I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton
Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died

From the town of Lincoln Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path

I can't say that I'm sorry for the things that we done
At least for a little while sir, me and her we had us some fun

Now the jury brought in a guilty verdict and the judge he sentenced me to death
Midnight in a prison storeroom with leather straps across my chest

Sheriff when the man pulls that switch sir and snaps my poor neck back
You make sure my pretty baby is sittin' right there on my lap

They declared me unfit to live, said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world

Lyrics submitted by sakebox

Nebraska Lyrics as written by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Nebraska song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is actually about Charlie Starkweather, who did all of the things in this song, including asking that his little girlfriend (Carol Anne Fugate) be allowed to sit on his lap during his execution.
    voodoochildeon November 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat an awesome song. Very "Natural Born Killers."

    Killed everyone who got in his way, arrested, executed....the incarnation of "meanness"
    sakeboxon April 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis has to be one of the most haunting songs i've ever heard. not just the lyrics, but the echoing sound of the harmonica, and his voice.

    not too many people can write songs like The Boss.
    prodigal_sunscreenon August 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo-one can write songs like Bruce. NO-ONE. Dylan is the closest.

    springsteen: the greatest
    The Magic Raton October 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE THIS SONG. No one can write like this. I'm only 16, but I label The Boss, The Best writer I've ever heard. Beautiful.
    surferswingenon March 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother fantastic song from the album "Nebraska"
    It refers to the (real) story that Terrence Malick put on the screen in his first movie (in 1974, I guess), the wonderful, unique "Badlands" (see Bruce's references ?), with Charlie Starkweather played by Martin Sheen (yeah !), and Carol Anne Fugate played by Sissy Spacek (yeah ! (bis)). Thanks for their names, Voodoochilde...
    The Dog That Ate...on April 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, maybe no one can write songs like the Boss, but no one can write songs like Neil Young or Mark Kozelek... Cheers !
    The Dog That Ate...on April 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Bruce is trying to say that there's no getting away from the bad things in life. He's singing from the killer's point of view, and the killer accepts that he's bad and that he's got it coming to him. I guess Bruce is saying that we are forced to accept it as well and just get on with it.
    RooBenon July 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBruce's take on what creates a serial killer. In this case, 50's killer Charlie Starkweather and his girlfriend. Very straightforward in its imagery. Even though he is a stone cold killer, you can hear the pathos in the music and the lyrics. And Bruce sums up why evil things happen in our lives in the final line of the song "Well sir I guess there's just a meanness in this world."
    rmcd0494on August 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is also about having just nothing good around.
    No good people, no good examples, the voice makes me think of a child, an innocent child who says, "Yes, I did that all, what else could I do?"
    fordescorton January 17, 2008   Link

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