"Richard Cory" as written by and Paul Simon....
They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker's only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:
"Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head."

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Richard Cory" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Richard Cory song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think he wants to be like Richard Cory at the end because he is poverty-stricken and would rather be dead than poor.
    WillyWiluhpson October 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI could go on forever about this song, having already picked the poem apart for an English paper. There are two really ironic things here: first, that this guy who looks so fortunate could want to kill himself, and second, that the narrator STILL wants to be like Richard Cory at the end of the song. It's as though the narrator doesn't get it. The very thing that made Cory appear so happy could have made him feel alienated from other people, thus leading to his suicide.
    lila_mon April 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just got finished picking apart Robert Browning's poem. I think its the theme here is pretty obvious that other people's lives are a contant reminder of why your life sucks. And Money and popularity is overrated. I'm still pondering on the end of the song........I had a clue to what it might have meant when we talked about it in English Class last week..........but it has left me, which is about as frustrating as losing something tangible.
    Soundboyon May 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt was actually E.A. Robinson who wrote the poem.
    lila_mon July 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno i don't think he'd rather be dead than poor, i think that its more broad than that. people all the time want more money and more fun and more priviledges and without realizing that that only goes so far to make someone more happy. it doesn't really make you more happy. it makes it more comfortable to be unhappy, at best. i think that if you are unhappy in general, having an orgy on a yacht won't do much to make you happier. so when the narrator reads that richard cory killed himself, its puzzling, considering that richard cory had everything going for him. however, the narrator still wants to be rich and famous, like richard cory. it doesn't matter that money didn't solve anything for him, the narrator still wants to be richard cory.

    and the poem is very good
    fraeuleinon October 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with nearly all that's been posted. I think more generally it touches on the issue of how some people—or maybe all people, only at different times and to different degrees—are desperate and blind and will suffer any cost for what they desire, no matter how self-destructive.
    dj_tiled_flooringon November 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with dj. well put.
    if you've listened to this song but haven't read the poem, do so. coz the poem is great.
    kelli x3on December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song! This song, I believe is about jealousy. This guy, who was born rich, hates his life. Everyone follows him around & he gives to charity, He doesn't love the money or the "orgies on his yacht." This guy, who doesn't have a lot of money, is jealous. This leads to how people think there's hapiness with only money. There's more to life than that.
    Raven_Ladyon May 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI meant to put it like" Everyone follows him. He doesn't love money, so he gives it to people who need it.
    Raven_Ladyon May 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am working out Edwin Arlington Robinson's poem Richard Cory currently for an english paper. What I understand is that from the ending of the song Paul Simon is showing how even though we(the proletariats wishing to be like the well off bourgeoisie) hear of suicides or attempts by famous people, such as Owen Wilson, we arent smart enough to make the connection between their death and our society. i believe this song and poem act as arguments against Capitalism which are very similar to those of Karl Marx in the communist manifesto, claiming it results in alienation. Im still in the process of writing it but it is a clear argument that money doesnt truly buy happiness, we have just been trained from the beginning to believe it does. Even though the speaker is jealous of what Cory has he never insults Richard Cory. he curses his poverty and his life, not Richard Cory. he isnt going to curse what he wishes he was. i dont think the ending is saying he wants to be dead like Richard Cory is excuse in the poem he and his coworkers "waited for the light" so they had hope for something god, other than their dark jobs in a factory, another idea similar to the manifesto.
    bfyteon October 27, 2007   Link

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