"Dead Man Walking" as written by William Earl Collins, Bill O. Laswell, Brian Patrick Carroll, Afrika Bambaataa, Bryan Kei Mantia and Bernard Worrell....
He swivels his head
Tears his eyes from the screen
As his past puts him back in Atlantic City

There's not even a demon in Heaven or Hell
Is it all just human disguise?
As I walk down the aisle

Gone gone gone spinning slack through the end?
Deadens? my brain falling up through the years
Till I swivel back round then I fly fly fly
Losing breath from the water then I'm gone gone gone

And I'm gone gone gone
Now I'm older than movies
Let me dance away
Now I'm wiser than dreams
Let me fly fly fly
While I'm touching tomorrow
And I know who's there
When silhouettes fall

And I'm gone
Like I'm dancing on angels
And I'm gone through a crack in the past

Like a dead man walking
Like a dead man walking

Three old men dancing under the lamplight
Shaking their sex and their bones
And the boys that we were
An alien nation in therapy
Sliding naked and new
Like a bad tempered child
On a rain slicked street

Gone gone gone spinning slack through the end?
Deadens? my brain falling up through the years
Till I swivel back round then I fly fly fly
Losing breath from the water then I'm gone gone gone

And I'm gone

And I'm gone, like I'm dancing on angels
And I'm gone, through the crack in the past

Like a dead man walking
Like a dead man walking
Like a dead man
Like a dead man walking

And I'm gone gone gone
Let me dance dance dance
And I'm gone gone gone
Let me dance dance dance


And I'm gone, like I'm dancing on angels
And I'm gone, through a crack in the past
And I'm gone, like I'm dancing on angels
And I'm gone, through a crack in the past

Like a dead man walking
Like a dead man walking
Like a dead man
Like a dead man walking


Lyrics submitted by typo

"Dead Man Walking" as written by Jaime Lee Olsen Ian Vincent Jones

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Dead Man Walking song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentEarthling was by no means a "disco" album... give it another listen. Try "7 years In Tibet" and "Looking for Satellites". This song here "Dead Man Walking" is barely a dance song until after a remix with techno beats added; I get more of an IDM feel vibe from it (fast, programmed beats, but not very dance-y). Anyways, for a great visual and philosophically congruent component to the lyric "falling up" see the film "Izo".
    liplexon September 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDude, you rule! I've been looking for the backup vocal lyrics to this song since the album came out!
    svendenon March 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song
    thegoodtimesguruon January 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is great to dance to - and I love the lyrics and the back up vocalists. I think it is about getting older and gaining more genreal knowledge, and then it hits you how old you really are.
    crystal-chicon May 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis wasn't the first version of this that I heard, so i thought this was a remix, until my brother told me it was the ORIGINAL. That blew my mind. My musical tastes are a bit different than that of Foundation4life, so forgive me for saying Earthing isn't at all bad. I am however, into techno and electronica, and a HUGE fan of Bowie's voice (and his wardrobe in Laberynth)

    It's really great to know the backup words now, though.

    I listened to this in my sleep once, and my mind created this wicked awesome music video for it, too bad I can't upload it to YouTube...

    Still has no specific meaning to me, though. it's just a wicked beat with distorted guitars and David Bowie singing over it to me.
    Camb06on June 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song, the video, it's all too incredible, especially when Gail Ann Dorsey, his bass guitarist, is dressed like the devil. Horns, tail, mask with Jesus crucified. Floria Sigismondi is a great video director and if you watch Bowie's 1997 documentary, An Earthling at 50, you can see the making of this video and Little Wonder. There are many remixes of this song that it's not even funny. The Moby Mix #2 is way to repetitive. It drove me crazy after listening to 6 and half minutes of "Flip and fly." Other than that, I love the album version. I'm still trying to find the single edit, though. Still can't find out the meaning, though, but I'll keep looking.
    davidbowiefan1on October 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis album was almost a concept album (not a followup to 1. Outside), and there are leaked versions of this song and Seven Years in Tibet that were performed live in late 1996. The lyrics for this song were slightly different, suited to the character that sang the song. After the song, Bowie explained the character's name and the part he played in the album. When the album was being recorded in studio, the plan for Earthling to be a concept album was dropped. The lyrics were changed, the outcome being in this particular song, Bowie talking about how he's fading away from popularity in mainstream music. He can't keep up with the times as he gets older and older. He's a proverbial Dead man Walking, and his time to step down from making music is approaching.
    Shiggyon March 19, 2008   Link
  • -3
    General CommentWell, this is from the disastrous techno Album Bowie did back in the late 90's called Earthling. However, the acoustic version found on the Conan O'Brien live album is quite possibly Bowies most beautiful work yet. I suggest you check it out, its much better than this version.
    Foundation4lifeon July 10, 2006   Link

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