I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day

And you, you can be mean
And I, I'll drink all the time
'Cause we're lovers, and that is a fact
Yes, we're lovers, and that is that

Though nothing will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes forever and ever
What'd you say?

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them forever and ever
Oh, we can be heroes, just for one day

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame was on the other side
Oh, we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can be heroes
Just for one day
We can be heroes

We're nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying, then you better not stay
But we could be safer, just for one day


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit, edited by retro1986

Heroes Lyrics as written by David Bowie Brian Peter George Eno

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Heroes song meanings
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85 Comments

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  • +26
    General Comment

    Interesting comments. This is my take on this brilliant song:

    Absurd and very tragic, IMO the best love song ever written. Two very imperfect lovers (not deserving of the label, "Heroes") are in an impossible situation that is tearing them appart. Both, well aware of their limitations know that the "heroic" thing to do is to break up...or at least that's the sense you get from the lyrics, wich are absurdly over the top (intentionally, of course). All the same, possibly the best love song ever written. Bowie sings two distinctly different versions, one short and one long. The short version of the song, unfortunately, eliminates the ambiguity of the long version, not to mention that it diminishes its effect musically because in the long version Bowie starts the first couple of verses very softly, which makes the whole song a crescendo where at the end he is shouting at the top of his lungs. This song's vagueness (as winessed in the comments here) allows listeners to insert whatever meaning they may think is there. A homosexual couple facing discrimination or resistance from those around them ("And the shame was on the other side") may think that the song is precisely about them. A married man or woman having an affair may imagine themselves the topic of such a song ("And we kissed as though nothing could fall"). An alcoholic whose habits are ruining his marriage may see himself in the role of the hero and think that he can hang on to his wife despite the odds ("And I, I'll drink all the time."). People striving against great odds may feel that the song inspires them on ("And the guns shot above our heads). It's a deceptively profound song.
    By the way, I liked the comment concerning the possibility that this song may have been based on a couple escaping Communist East Germany. It does make sense.

    Anderson43on January 28, 2010   Link
  • +13
    General Comment

    David Bowie was recording a new album in Berlin, Germany when he wrote this song. Apparently he saw, looking out of the recording studio window, a man and woman getting intimate on the infamous Berlin wall. The Berlin wall was heavily guarded, hence "The guns shot over our heads".

    Mainstreeton July 21, 2002   Link
  • +11
    My Interpretation

    The song to me is a wistful fantasy on the part of the singer about his (or her) desire for happiness and love despite their personal flaws and the world around the singer keeping him apart from the person he wishes to spend his life with.

    Even then though reality breaks through into the singers fantasy though,, it can never really work out for the singer and the subject of his desires but he longingly asks for just one day to be together, to have what he wants and for maybe the whole thing to truly work out for him so he can have the life he longs for.

    From there singer starts lamenting not living a more simple life where the strains and stresses they go through now would cease to be an issue. "I, I wish you could swim, like dolphins could swim" to me invokes an image of simple freedom, a wide open ocean to live in without the restraints people normally deal with, just travelling around with the person they care about.

    This brings us back to the chorus which is again only fantasy, a simple little story where everything works out and the singer can be with the person they love.

    Then we get more of a picture of how the singer ultimately interacts with their beloved, and its ultimately desperate and short lived, the lyrics invoke the image of war or a firing squad with them standing against a wall with guns being shot over their heads, implying on some level they mutually come together because of the harshness of the world towards them. With this and the next few lines I believe the song implies that the couple are in some kind of forbidden relationship, my mind immediately goes to them being either a gay couple or a racially mixed couple due to the time this song was released and David Bowie himself's personal experience as a bisexual man (at the time).

    In the end the song sadly proclaims "We're nothing, and nothing will help us", the singer has accepted that they will never get what they want out of the romance and that maybe as implied before they aren't right for eachother anyway. At the same time though it ends on a hopeful note as the singer requests the "just one day" they had fantasized about previously, implying however slim a chance things could turn out the way the singer wanted them to, whether that is right or wrong is left to the listener.

    eliphas8on December 12, 2012   Link
  • +10
    General Comment

    1984 - Winston and Julia.

    They were heroes.

    Down with Big Brother!

    hinrodathon September 08, 2010   Link
  • +9
    General Comment

    The line about standing by the wall and kissing: Bowie was recording this great song at Hansa Studios in West Berlin. The control room of the studio had a window which faced the Berlin Wall. Bowie and Brian Eno and Tony Visconti (the album's producer) could look out of that window and see the East German Watchtowers with the gun-toting East German security guards looking right at them. Well, while Bowie was working on the lyrics to the song "Heroes" he took a look out of that window and spotted his producer, Tony Visconti, kissing his West German mistress (Visconti was married at the time) right in front of the Berlin Wall. THAT's who Bowie wrote those lines about. For years he told people that it was just some random couple that he'd seen b/c he didn't want to get the married Viconti in trouble. But after Visconti was divorced, Bowie admitted that it was Visconti that he'd seen kissing a woman by the Berlin Wall.

    Rickveeon April 22, 2013   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    It totally reminds me of the love between Winston and Julia in 1984. This song is beautiful.

    lizardkweenon June 27, 2007   Link
  • +7
    My Interpretation

    "And we kissed as thought nothing could fall". Probably the most beautiful line I've ever heard. There is so much true emotion to this song. I sometimes think about young people who love each other and realize how screwed up and sad the world is sometimes and how nothing truly ever lasts and that things don't work out. Regardless they still want to be together and be each other's reality.

    LunarLoveon February 21, 2013   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    This is what all the emo singers are copying off of when they try to sing all emotional/screamy. Bowie kicks their ass at it, obviously.

    aphekqson May 09, 2003   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    I always think of two people who really want to be together, but something's stopping them. Maybe one (or both) of them is already in a relationship, maybe it's a distance thing, maybe an age gap... anything really. I think this song is the singer saying that if they can't keep what they really want forever, then they could maybe try and have it for one day. 24 hours of pretending they can have it all. At times I think the singer allows themselves to get carried away ("We can be heroes forever and ever"). Maybe they kid themselves into thinking that that one day will make a difference... who knows, maybe it will. In my mind this song's saying "Let's give it one shot, it probably won't change anything, but maybe it could... if not, at least we'll always have that one day that'll be ours forever."

    CptJellyon December 30, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My Opinion

    It was my understanding that he was in Berlin when writing that album as well as the Low album. He saw a couple who lived on opposite sides of the Berlin wall, who were very much in love, and was inspired to write Heroes.

    4N6chicon March 16, 2013   Link

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