Shower in the dark day
Clean sparks diving down
Cool in the waterway
Where the baptized drown
Naked in the cold sun
Breathing life like fire
Thought I was the only one
But that was just a lie

'Cause I heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the fourth of July

Pale in the flare light
The scared light cracks and disappears
And leads the scorched ones here
And everywhere no one cares
The fire is spreading
And no one wants to speak about it
Down in the hole
Jesus tries to crack a smile
Beneath another shovel load

'Cause I heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the fourth of July

Heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the fourth of July
Fourth of July, July

Now I'm in control
Now I'm in the fall out
Once asleep but now I stand
And I still remember your sweet everything
Light a roman candle
And hold it in your hand

Heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the fourth of July

Heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the fourth of July, yeah


Lyrics submitted by jt, edited by Mellow_Harsher

4th Of July Lyrics as written by Chris Cornell

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Hipgnosis Songs Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

4th of July song meanings
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  • +13
    My Interpretation

    I don't really see it as anything about religion or drugs or a nuclear holocaust, but about war and the irony of American pride.

    Now follow me on this, but if you think of a war veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, what do you think they feel on the 4th of July? Fireworks are a little cliched of being reminiscent of gunfire. The noise will often take a soldier right back to those awful days:

    "And I heard it in the wind And I saw it in the sky"

    this would make this veteran consider the similarities between the sound of gunfire and the sound of fireworks. But is the relationship just physical?

    Fireworks are THE symbol of American pride. They stand for all American values. i.e. freedom and justice.

    On the other hand, guns are a symbol of war, which is seen as having the qualities of oppresion and unjust killing.

    These two symbols are contrasted against eachother.

    Back to the veteran, when he's hearing the fireworks, he's thinkinng of war

    "And I thought it was the end, I thought it was the 4th of July"

    He's thinking: "I thought I heard war, but I really just heard American Pride."

    And that's where the irony comes from. America, and all its core values are built on the exact opposite OF those values. America derives its peace from unnecessary bloodshed, and its justice from its unjustified violence.

    So from the perspective of the veteran(and who should understand Amercan pride better?), these two symbols have a remarkable resemblance both aurally, AND in their meaning.

    that's why I like this song. because the symbols are both aural, they lend themselves well to some intense imagery.

    but anyway, that's what I get from the lyrics. If Chris Cornell says it's about an acid trip then that's what it is.

    mitchgustavtheroboton January 23, 2011   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    Cornell said this again on Friday at the show in LA, "This song is about being on acid and having 2 cop cars pull up next to you with their lights flashing".

    pr4mojoon July 25, 2011   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    This song is fucking mindblowing. I smell gunpowder and see sparks when I hear it. The lyrics point incredibly strongly to an apocalypse, acid or no. Jesus dead, Hell freezing over (COLD sun), plus the fucking fact that he mentions that he thought it was the end. He uses the 4th of july as an allegory for the apocalypse- fire, explosions..it also first well with the summer theme of the album.

    My favorite part is "Light a roman candle and hold it in your hand"- If you've ever held a Roman candle at fourth of July, you're basically shooting flames from your hand. Very cool mental image.

    And goddamn that riff. It makes my throat itch.

    Schizimaon December 17, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Bruce almighty, this should have been a single from Superunknown. Perhaps it was because they already had five beauties from it already. This is scary stuff and one of Chris Cornell's best and most underrated pieces of songwriting. He is a star; in fact he's five *****

    feminist92on September 20, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    Always took it as a chaotic, end-time scenario caused by over-population, mass/uncontrolled consumerism and then global war brought upon us by greed and inflexibility. Where we've taken ourselves to the very brink, the world (or what's left of it) falling apart around us, while the people who are suppose to be representing good, wholesome values (the Christians in this instance) hide behind the reasoning they've never done anything wrong and that their faith will provide for them right up until it's far too late to reverse the damage done.

    wolfedaleon August 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    haha, if this really is about acid trip then it actually makes some sense... if thats possible lol. great song!

    drawingboardon August 14, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    This song has some apocalyptic themes & very dark lyrics ("Jesus tries to crack a smile beneath another shovel load"). Chris Cornell explained the song in an interview with RIP magazine, April 1994: "One time I was on acid, and there were voices ten feet behind my head. The whole time I'd be walking, they'd be talking behind me. It actually made me feel good, because I felt like I was with some people. At one point I was looking back, and I saw that one person was wearing a black shirt and jeans, and the other person was wearing a red shirt. They were always there. It was kinda like a dream, though, where I'd wake up and look and focus once in a while and realize there was no one there. I'd go, 'Oh, f--k, I'm hearing voices.' '4th of July' is pretty much about that day. You wouldn't get that if you read it. It doesn't read like, 'Woke up, dropped some acid, got into the car & went to the Indian reservation.'"

    EternalTearsOfSorrowon July 04, 2019   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    its about a nuclear war and the aftermath of it

    treestumpon January 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i thought it was about mushrooms/lsd

    clown137on April 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    Chris Cornell, from an interview with RIP magazine, April 1994 : “One time I was on acid, and there were voices ten feet behind my head. The whole time I’d be walking, they’d be talking behind me. It actually made me feel good, because I felt like I was with some people. At one point I was looking back, and I saw that one person was wearing a black shirt and jeans, and the other person was wearing a red shirt. They were always there. It was kinda like a dream, though, where I’d wake up and look and focus once in a while and realize there was no one there. I’d go, ‘Oh, fuck, I’m hearing voices.’ ‘4th of July’ is pretty much about that day. You wouldn’t get that if you read it. It doesn’t read like, ‘Woke up, dropped some acid, got into the car and went to the Indian reservation.”

    EternalTearsOfSorrowon July 03, 2021   Link

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