Casey joins the hollow sound of silent people walking down
The stairway to the subway in the shadows down below
Following their footsteps through the neon darkened corridors
Of silent desperation, never speakin' to a soul
The poison air he's breathin' has the dirty smell of dying
'Cause it's never seen the sunshine and it's never felt the rain
But Casey minds the arrows and ignores the fatal echoes
Of the clickin' of the turnstiles and the rattle of his chains

"Oh," she said, "Casey, it's been so long since I've seen you"
"Here," she said, "Just a kiss to make a body smile"
"See," she said, "I've put on new stockings just to please you"
"Lord," she said, "Casey, can you only stay a while?"

Casey leaves the under ground and stops inside the Golden Crown
For something wet to wipe away the chill that's on his bone
Seeing his reflection in the lives of all the lonely men
Who reach for any thing they can to keep from goin' home
Standin' in the corner, Casey, drinks his pint of bitter
Never glancing in the mirror at the people passing by
Then he stumbles as he's leaving and he wonders if the reason
Is the beer that's in his belly, or the tear that's in his eye

"Oh," she said, "I suppose you seldom think about me"
"Now," she said, "Now that you've a family of your own"
"Still" she said, "It's so blessed good to feel your body"
"Lord," she said" "Casey, it's a shame to be alone"

Lyrics submitted by Disgustipated

Casey's Last Ride Lyrics as written by Kris Kristofferson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Casey's Last Ride song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment

    Casey is headed home to his family late at night, taking as much time as he can, and remembering flashes of the romantic interlude he just finished with a former lover. He's noticing the sadness and foulness of the subway station, referencing the loneliness of the people and the desolation of the city. The bridges between verses are him flashing back to the conversation with this woman from his past who he hasn't seen in a long time, and we know they laid together in each other's arms and that he has a family back home. He stops off at a bar to take some more time, possibly regretting his act, possibly just getting himself to the point of no regret. But the entire song is just what's going through his head as he heads back home after stepping out for the night.

    k_oss_mrldon July 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I tend to go along with the Casey Jones theory. This is not a song about infidelity. It is about the dead and the living and the wandering spirit of Casey who haunts the subways, living the daily reminder of a tragic accident that took his life along with others at the turn of the century. Hints of death are the "dirty smell of dying", the "fatal echoes of the clicking of the turnstiles" alluding to the number of casualties, and the "rattle of his chains" alluding to the carriages that were part of the train that Casey was the driver of. He "minds the arrows" which were early semaphore warning signals for train drivers. He ignores everything else because as a spirit he is powerless to do anything. His loneliness is reflected in "the lives of all the lonely men" at the pub but unlike them he wants to go home to his beloved.

    The two bridges are the interesting sections of the song. They are mournful sentiments of his lover/wife - as if in a dream state she is communicating with Casey, longing for him, yearning for his closeness. She like Casey, is alone, following the accident.

    The "family of his own" is a reference to all those who perished together with Casey on that fateful day.

    Lonnie2016on October 16, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion

    I believe that the meaning of the song is found in the first verse, where we see death clearly presented in illusion and imagery. Casey (whom I believe is Casey Jones based on the songs title and the turn of the century lingo) has recently become deceased and we are witnessing his 'last ride' into the afterlife. The remainder of the song is a vague first and third person account of his last thoughts, interactions, and activities that precede the famous wreck that took his life.

    keithswaffordon September 10, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    I've always thought Casey was a married man who was having an affair and he is going on one last visit to the other woman to end it. He still loves her and is feeling very sad, but the affair must end because he now has a young family. The choruses tell us how the other woman is feeling. She is deeply in love with Casey and lives for the times they can be together which have been getting less often. She gradually comes to realise that he has come to end the affair.

    forestchild23on January 09, 2015   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    This song is a song of the heart, which means it is many things to many people, but I believe it's intent may be of the ghost of Casey Jones last ride. But in its open poetry runs much deeper than that, it is part of all the lonely men's lives it touches, even the women's heart who lost someone, the shadows of memories and thought. The beauty of poetry, and music it is universal to reach so many different people, for no one knows the authors true intent, but it reaches into the listeners, or readers' soul to resurrect or bring to life thought of the heart and mind. For this is the beauty, the of poetry and why they become universal….. for it touches the reader/listeners own reflection of their life, or knowledge of certain events in time, whether in their lives, someone they know or part od the shadows of history…… Jennifer

    jennifer15on July 06, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    The beauty of music is that everyone interprets it differently!

    I know that a lot of people consider this song to be about a man who is going back to his family after a dirty affair. Or the life of Casey Jones. But, I have a different interpretation that varies from both of these.

    I feel that Casey is a man who is reminiscing of a lover from times past! No cheating, nothing recent, just memories of a lover from long ago. Casey has consistently thought of this woman so much to the point where he begins to fantasize her talking to him. Casey has let these memories come to life in his head to the point that it’s almost like she’s apart of his consciousness. Though, he eventually he realizes that he needs to let this memory of an old lover go. These memories/fantasies lash out to him and beg him not to forget.

    I feel that throughout the song the somber tune/setting of drinking, walking with chains, basically just shuffling through life are just him dealing with the loss of this memory (more like fantasy) he has created in his head of his old lover.

    Smokey4348on May 28, 2023   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    God he's describing subway magnificently; that's all I can think of when I'm in subway which is every goddamn day

    KarenZevonon March 31, 2024   Link

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