grew up on a farm in Johnsburg, Illinois, and this song was a love letter to her.
    TragedyTrouserson September 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe is one of the greatest songs by the great Tom Waits. It is a simply staggeringly beautiful song.
    GrungeRock1991on August 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm a girl from Johnsburg, Illinois. love the place.
    hatnormouson September 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree that this is one of the most powerful and poignant songs Tom Waits has ever recorded. It sounds a bit morbid, perhaps, but the first time I heard this song, it struck me that the girl in this song had passed away, and the singer is rambling in sorrow to a stranger. This makes the line, "You see, I just can't live without her" more desperate and dark, but still sweet and romantic.

    At any rate, this song breaks my heart, it's so beautiful.
    pcglennon October 31, 2011   Link

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