(Oh, the wine cooler)

Johnny Ryall is the bum on my stoop
I gave him fifty cents to buy some soup
He knows the time with the fresh Gucci watch
He's even more over than the mayor Ed Koch
Washing windows on the Bowery at a quarter to four
'Cause he ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Livin' on borrowed time and borrowed money
Sleepin' on the street there ain't a damn thing funny
With the hand-me-down food and hand-me-down clothes
A rockabilly past of which nobody knows
Makes his home all over the place
He goes to sleep by falling down on his face
Sometimes known as the leader of the homeless
Sometimes drunk, man the kid's always phoneless
Sleepin' on the street in a cardboard box
He's better off drinkin' than smokin' the rocks
Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall
Kickin' uptown, kickin' downtown, kickin' crosstown
Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall

He drinks where he lies
He's covered with flies
He's got the hand me down Pumas and the tie dyes
Well, you go upstate and get your head together
Thunderbird is the word and you're light as a feather
Detox at the flop house no booze allowed
Remember the good old days with the rockabilly crowd
Memphis is where he's from (out in Tennessee)
He lives in the street but he's no bum
He's the rockabilly star from the days of old
He used to have teeth all filled with gold
He got platinum voice but only gold records
On the bass (was Boots), on the drums (was Checkers)
Louis Vuitton with the Gucci guitar
Johnny Ryall
Who do you think you are?
Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall
Takin' the night train, drinkin' O.E
Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall
One, two, three, four
One, two, three, four
One, two, three, four
One, two, three

Donald Trump and Donald Tramp living in the men's shelter
Wonder Bread bag shoes and singing "Helter Skelter"
He asks for a dollar you know what it's for
Man, bottle after bottle he'll always need more
He's no less important than you working class stiffs
He drinks a lot of liquor but he don't drink piss
He paid his dues playing the blues
He claims that he wrote the Blue Suede Shoes
Elvis shaved his head when he went into the army
That's right y'all his name is Johnny
Kick it
Johnny Ryall, Johnny Ryall


Lyrics submitted by shut

Johnny Ryall Lyrics as written by Adam Nathaniel Yauch Adam Horovitz

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Johnny Ryall song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

2 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Comment

    The lyrics for Johnny Ryall speak for themselves. It's about a real person who was homeless. I believe he was depicted in Fight For Your Right Revisited wearing a Def Jam jacket. In the commentary for Paul's Boutique Mike D said he gave Johnny his Def Jam jacket.

    Mushmouth Joeon June 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Love that sampled riff from "Sharon." Made me track down the original song, which is sort of the point of a sample - "check out part of this awesome song."

    D. Dodge Silveron November 08, 2019   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Step
Ministry
Both as a standalone and as part of the DSOTS album, you can take this lyric as read. As a matter of public record, Jourgensen's drug intake was legendary even in the 1980s. By the late 90s, in his own words, he was grappling with massive addiction issues and had lost almost everything: friends, spouse, money and had nearly died more than once. "Dark Side of the Spoon" is a both funny & sad title for an album made by a musical genius who was losing the plot; and this song is a message to his fans & friends saying he knows it. It's painful to listen to so I'm glad the "Keith Richards of industrial metals" wised up and cleaned up. Well done sir.
Album art
The Night We Met
Lord Huron
This is a hauntingly beautiful song about introspection, specifically about looking back at a relationship that started bad and ended so poorly, that the narrator wants to go back to the very beginning and tell himself to not even travel down that road. I believe that the relationship started poorly because of the lines: "Take me back to the night we met:When the night was full of terrors: And your eyes were filled with tears: When you had not touched me yet" So, the first night was not a great start, but the narrator pursued the relationship and eventually both overcame the rough start to fall in love with each other: "I had all and then most of you" Like many relationships that turn sour, it was not a quick decline, but a gradual one where the narrator and their partner fall out of love and gradually grow apart "Some and now none of you" Losing someone who was once everything in your world, who you could confide in, tell your secrets to, share all the most intimate parts of your life, to being strangers with that person is probably one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. So Painful, the narrator wants to go back in time and tell himself to not even pursue the relationship. This was the perfect song for "13 Reasons Why"
Album art
Mountain Song
Jane's Addiction
Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell gives Adam Reader some heartfelt insight into Jane’s Addiction's hard rock manifesto "Mountain Song", which was the second single from their revolutionary album Nothing's Shocking. Mountain song was first recorded in 1986 and appeared on the soundtrack to the film Dudes starring Jon Cryer. The version on Nothing's Shocking was re-recorded in 1988. "'Mountain Song' was actually about... I hate to say it but... drugs. Climbing this mountain and getting as high as you can, and then coming down that mountain," reveals Farrell. "What it feels to descend from the mountain top... not easy at all. The ascension is tough but exhilarating. Getting down is... it's a real bummer. Drugs is not for everybody obviously. For me, I wanted to experience the heights, and the lows come along with it." "There's a part - 'Cash in now honey, cash in Miss Smith.' Miss Smith is my Mother; our last name was Smith. Cashing in when she cashed in her life. So... she decided that, to her... at that time, she was desperate. Life wasn't worth it for her, that was her opinion. Some people think, never take your life, and some people find that their life isn't worth living. She was in love with my Dad, and my Dad was not faithful to her, and it broke her heart. She was very desperate and she did something that I know she regrets."
Album art
When We Were Young
Blink-182
This is a sequel to 2001's "Reckless Abandon", and features the band looking back on their clumsy youth fondly.
Album art
Magical
Ed Sheeran
How would you describe the feeling of being in love? For Ed Sheeran, the word is “Magical.” in HIS three-minute album opener, he makes an attempt to capture the beauty and delicacy of true love with words. He describes the magic of it all over a bright Pop song produced by Aaron Dessner.