"Burning of the Midnight Lamp" as written by and Ellas Mcdaniel....
The morning is dead and the day is too
There's nothing left here to lead me, but the velvet moon
All my loneliness I have felt today
It's a little more than enough to make a man throw himself away
And I continue to burn the Midnight Lamp, alone

Now the smiling portrait of you
Is still hanging on my frowning wall
It really doesn't, it really doesn't bother me too much at all
It's just the eh ever falling dust that makes it so hard for me to see
That forgotten earring laying on the floor
Facing coldly towards the door
And I continue to burn the Midnight Lamp, all alone
Yeah, yeah
Lonely, lonely, lonely
Loneliness is such a drag!

So here I sit to face that same old fireplace
Getting ready for the same old explosion
Going through my mind
And soon enough the time will tell
About the circus in the wishing well
And someone who will buy and sell for me
Someone who will toll my bell
And I continue to burn the same old lamp, alone
Darling, can you hear me calling you?
So lonely
Got to blow my mind
Yeah, yeah
Lonely, lonely . . .

Lyrics submitted by mike, edited by papple, epiwoosh

Burning of the Midnight Lamp song meanings
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  • +2
    My Interpretationto me this is about a man's incessant dedication to one love
    no other
    without her

    and having to just live, just manage, without her
    somefucking how
    btw even if this song had no lyrics and it was just the intro by itself i'd still say this ^

    and i still burn the midnight lamp

    'midnight'; accentuating the fact it's not easy
    this song brings out my soul

    youngtinkerboyjackon September 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyou know this has got to be my all time favorite song. that ties with zeppelins stairway and dazed and confused. I dont know why its just that the beginning is just kicking. The way the song is pieced together and it makes you wanna crank it so loud that your gramma over in Cali has to tell you to turn it down.
    Yakuza Warlordon June 19, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. Also, I happen to be a HUGE Hendrix fan. Not to pat myself on the back, but I would call myself on of the top 100 experts in the world on Hendrix.

    This song, I also read was about, and took it to mean, it was about suicide. A guy has nothing going in life, feels lonely, and has no reason to go on living. But he knows that suicide is wrong and tries to take it one day at a time. If he makes it to midnight, he feels like he succeeded surviving through another day.
    jersey73on October 01, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSong is amazing. Depressing and uplifting at the same time. The intro is really great. It's definitely about lonliness as you have all pointed out. I guess that's why I like it so much. I can relate.
    bullets&love.on March 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have never heard this song in its entirety, but from what I do hear, it is bloody mega top notch – Well done, Jimi, not only are you a guitar legend, but you had enough guts to go outside the boundaries, by playing, well, a harpsichord!

    And how about the beautiful vocal chorus of the Sweet Inspirations – they sound so heavenly, that the song does echo a spiritual meaning,

    If he makes it to midnight, he feels like he succeeded surviving through another day – So true
    bkat004on March 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbrotha got soul
    subterranean_summeron January 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm not so sure the "burning of the midnight lamp" refers to sleeping with a woman. If it's about loneliness, he's alone, which means he probably isn't with a woman. It is possible to feel lonely if you're sleeping with a woman you don't love I suppose, maybe even more lonely cuz you're not with one you want to be with. Anyways, I think the "burning of the midnight lamp" means that he's burning the midnight lamp which is the light that keeps him alive... 'til midnight, the light keeping the darkness away so he can live to another day. And I'm speaking metaphorically about the light and darkness... I'm not saying he's actually keeping the light on til midnight, lol.
    Rabson May 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI was listening to this song for the first time under the influence of psychedelica. It's now permanently burned into my corpus callosum. I just saw Jimi as an oracle at the part where he solos and accompanies the screaming guitar with "lonely, lonely, lonely". It's truly an amazing part.
    mindflowerson November 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is basically a Hendrix song about heartbreak, loneliness and isolation. Jimi was heavily influenced by the way Dylan wrote his lyrics in a poetic, picturesque style, rather than the textbook lyrics of the day. Here’s my interpretation:

    “The morning’s dead and the day is too”

    It’s no longer daylight but nighttime which he dreads

    “There's nothing left here to meet me
    But the velvet moon”

    Someone who meant something to him is no longer there. He feels the moon is his only companion now.

    “All my loneliness I have felt today
    It's like a little more than enough
    To make a man throw himself away”

    The feeling of isolation and more than likely heartbreak, has driven him into a lonely desperation. He feels the pain is so great, he could possibly end his life.

    “And I continue
    To burn the midnight lamp

    A play on the expression, burning the midnight oil, which is to work late into the night. Instead he burns the midnight lamp late into the night alone hoping the person who left with return to soothe his loneliness.

    “Now the smiling portrait of you
    Is still hangin' on my frowning wall”

    A picture of the one who has left, remains on his wall. The person is smiling, giving contrast to his own feelings of unhappiness, hence, frowning wall.

    “It really doesn’t, really doesn’t bother me too much at all
    It's just the ever falling dust
    That makes it so hard for me to see
    That forgotten earring layin' on the floor
    Facing coldly towards the door”

    Drugs “dust” have come in to play to take away his pain of rejection and loneliness. The drug has dull his emotional senses and he’s convinced himself, all what he’s feeling “doesn’t bother” him at the moment. But despair comes racing back when he see’s a remaining remnant, the earring, which was left behind during the person’s icy exit out the door.

    “So here I sit to face
    That same old fire place
    Gettin' ready for the same old explosion
    Goin' through my mind”

    He sits facing the fireplace where they
    both use to sit, but now he sits alone. His begins replaying the events which bought him here, over and over, until he feels like his heads going to explode. This must be a nightly occurrence. “Same old explosions”

    “And soon enough time will tell,
    About the circus in the wishing well”

    He wished (wishing well) for fame and it was granted, but now he’s unsure if he wants the “circus” life which came with it.

    “And someone who will buy and sell for me
    Someone to toll my bell”

    Hopes soon this person who has departed and who was truly in his corner will return soon to make him whole once more.

    Hendrix was no god, he was a human being and felt all the emotions We mirror mortals also feel.
    greengretson October 08, 2019   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Loneliness is such a drag" sums it up, basically

    here jimi wrote this song when he was bored and lonely, all the lyrics point to this. he was just staying up all night staring at the moon and wondering about things, i guess

    i like the wah-wah solo, its quite entertaining
    sean7711on July 29, 2002   Link

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