In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I've changed my name, I've changed my face
But no one wants you when you lose

Don't give up
'Cause you have friends
Don't give up
You're not beaten yet
Don't give up
I know you can make it good

Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

Don't give up
You still have us
Don't give up
We don't need much of anything
Don't give up
'Cause somewhere there's a place
Where we belong

Rest your head
You worry too much
It's going to be alright
When times get rough
You can fall back on us
Don't give up
Please don't give up

'Got to walk out of here
I can't take anymore
Going to stand on that bridge
Keep my eyes down below
Whatever may come
And whatever may go
That river's flowing
That river's flowing

Moved on to another town
Tried hard to settle down
For every job, so many men
So many men no-one needs

Don't give up
'Cause you have friends
Don't give up
You're not the only one
Don't give up
No reason to be ashamed
Don't give up
You still have us
Don't give up now
We're proud of who you are
Don't give up
You know it's never been easy
Don't give up
'Cause I believe there's a place
There's a place where we belong

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Don't Give Up [Live] Lyrics as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore

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Don't Give Up song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI'm suprised noone has really addressed the context of this song. Whatever the song was written about - a personal breakdown it would seem - it was a song that was vitally important for the UK.
    This song was released during Margret thatchers' "industrial 80s". It was a time when Thatcher had reduced the power of Trade Unions and many people had lost their jobs. I always saw this song as being for those people. Especially the line: "So many men no-one needs" It fits perfectly.
    AiR7oNon April 05, 2006   Link
  • +5
    My OpinionOne of the deepest songs I ve heard,the emotions of the unlucky unemployed go through such hopelessness and disillussionment in africa where i come from. Very encouraging that the persona has someone who understands "you still have us.."I ve gone through it but there comes a time when it ends and life has a new beginning. Hang on, tears endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. Seasons come and seasons go. Our maker stands for ever....Keep encouraging them Peter.
    harikamison December 25, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMy son told me about this song and how it was played in the background of a documentary he had seen to do with the coal miners in England in the 80's as pits were being closed as a result of the Thatcher Era which just about brought the country to its knees. But I see where this song could be fitting for many situations where people are suffering for one reason or another. I find the song very moving and it pulls at the heartstrings. If only it were a perfect world......
    claire2153on March 26, 2016   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt was written about unemployment as mentioned already, but it can be taken as an extremely powerful anti-suicide song.
    painkiller182on July 14, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song was written as the British coal miners strike entered its second year. It describes the utter destruction of the mining industry by Thatcher, the desolate impact on once macho workers and the increasing importance of the women who managed by hook or by crook to keep families and whole communities ticking over.
    Leftsideon May 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI just wanted to comment on a live version of this song where Peter Gabriel says the following (exactly): "song about a man and a woman faced with the problem of losing a job, it's called 'Don't Give Up'", in case someone is still in doubt.

    Ref: (You will actually have to listen to the song to hear...)

    To me, though, the song will still be an amazing song with all the other meanings too.
    RoyGon March 18, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHah, Remember when women used to be emotionally supportive? ("When times get rough you can fall back on us") ?

    The 80s feel like a different lifetime now. Don't have a stable income at a prestigious job nowadays? Women are like yeah, go ahead - jump off the bridge, I'm out.

    It is so strange the way things turn.
    Oblivon April 29, 2021   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt was written about unemployment.
    Citzon February 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeah AiR7oN has it perfectly. the song was written with the 80s unemployment turmoil in mind but it's good for many interpretations.
    kurisu_rson May 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWithout question, this song was written about unemployment. However, I heard it played at a friend's funeral a while back and it took on awhole new meaning.
    Very poignant.
    Baltion July 31, 2006   Link

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