"Once Upon A Time In The West" as written by and Mark Knopfler....
Some people get a cheap laugh breaking up the speed limit
Scaring the pedestrians for a minute
Crossing up progress driving on the grass
Leaving just enough room to pass
Sunday driver never took a test
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west

Yes it's no use saying that you don't know nothing
It's still gonna get you if you don't do something
Sitting on a fence that's a dangerous course
Oh, you could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force
Even the hero gets a bullet in the chest
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west

Mother mary your children are slaughtered
Some of you mothers ought to lock up your daughters
Who's protecting the innocents
Heap big trouble in the land of plenty
Tell me how we're gonna do what's best
You guess once upon a time in the west

Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west
Oh yeah, once upon a time in the west

Once upon a time in the west

Lyrics submitted by Dasch

"Once Upon a Time in the West" as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Once Upon A Time In The West song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commenti dont think its about the wild west as such but possibly uses the wild west as a metaphor for londons west end. there are ample clues in the song telling us that hes talking about modren life; sunday driver, driving test, driving on the grass.
    see also the song wild west end from same album
    willardon November 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe alchemy version (13 mn) is unbelievable
    as for the meaning, rodan may be right.. but usually knopfler's lyrics are more complex, deeper than that.. so i dnt rly know..
    nachozon January 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is just about life in the Wild West, where even the hero can be killed, where you have to careful for some yahoo who's driving their wagon or horses carelessly like a sunday driver, where its a dangerous, but glamourous life. the Sunday driver necer took a test, meaning he never had to pass a driver's ed class to drive his horse or wagon. even the hero gets a bullet in the chest, meaning even he can be killed, no one's invincable, its all just chaos. Mother Mary's children have been killed, and there's heap big trouble in the land of plenty, meaning that its a plentiful, opportunitous land, but its also full of danger. an overall great song, about the perils and highlights of living in the Wild West.
    Rodan2000on October 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, the song Wild West End was from their first album, Dire Straits, this song is from Communique. and yes, they use the term Sunday Driver and Driver's test, but i think they're using those as metaphores for the original Wild West. i take this from the fact that the song title is Once Upon a Time in the West. the song about the Wild West End, is called the Wld West End, i'm thinking the song with Wild West (not followed by End, and even named after a popular Western movie) would actually be about the Wild West.
    Rodan2000on December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it has something to do with the sergio leone movie (C'era una volta il West (1968)), because it they both deal with the ideas people have of the west. They both show us where complete freedom brings us, it's going to be a mess, not a paradise.
    harmon April 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe title "Once Upon a Time in the West" is just a homage to the film. It's about London's West End in the late 70s, using the American "Wild West" as an allegory.
    Caledonon November 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit might also be a critique (or a description of Knopfler's idea) of the western world, mostly referring to the USA...
    jrgihaon September 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Wild West End" was definitely about London's West End. But this? I don't know. I think this one may really be about the United States, and maybe even the real Old West. The lyrics seem to talk about lawlessness.

    But does it matter? This could be an instrumental for all I care. The song has a beautiful dark, warm sound, with spine-tingling guitar from Knopfler. Fabulous.
    Starqueston November 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationToday some people think there hot shots because they break a traffic law.

    Contrast that to the real wild west. Back then, you come across an outlaw, in the middle of nowhere, you have nothing but your own weapons, and fighting skills, to protect yourself. Bad guys knew they had little chance of being caught.

    Much of the wild west was literally lawless. Think you're a bad ass because you break the speed limit? Imagine living back then.
    walterbyrdon December 07, 2015   Link

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