Take the children and yourself
And hide out in the cellar
By now the fighting will be close at hand
Don't believe the church and state
And everything they tell you
Believe in me, I'm with the high command

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

There's a gun and ammunition
Just inside the doorway
Use it only in emergency
Better you should pray to God
The Father and the Spirit
Will guide you and protect from up here

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Swear allegiance to the flag
Whatever flag they offer
Never hint at what you really feel
Teach the children quietly
For some day sons and daughters
Will rise up and fight while we stand still

Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?
Can you hear me, can you hear me running?
Can you hear me running, can you hear me calling you?

Can you hear me, can you hear me running (can you hear me calling you?)
Can you hear me hear running, can you hear me calling you?
(Can you hear me running) Can hear me running (can you hear me calling you)?
Can you hear me
Hear me calling you
(Can you hear me running) hear me running, babe
Can you hear me running (hear me running)
Calling you


Lyrics submitted by IronHalo

"Silent Running" as written by Mike Rutherford B.a. Robertson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, Downtown Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Silent Running song meanings
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63 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentFirst of all, this is to me one of the most evocative rock songs, musically. Great vocal, great melody, great minor key chorus. There is something very profound about it.

    The images the lyrics create are of a futuristic wartime in which the only good actors are NOT of church or state, but are of a secret, truly spiritual, and noble underground (The High Command). I can't know what the composer was thinking, but the words are to me (thankfully) intentionally too general to be applied to a particular war, in a particular country, in a particular year. Any attempt to get more specific is pure speculation, and goes beyond what can be reasonably deduced.

    This song fascinates me because of its air of mystery, nobility, wartime images, and practical wisdom imparted.
    xrxs1020on June 13, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentTo me, this song is sung from the point of view of someone up in heaven. Perhaps it's a man who has died and is trying to communicate to his wife or to his son/daughter down on earth, or maybe it's an angel. Whoever it is is guiding someone on earth during a tumltuous time such as war or even a more religious theme such as the end times.

