Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down

I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must've always thought you'd be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening

I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There's nothing you can do about it anyway)

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone

Keep a fire for the human race
And let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know will be coming down

Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily, it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound

Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive but you'll never know

Lyrics submitted by Howard55, edited by crdoug1957

For A Dancer song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    This is my favorite Jackson Browne song right now... it's an incredibly moving meditation on death (especially "there is one dance you'll do alone", that line gets me every time). The absolute best part, however, is that, for once, death inspires hope. Jackson literally turns my frown upside down every time I get past the violin solo.

    jnb987on December 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    incredible song. to me, it's mostly about one of the sad truths in life: that one day everyone and everything we love will be gone. but it's all we've got, and you owe it to those you love to make the best of it.

    probably my favorite jackson browne song, too.

    sadmachineon January 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Just wanted to set the record straight on this song, and for that matter, the Late For The Sky album. This album was released in 1974. Jackson's wife committed suicide in 1976. Some of the songs on the Pretender album are supposedly about the death of his wife, but he's said in interviews that most of the songs were already written before she died.

    acahill1962on May 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song is existentialism

    battaryacidon November 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song makes me cry.

    when i was little, my mother would play jackson browne albums and i would listen and sing along. i came to know all the songs by heart, including this one. but over the years, i heard less and less Jackson Browne. Recently, his CDs have went back into my CD player, and, while I'm still little (just a teenager), the music has a completely different meaning to me because I am able to listen to and understand the lyrics. after listening to this song for years as a young child (like 5 to 8 years old), I finally put it back in the CD player at the age of 15 and I just started crying. It is an amazingly sad and beautiful song.

    Colosimoon May 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The song was written for a bisexual friend of Jackson's, Scotty Runyon. "Song For Adam" was about Adam Saylor.

    rainmanjron May 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this is one of my favourite songs it never gets old Jackson Browne is one of the very few singer song writers who can bring out so much emotion through his lyrics.

    "Cause I know you'd rather we were dancing" Beautiful line

    woodenshipson June 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song was actually written for the same Adam the song "Song for Adam" is about on Browne's first album.

    wearydreameron June 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I should add that this is one of my very favorite Browne songs. There are so many that my favorites depend on what catagory we're talking about. For the catagory of life, death, and how to live it nothing beats For A Dancer. I cry when I hear it.

    rainmanjron May 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I should add that this is one of my very favorite Browne songs. There are so many that my favorites depend on what catagory we're talking about. For the catagory of life, death, and how to live it nothing beats For A Dancer. I cry when I hear it.

    rainmanjron May 09, 2007   Link

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