Went to my doctor yesterday
She said I seem to be OK
She said, "Paul, you better look around
How long you think that you can
Run that body down?
How many nights you think you can
Do what you been doin'
Who, now who you foolin?"

I came back home and I went to bed
I was resting my head
My wife came in and she said
"What's wrong, sweet boy, what's wrong?"
I told her what's wrong
I said, "Peg, you better look around
How long you think you can
Run that body down
How many nights you think you can
Do what you been doin'
Who, now, who you foolin?"

Who you foolin?
Who you foolin?

Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I said, "Na na na"

Kid, you better look around
How long you think that you can
Run that body down?
How many nights you think you can
Do what you been doin'
Who, now, who you foolin?

Who you foolin?
Who you foolin?
Who you foolin?
Who you foolin, yeah?

Lyrics submitted by Janson

"Run That Body Down" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Run That Body Down song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI think it's more innocent than that - how many nights can you be up late gigging in a row before it takes its toll? Or possibly how many consecutive nights you can stay up having fun with your newly-wed...
    MJT81on August 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:) love this song
    punkroboton December 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst section: Paul sees the doctor. The doctor says Paul *seems* to be okay, but something's worrying him: Paul appears to run his body down, that is: working so hard, specially at night, that his body deteriorates and won't take it much longer. According to the doctor, Paul needs to worry about that, and implicitly the doctor advises Paul a more relaxed lifestyle, and not kid himself any longer that he can go on the way he does.

    Second section: Paul gets home, gets some rest (probably heeding the doctor's advice). Wife comes home, wondering what Paul is doing in bed at this time of day. She's afraid he's ill or something, and wants to comfort him ('sweet boy'). Now here's the plot twist: Paul suddenly takes up the doctor's role and tells his wife exactly the same thing that his doctor told him (she should worry about her physical condition, and take up a more relaxed lifestyle, or things might go wrong).

    Now here's the real question this song asks: why does Paul take up his doctor's role and starts to advise his wife? Here's my answer.

    At first, people might think that 'pop star' Paul has to change the lifestyle that comes with being a pop star: travelling the world, playing concerts every night, catching only a few hours of sleep etc. If this was the cause of Paul's 'running his body down', then all he has to do is take it a bit easier - professionally.

    But in the second verse, Paul is looking for the cause of his problems in another direction. It's not the *pop star life* that worries him, but his wife's behavior. That needs to change, in order for her to remain well - and as a consequence, for himself to remain well. They're both running their body down, and both need to take a break from whatever it is that causes them to exhaust their bodies.

    Now it's up to you to guess what it is that caused Paul and his wife to exhaust themselves 'night' after 'night'. I think MJT81 was spot-on when he noted that the couple had been 'just married' by the time this song was written.

    In the third verse, Paul directs his advice to us, listeners ('kid'). How friendly of him to worry about our business at night! :-))

    Of course, we all know that Mother Nature will ask and take her course, and that the friendly advice is not going to help much. Not the doctor's advice to Paul, not Paul's advice to his wife, and not his advice to us.

    The song is just a clever joke, with a happy musical wrapping.
    mcouzijnon September 01, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General Comment1 comment? HA! K so the Doctor is obviously his drug dealer and Paul himself is into some dealing and his "Doctor" is telling him "How long you think you can run that body down?" like "how long before you get caught there little buddy". It's like a self realization thing he's got going here. Really clever Paul, glad I figured it out.
    Kid Bon July 29, 2008   Link

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