    In the line,"Will guide you and protect from up here", I think "up here" refers to heaven where the observer, or singer in this song, is at. "Believe in me, I'm with the high command" might be referring to the fact that he's with God (the high command) in heaven.
    bnsfjordanon January 10, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think its like a pre-apocalypse type thing, when war is just breaking out. The narrator is someone high ranking in the army, warning friends perhaps, that fighting is coming and to hide out in the cellar, under ground. "Protect you from up here" refers to the surface, where the fighting and danger is, which is reinforced by the fact that there's a gun over the doorway, but they can only use it in an emergency (perhaps there is an anti-gun law?). The lines about praying are to enhance the fact that they're helpless and there's nothing else than can do. Pledge to the flag they tell you to, so that you will not be singled out as a traitor. This is about a time when people have absolutely no freedom. Probably about a resistance against a totalitarian government.
    flamingxroseson January 31, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment This song is interesting if taken with several of Mike Rutherford's other offerings on his first and second albums. His songs "Silent Running", "Take the Reins", "Call to Arms", and then "Why Me" all seem to explore the same theme of insurrection or resistance against some sort of foe. Rutherford seems like a dedicated Libertarian who frets the loss of Freedom and an possible future Dark Age of authoritarianism of some sort. Although these songs all date from the 1980s, I think they are telling and especially relevant for today.
    pklocekon August 13, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentApparently it's about a country being overrun in during a war. Honestly this is one of the most intriguing songs I've ever heard, lyrically.
    ApollyonCrashon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLike all of you, this song has fascinated me from the first time I heard it. I also believe the meaning is meant to be interpreted by the listener. My view of it has evolved into quite a back story over the years for personal reasons I won't go into. I've come to believe that the singer represents a soldier in God's Army. The forces of evil have taken control of the government and spirituality has either been outlawed or perverted and twisted to fit the occupying forces' purposes. He has human form, but he is actually an angel. He may have been a human soldier who died in a noble way and was made an angel. The war is taking place both physically and metaphysically. He says he's with the "High Command" which she probably interprets as the resistance which is most likely made up of remnants of the country's original armed forces. He actually means he is with THE High Command. The Army Of Heaven. He is now speaking to his widowed wife whom he cannot reveal his former identity to. He is posing as a resistance fighter. The war has begun to go against the occupying forces and the result is that civilians will now be at even greater risk than before. "By now the fighting will be close at hand". Anyone caught with weapons is probably shot on sight which is why he tells her to only use the gun he mentions in an extreme emergency. She will later wonder how he knew there was a gun in the cellar. The war, although going badly for the forces of evil, is far far from being close to an ending. He tells her to hide her hatred deep down. Feign loyalty to the occupying forces and discreetly teach her children the truth about spirituality and the real cause of the war so they will eventually be able to defeat the bad guys for good. In his agony at seeing his family at such risk, he slips and mentions being protected from "up here" because Heaven is where his life essence is actually eminating from. Yeah, I'm a hopeless romantic and have a VIVID imagination, okay?
    Jetfire59on August 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningIt's taken a long time for me to come to this possible interperatation of the song: The war may be the Great tribulation mentioned in the Bible. The Anti-Christ has come into power and the church and state unites as a corrupt union that ends up persecuting God's true people. The one who is with the High command, may be a prophet of God, who is given revelation as to the delusion of the corrupt system and Gods plans for his chosen. The guns and ammunition are only for emergency,so as not to take up the sword and be killed by the sword as Jesus mentioned to his deciples in Matthew and in Revelation. "Better you should pray to God, the Father and the Spirit, will guide you and protect you from up here" is to indicate that God will deliver his people so they don't have to physically fight the battle. This prophet who is with the High command, is very close to God. "from up here" doesn't necessarily mean that he is in Heaven, but that he is on the spiritual plane of Gods pressence...he is on Gods wave length, communicating Gods messages to his people. In order for the chosen of God to survive, they must do things secretly, knowing inside where they really stand in opposition to the "system"...swearing allegiance to the flag, so as not to give themselves away and be completly overcome. Teaching their children quietly of Gods word and plans for them. It's posible that these children may have to fight a physical battle against the "system" or it could mean an intense time of Spiritual warfare.
    jr75on March 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought it was a futuristic, sci fi war theme, pretty literal... but then I suppose with connotations of society and politics, and the impending doom of the world...
    lucyb85on January 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's pretty much what xrxs1020 but I'd say it is about a particular war: a war for independence. The fact that he says "Don't believe the church and state And everything they tell you" and "Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer" means the government and religion has been compromised by the enemy, an enemy the people will have to fight by themselves. "Teach the children quietly
    For some day sons and daughters Will rise up and fight while we stood still" implies that certain morals have been passed down from one generation to the next until the time they will "Will rise up". Uprisings are done by the people against a ruling authority, not an invasion. The uprising will be against forces that are against the above-mentioned morals. The fact he mentions "There's a gun and ammunition Just inside the doorway" shows that he's singing about a country that has a tradition of guns: America. I think this is a libertarian song. Basically, America as we know it has been compromised and the people will have to fight to uphold their Constitution. It's not an uncommon theme. The founders of America foresaw the country falling back into the hands of their former rulers: the bankers and money handlers. They also foresaw them infiltrating the government and church, which was the case in Europe at the time when they wrote the High Command, the Constitution, a document based on spiritual principles, not religious ones. Thomas Jefferson mentioned that bankers would try to take over America on a few occasions. It's basically about fighting the NWO. The sentiments of rising up against the government are ingrained in some parts of American culture. The 80s saw a substantial movement in that department. Skinny Puppy, Ministry, etc., all had hidden anti-government messages. A lot of the messages were hidden in movies and songs, since publicly saying so meant ridicule. That's probably why the video was futuristic - to hide the true meaning (Teach the children quietly).
    psxmeupon June 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song refers to the difference between church/state verses real spirituality. Religion and the state have hierarchies of power that try to control your perceptions of reality. True spirituality has to be tought at home by parents who actually have personal relationships with god. The war being talked about is a symbolic description of the church/state battling the population into submission instead of allowing us to have one on one communication with the lord. But the future generation, if taught well, will overthrow the shackles of the church/state regimes. All due to a grass roots movement lead by spiritual wariors, our sons and daughters. He refers to the lord as the high command and he is with the high command as if there is a spiritual hierarchy above that does not approve of mans current church/state control of the population. And this song, with its undeniable beauty, is his message to us. Thank you Mike & Mechanics.
    JonnyFeveron January 22, 2011   Link

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