Scarecrow on a wooden cross blackbird in the barn
Four hundred empty acres that used to be my farm
I grew up like my daddy did my grandpa cleared this land
When I was five I walked the fence while grandpa held my hand

Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow
This land fed a nation this land made me proud
And son I'm just sorry theres no legacy for you now
Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow

The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans
Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring and the farmers bank foreclosed
Called my old friend schepman up to auction off the land
He said john its just my job and I hope you understand
Hey calling it your job ol hoss sure dont make it right
But if you want me to Ill say a prayer for your soul tonight
And grandmas on the front porch swing with a
Bible in her hand Sometimes I hear her singing take me to the promised land
When you take away a mans dignity he cant work his fields and cows

There'll be blood on the scarecrow blood on the plow
Blood on the scarecrow blood on the plow

Well there's ninety-seven crosses planted in the courthouse yard
Ninety-seven families who lost ninety-seven farms
I think about my grandpa and my neighbors and my name and some nights
I feel like dying like that scarecrow in the rain


Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow
This land fed a nation this land made me so proud
And son I'm just sorry they're just memories for you now
Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow
Rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow

Lyrics submitted by SoBrokenHearted

"Rain on the Scarecrow" as written by George Michael Green George Green

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Rain On The Scarecrow song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think the rain on the scarecrow and the blood on the plow is just a metaphor of how the farm is ruined and he cannot create the experiences he lived through when he was younger for his own kid. Rain and blood are often used to symbolize the breakdown or death of something. And obviously a scarecrow and a plow are easily recognizable objects that any person can associate with a farm even if they have never lived on a farm. John is trying to relate his father-son story in a way that every listener of every background can understand.

    I also find it interesting that there are a lot of religious references like "wooden cross", "Bible in her hand", and "'Take me to the Promised Land". Overall, I think this song encorporates the feeling of helplessness and guilt for not being able to let his son experience some great parts of life the way he did when he was a child. Sad but great song. Beautifully written.
    gjack2211on July 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIf you're curious as to what the lyrics to this song mean, you need look no further than the vanishing family farms across the United States. This has happened due to any number of factors, including demand for cheap food (driven by falling wages since the 1970s), government subsidies for big agribusiness that fuel factory farming as opposed to traditional family farms, and general apathy amongst the American people. We don't make enough money anymore to afford to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart, unless you're in the upper classes, and people wear this fact like a badge of honor. It's become a point of pride amongst the working class to eschew buying anything from any source other than Wal-Mart, because those who make enough money to avoid it aren't connected to the working class. That's true, but it also kills local businesses and family farms.

    Family farms have to charge more for their crops than big agribusiness due to the economy of scale. If you grow 10,000 acres of peas, for instance, you can afford to sell them at, let's say, $0.50 per pound and still make a profit. A family farmer can't grow 10,000 acres of peas because he or she needs that land to grow other crops and also to graze animals. So the family farmer can only grow 5 acres of peas, which need to sell for, let's say, $2.00 per pound just to buy seed for next year and keep the farm going.

    When people make less than subsistence wages, and we all have since at least the late 70's or so, regardless of how we perceive it, we can't afford real food. We rely on factory farmed, genetically engineered, hormone-treated stuff. This is, incidentally, the status quo advocated by so-called conservative politicians. How conservative is it to advocate for big agribusiness at the expense of family farms and living wages?
    madman8199on August 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti'm really surprised i'm the first to comment on this song.. I love this song, its just an all around good song.

    Its pretty obvious what this song is about, its about john, or maybe just someone in general losing there family land that had been passed down from generation to generation to the bank, cause the man couldn't pay his loans to the bank, and now his son wont enjoy the land and heiritage that he enjoyed. All in all it really is a sad song.
    I dont quite get the metaphor in the chorus "rain on the scarecrow blood on the plow, if anyone cares to help me out, itd be nice.
    m58heathon December 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI found the CD single to this in a throw-out bin about 3 years after it came out.

    I used to dance around my room with it pumped both when I was at school & Uni. Always used to play it before a night out when I just turned 18 & was at college.
    tsarzanon February 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of John's most passionate songs if you ask me, a fine job.

    The song's meaning is pretty obvious, but his vocal delivery and the ominous chords leading into the chorus are almost haunting, and secure this little number as a classic.
    BakeCarrotson September 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis is related to the midwest farm crisis of the 1980s. See this article for detailed info:….
    nancyfancypantson January 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDevastating! What more do I have to say about this Classic Mellencamp Rocker? You don't have to analyze John's Sad Farmer's Lament Rain on the Scarecrow-it's just there. Fervently and passionately sung and beautifully written, Rain on the Scarecrow is the absolute best Classic Rock song of the Eighties. In 1985, every other news story that Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings-Rock in Peace!-reported on was about the demise and struggle of the American Farmer! All the pictures on TV that I saw and had seen from Indiana to Tennessee right back up to Maryland-where I still live-affected me deeply. I commend and thank John Mellencamp for writing Rain on the Scarecrow-From Reagan to Obama, everything numbingly looks the same!-The backbone of America has been broken for good! I do not like what America has become because its leaders and politicians do absolutely nothing to help out matters but as long as Classic Rock is alive, Rain on the Scarecrow will continue to be sung to anyone who needs a helping hand in American Life. To my favorite Tabby Cat John Mellencamp-I Say Rock Hard and Meow!
    rabbitbunnyon September 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is about financial difficulties farmers in the Midwest US face; difficulties that can go as far as having their farms repossessed by banks. Mellencamp has taken an active role in helping American farmers. Along with Neil Young and Willie Nelson, he regularly plays at the Farm-Aid concerts to help raise money. (
    kfe2on January 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI knew a lot of people at school whose parents were losing their farms due to drought when I first heard this song in the 90s.

    Though our family farm was sold, not lost, it still was very like our family. Dad, his father & grandfather all grew up on the property, but sadly I couldn’t enjoy my childhood there, as much as I desperately wanted to. Troy, QLD Australia.
    tsarzanon February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf you want to know what this song is about watch the video…
    the opening excerpt pretty much sums it up, politicians want more food for less money so why should I work twelve hours a day to barely break even?? Governments have axed the agricultural industry by raising the price of quota (licensing for milk resale) so that it literally takes a millionaire to start a decent farming operation, and the salt of the earth farmers that have been around for generations would rather sell off their quota, cows, and equipment to cash in for retirement then break even for profit. It's kind of like the government saying to the Bourgeoisie "alright you've made enough money, now sit on it" only for them to take the farming responsibility into corporate more profiteable and mass producing hands. The blood on the plow is the axing of hundreds of hard working families that thought they earned nobility enough to pass on their operations to their young but strong independent families and people for that matter are not valued in this country anymore they are frowned upon by the elite. They are not profiteable enough, and thats what it all comes down to. A longstanding culture of hard work and pride murdered. You should also watch this documentary "Seeds of Change" to understand the impact pushy peckers like Monsanto have on what few farms are left.
    draven66on September 19, 2007   Link

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