I was a highwayman
Along the coach roads, I did ride
With sword and pistol by my side
Many a young maid lost her baubles to my trade
Many a soldier shed his lifeblood on my blade
The bastards hung me in the spring of twenty-five
But I am still alive

I was a sailor
I was borne upon the tide
And with the sea, I did abide
I sailed a schooner round the Horn to Mexico
I went aloft and furled the mainsail in a blow
And when the yards broke off they said that I got killed
But I am living still

I was a dam builder
Across the river deep and wide
Where steel and water did collide
A place called Boulder on the wild Colorado
I slipped and fell into the wet concrete below
They buried me in that great tomb that knows no sound
But I am still around
I'll always be around and around and around and around and around and around

I fly a starship
Across the Universe divide
And when I reach the other side
I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
I'll be back again and again and again and again and again and again


Lyrics submitted by Ocean Soul

Highwayman Lyrics as written by Jimmy Webb

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Highwayman (Johnny Cash cover) song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment

    Oh, come on! No one's commented on this yet? This is one of the best songs done by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson (The Highwaymen. Rest in peace, Johnny and Waylon)! It's about dying, rebirth, and reincarnation!

    TaylorMorrisonon January 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I agree with TaylorMorrison.

    Highwayman is one of THE best songs of all time. The Highwaymen did a create job of it. I think this is one of Jimmy Webb's best songs. I also beleive that he does of a good job of singing it, just him and a piano. Check it out if you can.

    But you are right, its all about dying, birth and reincarnation. The last part of the song always confuses me though...

    dbirchumon January 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    This song is about a single person dying and coming back as another entity. For me, the last part sung by Cash is the most profound. We are familiar with highway robbers, sailors, and dam builders, but the point of Cash's verse is that the rebirth goes on forever when humans might be capable of traveling the universe, or if that's not his destiny then "a single drop of rain."

    Great song!

    tstegal1on February 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning

    m We are all Highway men. Spiritual beings on a timeless journey, experiencing endless experiences on multiple dimensions. Including the earth plane, with all its ebbs and flows, trials and tribulations.

    He was a Highway man. Then a sailor, reincarnated once again into a dam builder, then a star ship driver, presumably possessing, superior abilities or technology compared to his earlier incarnations, which may afford him greater levels of understanding and evolvement…

    However, once graduating or evolving to this ascended being he is not fazed, if he is so pleased to once again be a highway man, or a drop of rain for that matter, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, for life is just a dream. As he now understands that time as we understand it on earth is but as illusion, necessary only for earth existence.

    The true man, or spirit man, is an eternal, cyclical, being. Once again, being born, dying and remerging, evolving on different dimensions as a true spiritual being. Where the physical body is only a vehicle which temporarily houses for a period of time the eternal spirit or soul, where there is truly no begging and no end, just and endless possibilities, cycling, again, again and again. What a truly great and wonderful song, magically performed by four splendid legends in there own right. Putting all that together. It will remain one of the all time classics songs

    bennett26on December 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    listen the first people to sing are willie and kris, they finish their versus' stating that they are still alive, which they are to this day, where as waylon and johnnys lines finish stating they are ghosts that will always be here, both waylon and johnny are dead. strange? i think so, it definitely wasnt planned to be like that, but it turned out that way.. has anyone else never thought of this???

    cody1018on January 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Bennet26, you nailed it! A side note: Glen Campbell recorded 'The Highwayman' in the late 70's. I saw him in concert in 1985 in Atlantic City and he said it was a song about America. That's okay with me. I don't get it that way. But, I guess that's why music & poetry is art and can say different things to other folks.

    neosgonzoon January 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    In regards to neosgonzo's comment:

    In addition to the reincarnation/rebirth message, I've always interpreted this song as a sort of allegory of America. To hear that Glen Campbell at least intended it to be that way makes me feel a lot better. I see the characters in the song each as archetypes of their respective eras, each embodying the spirit of their age as well as the more enduring spirit of the nation as a whole.

    boscaresqueon June 20, 2011   Link

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