There once was a man and he couldn't cry
He hadn't cried for years and for years
Napalmed babies, movie love stories
For instance could not produce tears
As a child he had cried as all children will
Then at some point his tear ducts all ran dry
Grew to be a man, it all hit the fan
Things got bad, but he couldn't cry

His dog got ran over, his wife up and left him
After that he got sacked from his job
Lost his arm in the war, was laughed at by a whore
Ah, but still not a sniffle or sob

Well, his novel was refused, and his movie was panned
His big Broadway show was a flop

He got sent off to jail, you guessed it, no bail
Oh, but still not a dribble or a drop

In jail he was beaten, bullied and buggered
And made to make license plates
Water and bread was all he was fed
Not once did a tear stain his face

Doctors were called in, scientists, too
Theologians were last and practically least

They all agreed sure enough, this is no cream puff
Oh, but in fact an insensitive beast

He was taken from the jail and placed in a place
For the insensitive and the insane
He made a lot of friends and he played a lot of chess
And he cried every time it would rain

Once it rained forty days and it rained forty nights
And he cried and he cried and he cried and he cried

On the forty first day, he passed away
He just dehydrated and died

He went up to heaven, located his dog
After that, he rejoined his arm
Below all the critics, they took it all back
Cancer robbed the whore of her charm

His ex-wife died of stretch marks
His ex-employer went broke
The theologians were finally found out

Right down to the ground, the jail house burned down
And the earth suffered perpetual drought


Lyrics submitted by toterkater

Man Who Couldn't Cry [Live] Lyrics as written by Loudon Wainwright

Lyrics © Spirit Music Group, Downtown Music Publishing

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The Man Who Couldn't Cry song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment

    another great, doesn't take itself too seriously, cash song. both funny and touching at the same time. roll on american iv

    hang on to a dreamon September 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song flips from funny to sad on a dime. Oh, making him die of dehydration is funny/sad.

    Abq_physon February 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "His ex-wife died of stretch marks: is one of my favorite lines in any song, happily married though I am. Wainwright III nailed this song from beginning to end.

    I always wondered why our protagonist cried every time it would rain. It may be as simple as the connection between water from the skies and from the eyes. But sometimes I think maybe the cleansing beauty of rainfall did him in, like a baptism in the night.

    -Pie

    EatingPieon December 02, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I believe this song is about the life of Christ. So many euphemisms and references that parallel the life of Christ; it’s almost impossible to overlook. Like most great, deep meaning songs, this is a think piece.

    Joshthemusicloveron May 01, 2019   Link

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