"Hey Joe" as written by and Billy Roberts....
Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand
Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand, oh
I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man
Yeah, I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady
You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man
Huh! and that ain't cool
Huh hey hoe, I heard you shot your mamma down
You shot her down now
Hey Joe, I heard you shot your lady down
You shot her down in the ground yeah!
Yes, I did, I shot her
You know I caught her messin' round messin' round town
Huh, yes I did I shot her
You know I caught my old lady messin' 'round town
And I gave her the gun
And I shot her
Shoot her one more time again baby!
Oh dig it
Oh alright
Hey Joe,
Where you gonna run to now where you gonna go
Hey Joe, I said
Where you gonna run to now where you gonna go
I'm goin' way down south
Way down to mexico way
I'm goin' way down South
Way down where I can be free
Ain't no one gonna find me
Ain't no hang-man gonna
He ain't gonna put a rope around me
You better believe it right now
I gotta go now
Hey, Joe
You better run on down
Goodbye everybody
Hey, hey Joe...

Lyrics submitted by , edited by NankerPhelge

Hey Joe song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI think everyone has really good theories. I Believe that Joe is a guy who is tied down by everything, especially the government and the only way he can be free is by running away. So the lyrics mean, That the "woman" is the problems and hes going to shoot "her". and then he can run away to be free.
    Rottzon March 12, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe WORDS of this song seem misogynistic. He shoots his lady, gets no condemnation from Jimi, and he even says "shoot her one more time"!


    Thhe music and the back-up singers tell the real story. Listen to the slow pace, the low rumbles, and then the fantastic solo after "I gave her the gun, I shot her". The music tells us about the gravity, the tragedy of the situation. The regret and guilt.

    Notice the back up singers in the first verse sing "Ooo ooo", and in the second verse and onwards, repeatedly sing "Hey Joe". That's his conscience, and his girlfriend: he's remembering his girlfriend: he's haunted by her and what he did to her.

    Then comes "Hey Joe, where you going to run to now?" There's the kicker: he can run from the law, but he can't run from his conscience, her ghost.

    Listen to also to the building drums throughout the song. They also tell of the tragedy, building towards his frenzied, but ultimately fruitless escape.

    Listen also to the way the lyrics are sung: hesitatingly, then with false machismo, then there's little wordless vocalisations during the solo after he shoots her that in effect says "OMG, what have I done?!".

    Song interpretation involves more than just the lyrics.
    Sonofagunzelon July 22, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment1. the song is a cover
    2. it is written and recorded originally by Billy Roberts in 1961
    3. 1961 = it isnt about vietnam
    4. the song is about some guy who shot his wife and is on the run from the law
    butterrollon October 12, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is not about Vietnam....it was an old blues song, remade by Hendrix and countless others. Matter of fact, a group called "The Leaves" released a version of it about 6 months before the Jimi Hendrix Experience did. It is a typical story-telling old blues song. It is very literal....a guy kills his wife beause he caught her cheating on him and is running from the law.
    jersey73on October 01, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI thought this song was about a guy (Joe) who found his wife cheating on him with another man and so he shot her when he refers to shooting his "old lady" down he is refering to his wife
    Not very nice lyrics
    or meaning
    And what is this crap about a hidden message about Vietnam?
    heart_breakeron August 17, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is about a dude who goes to shot his cheating wife
    JordaNthegreaton August 18, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI really am not sure what a blues song about regretting killing your "woman" (either wife of girlfriend) has to do with a lot of the stuff people are mentioning. Basically it's the story of Joe.. he shoots his old lady down and runs off to Mexico, but he does regret doing it..
    PTCGAZon December 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy gosh- that's quite violent and morbid! (still a good song- jimi is the undisputed guitar champion of the world- he plays with his teeth in this song!!
    stuck_in_paradiseon April 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwow- now the guitar is behind his head! and he's left handed!!! im watching the vid can u tell??
    stuck_in_paradiseon April 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionThe words Jimi sings are "I heard you shot your woman down", not "I heard you shot your mamma down".
    JoeCariocaon October 02, 2012   Link

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