There's a pale horse comin'
I'm gonna ride it
I'll rise in the morning
My fate decided
I'm a dead man walkin'
I'm a dead man walkin'

In St. James Parish
I was born and christened
Now I've got my story
Mister no need for you to listen
It's just a dead man talkin'

Once I had a job I had a girl
But between our dreams and actions
Lies this world

In the deep forest
Their blood and tears rushed over me
All I could feel was the drugs and the shotgun
And my fear up inside of me
Like a dead man talkin'

'Neath a summer sky my eyes went black
Sister I won't ask for forgiveness
My sins are all I have

Now the clouds above my prison
Move slowly across the sky
There's a new day comin'
And my dreams are full tonight

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Dead Man Walkin' song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWow, no comments yet? This song is amazing. It reminds me of The Stranger by Albert Camus.
    ghoststorieson August 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, as we all know, is written about an inmate on death row, awaiting execution. We know his end is near, because he will "rise in the morning" with his "fate decided". Death rides the pale horse, and in the morning it will come for our protagonist and pull him onboard.

    We then see some background on this character. He is not just a faceless, generic criminal. Often in society we like to dehumanize criminals, reducing their identities to a series of letters and numbers, and categorizing them into "murders", "armed robbers" and "rapists". Who they are, and how they became what they are, remains buried.

    Here, Springsteen tells us about this man. He came from a family of faith, a family that loved and cared enough for him that they baptized him into God's family. He later grew to become a hard working traditional man, with a job and a woman. It seems he had it good for a long time, but as many of us can relate to, circumstances can change, life can throw us a curveball, and we can often find ourselves drifting far away from where we hope to be, simply because of the shots life throws at us. "Betwen our dreams and actions lies this world" other words, the events of society and our interactions with other people can greatly influence our life choices and what happens to us.

    We then learn that this man did indeed go off the rails and commit a terrible drug-fuelled killing, leading to his existence on Death Row. Despite being afraid at the time, we learn that he is not sorry for what he did. He refuses to beg for forgiveness, maintaining his responsibility, for his "sins are all I have".

    "There's a new day comin', and my dreams are full tonight", he lies in bed, watching the clouds roll by the "summer sky" and is warmed by a sense of rebirth, of a second chance, and the forthcoming opportunity to leave this cruel society and move to a refreshing, cleansing world beyong the limitations of our own.
    BlueMonkeyon November 06, 2006   Link

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