I went out walking
Through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones
Saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking
Under an atomic sky
Where the ground won't turn
And the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye

Yeah I went with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

I went drifting
Through the capitals of tin
Where men can't walk
Or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit
They say they want the kingdom
But they don't want God in it

I went out riding
Down that old eight lane
I passed by a thousand signs
Looking for my own name

I went with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you

I went out there
In search of experience
To taste and to touch
And to feel as much
As a man can
Before he repents

I went out searching
Looking for one good man
A spirit who would not bend or break
Who would sit at his father's right hand
I went out walking
With a bible and a gun
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one
Now Jesus, don't you wait up
Jesus, I'll be home soon
Yeah I went out for the papers
Told her I'd be back by noon

Yeah I left with nothing
But the thought you'd be there too
Looking for you

Yeah I left with nothing
Nothing but the thought of you
I went wandering

Oh ho

Lyrics submitted by jt

The Wanderer Lyrics as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Wanderer song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment
    To me it's simply about a man searching for God. Although I'm not religious, its one of my favourite songs (althought Bono doesn't even sing it!) When I first heard this song it was shortly after Sept. 11, and so I couldn't help apply the lyrics to the situation. Try it for yourself, I think the first verse is especially relevent. Instead of a man searching for God, he is searching for a lost loved one. But you can interpret it for yourself.
    Spider1on April 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    This is a great conclusion to Zooropa. The first half of the album is about the awfulness of a consumeristic culture. In the last half, you slowly wake up and begin to seek out God. I think the alarm sound at the end of this song is a wake-up call. You can't waste your whole life doing things just because they feel good.
    Sempreon May 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I think this song is about a guy who can't go on in his contradictory world, and can't do nothing to found truth. He goes looking in the fantasies of people (the first paragraph, the "consumer's" world) and finds the material bones that suported them. Then he keeps searching in the material world (second paragraph, the productive world), the people that tries to keep living caring about his needs to survive. And so, he can't find himself, even looking to a thousand signs, nor he can't find that person who could serve of a guide. He tries it all so he can repent, because he doesn't know what is that right thing he has to do. Then there comes the part of the bible and the gun. I like to think is about his laws and his power to judge others and ask for (or make) punishment ("I was sure I was the one"). He finds out he can't judge anyone because he don't knows the "general truth". So he can't find the truth outside ("wen't out for the papers", the facts) but he has to return home, in need ("told her I'll be back"). But now that he experienced, he knows he can't find his truth in others, but in him. So he left, wandering in the inside, trying to know himself. Knowing Bono (not that good), I think he writes the song in a spiritual way. But can apply to all the people, in that search we all make trough our lives.
    gilgalad88on May 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation
    i beilieve the song to be about a man longing for the perfect life in a perfect world but he cannot find it hence at the end going out with a bible and a gun. he tells Jesus he will be 'home soon', i take this to be heaven as he plans to use the gun to take his life as he knows he will never be in a perfect world in his natural life
    hayesdanon November 01, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    this seems to be a man just going out and finding himself with nothing but the thought of his lost love or, as Spider1 said, God. The later would make more sense. Johnny Cash is amazing and he really makes this song, and i dare to say, better that Bono could have. can't believe i just said that. ;)
    Spence189on May 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    It's about God's call on an individual's life. The struggle to do what's right in a wrong world. I would imagine this is autobiographical for Bono!
    timbo.hon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I love this song. When I first heard it I thought of a man who knew he was about to die i.e "Jesus don't you worry, jesus I'll be home soon" lovely line and I like to think of this person searching for a lost love either before he dies or after the event. Does that make any sense? wonderful song.
    Becoon December 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I think it's more about someone who's gone too far in his religious beliefs and is a crazed fanatic. "I went out walking .. with a Bible AND A GUN"??? Christians aren't exactly known for being gun-toters unless they slip off the edge of sanity. Good song nevertheless and Johnny Cash does a great job (as per usual). It was neat to see Bono sing it during the tribute show on TV to the late Mr. Cash.
    dryahon January 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    I beg to differ: Those of Christendom - "Christians" who do not follow the teachings of Christ, but who have spiritually adulterate themselves to serve Satan and his deathful world system go out with "a Bible and a gun" enmasse. They participate in and/ or spiritually support the wars of their nations. They fight for their country - or back it up - "in the name of God." In this way, FALSE Christianity has led to defamation of Christ, the Creator, and the Bible - which is Satan's aim. TRUE Christianity - though smallish in comparison to fake, Satan-sell-out "Christianity" - remains in this world though. Its members are conscientous objectors. They actually don't "heed the battle call."
    Theresa1on January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Honestly I think he says a Bible and a Gun because he was searching for God in this sad world we live in today, and this is a dangerous world...therefore he went looking for God with his Bible and a gun to protect himself. The first time I heard this song was after Cash passed away, and I really don't know any other songs by him, but This song and Ring of Fire, are quickly getting me hooked on his music....anway...since the first time I heard it was a few weeks ago, and since Walk the Line just came out, Though I haven't seen it, when I heard the line: Now Jesus, don't you wait up Jesus, I'll be home soon : I almost cried....I don't even know anythign about Johnny Cash and that made me sad to hear him sing that.
    bono_212on January 24, 2006   Link

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