Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who is long paid for his crime
But is there because he's a victim of the times

I wear the black for those who've never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there ought to be a man in black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And I wear it for the thousands who have died
Believin' that the Lord was on their side
I wear it for another hundred-thousand who have died
Believin' that we all were on their side

Well, there's things that never will be right, I know
And things need changin' everywhere you go
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right
You'll never see me wear a suit of white

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything's okay
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
'Til things are brighter, I'm the man in black


Lyrics submitted by toterkater

Man in Black Lyrics as written by Johnny Cash

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Man in Black song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment

    Probably my favorite from Cash well, though a couple others give it a close run. I think the general consensus got it. He wears black to remind everyone that the world's not a perfect or even a good place. It's not hopeless, however, as he clearly believes that things could be much better, though he does acknowledge things will never be perfect.

    It's a shame this song isn't more popular... oh well.

    TheSilverNobleon August 27, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Whilst, comment #4 by brigante133 says that he got darker in his stuff with Rick Rubin, that is irrelevant because this was not done under the American Recordings label.

    Cash should have been president.

    I can't really decipher any anti-Christian message in it, but there's definately a pro-Christian theme, seeing how Johnny was a religious man, you can understand why.

    R.I.P. Johnny

    ljwright88on June 03, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    What Johnny want to say in this is song got very depressive point . He says "And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on"

    He wears black 'cause word is in big crisis. For all unhappy,hungry,prisoned,sick,lonely,old...He wear that. I think it's amazing.

    "Well, there's things that never will be right I know And things need changin' everywhere you go"

    He also gives a chance for improvement of mankind so he will stop be man in black,but here is not much speak about it 'cause Johnny knows that world will hardly be better.

    "I'd love to wear rainbow everyday"

    He love that,but he can't. How you even can tell everything is ok when there is everything wrong?

    "But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black"

    Till things are brighter...Do i need to tell anything more than he wear black to day until he died.

    This song got point,is honest and it's true. Signature Johnny's song. RIP LEGEND!

    Jokaon December 16, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'm suprised this song hasn't recieved any comments yet. Johnny Cash's signature tune, a genuine classic.

    Cisiteon December 26, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    naw, its okay. i'm not sure if he was born again in the exact religious term, but he certainly turned his life around and became a heavily religious man. or so I have read in his biography Cash.

    brigante133on January 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Yeah, I agree with Cisite.

    lightninboyon April 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    agreed but then again me makes 3 so... sides noone really needs to look up the meaning of this song.

    brigante133on October 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    sum of the parts in this song sound like anti-christianity or whatever you call it but i bought a johnny cash dvd a week or two ago an in it there were songs that sounded pro-christian an i dont know much bout johnny cash ant bin listenin to im fer that long..... help?

    MYCRUSTYSCABSon December 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    johnny cash was an avid christian after he became born again. but with rick rubin he definitely got a lot darker in his content.

    brigante133on December 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    ahh cheers but being born again? sorry if i sound stupid here but i'm not really in the know of religion whats it mean? (sorry if wastin yer time or anystuff like that)

    MYCRUSTYSCABSon December 22, 2005   Link

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