You walk out on the high wire
You're a dancer on thin ice
Pay no heed to the danger
And less to advice
Your footsteps are forbidden
But with a knowledge of your sin
You throw your love to all the strangers
And the caution to the wind

And you go dancing through doorways
Just to see what you will find
Leaving nothing to interfere
With the crazy balance of your mind
And when you finally reappear
At the place where you came in
You've thrown your love to all the strangers
And caution to the wind

It takes love over gold
And mind over matter
To do what you do that you must
When the things that you hold
Can fall and be shattered
Or run through your fingers like dust

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Love Over Gold Lyrics as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Love Over Gold song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is actually about Knopfler's ex-girlfriend, Holly Vincent. She treated him badly, dumping him over the phone when he was on tour in America. He wrote Romeo and Juliet about her, and Love Over Gold shows his contempt of her - he's talking about the love he had for her, that she let run through her fingers like dust - and it echoes the sentiments of Romeo and Juliet - 'You can fall for chains of silver, you can fall for chains of gold, You can fall for pretty strangers, And the promises they hold, You promised me everything, You promised me thick and thin, yeah, Now you just say, oh, Romeo, yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him'. He finishes this songwriting arc with 'When It Rains', which is the last song he wrote about her, and seems to dismiss her pretty well! Knopfler actually saw the words 'Love Over Gold' painted as graffiti on a wall, and thought it'd be great to use in a song sometime!
    guttion January 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentobviously about a promiscuous woman...but more than that...this is just such a cool song, musically and all...i love the bells that chime at the end...
    ZinbobDanon May 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti wanna add...the guitar solo kicks...
    ZinbobDanon June 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJudging just from the lyrics, my guess is that the song is probably about performers/entertainers. They don’t risk their lives, but instead risk looking foolish. When he says “you’re a dancer on thin ice” I suspect he is speaking metaphorically and poetically. (In the live version he simply sings “you’re a dancer on ice.”)

    Let’s face it, there is a fine line between someone doing something artistic and someone being foolish. It is one thing to go up on stage drunk and sing into a karaoke machine to be silly, but it is quite another to make it your profession.

    When he talks about a person who goes “dancing through doorways” I think he’s talking about the kind of person who decides to become a performer. They are not the conservative kind of person who wouldn’t risk looking foolish. What kind of person throws their love to all the strangers? That’s what performers do.

    I think the title of the song means that successful performers do it for the love of their craft and certainly not for the money. Because, even if you are successful for a time, it will “run through your fingers like dust” when your work falls out of favor.
    Zotton May 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSorry, in my last post, I meant to put that the 3rd song about Holly Vincent was 'It Never Rains', not 'When It Rains'! Senior moment, there!
    guttion January 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song ComparisonIt's amazing how the main tune matches "Private dancer". The other day I read this latter was actually recorded togetehr with the rest of LOG album, and Tina's voice added later. Alway thought he had just written it for her, coming from LOG song. BTW, it'd close the circle, right?
    sapitoon May 14, 2012   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI think this song is about the type of people who risk their lives or put themselves in great danger seemingly without a care, for the good of their fellow man, without any expectation of a financial reward. It should be the themesong of Medecin sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders.

    "You walk out on the highwire/ you're a dancer on thin ice/ Pay no heed to the danger/and less to advise" refers to the dangerous situations these types of people put themselves in, and their seeming dismissal of danger and warnings about going to war or disease ravaged areas, for example.

    "Your footsteps are forbidden/ but with a knowledge of your sin/ Throw your love to all the strangers/and caution to the wind"
    They go places where they're officially unwelcome and beyond the help of their governments, but they're there to help the suffering and danger be damned.

    "And you go dancing through the doorways/ just to see what you will find...and caution to the wind"
    This second verse expands on the first, about going into squalid, depressed places with open minds and a sense of mission, taking care of all you find there.

    "It takes love over gold and mind over matter to do what you do that you must, when the things that you hold can fall and be shattered or run through your fingers like dust"

    It takes a special person, one who puts love of his fellow man over material things and with a special will to do these dangerous, difficult, emotionally draining things. It's something they feel they must do.
    The things they hold are fragile lives, fragile bodies, easily broken and barely clining to life. Much of the work done perhaps futile as the inflicted are beyond help and only their suffering can be eased until they pass away, and run through fingers like dust...

    Well, that's my take on this song. I think it's a fantastic piece of poetry.
    napieron January 07, 2006   Link

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