"100,000 Tons Of Steel" as written by and Brent Richard Mydland....
I know these rails we're on like I know my lady's smile,
We see a dozen dreams in every passing mile.
Can't begin to count the trips she and I have made,
But I wish I had a dollar for each time we've both been down this grade.

And a hundred thousand tons of steel, made to roll.
The brakes don't work and this grade's too steep, her engine's sure to blow.
And a hundred thousand tons of steel, out of control,
She's more a roller coaster than the train I used to know.

It's one hell of an understatement, to say she can't be beat.
She's temperamental, more a bitch than a machine.
She wasn't built to travel at speed or through mud slides.
These wheels are bound to jump the tracks before they burn like the ties


Murphy sure out done himself to pick this stretch of track
I can only hope my luck is ridin' in the back.
Well I have pray to god this ain't the day we meet,
I've done about everything, but try dragging my feet.


Oh, oh I want to go down slow.

Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind

"Tons of Steel" as written by Brent Richard Mydland

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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100,000 Tons Of Steel song meanings
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  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionActually, you're all about 400 tons of Steel short... the name of the song is 900,000 tons of steel and it is a rippin representation of the Grateful Dead's coming to mainstreet America and actually getting a mention on the billboard charts with Touch of Grey. Written by a permanently acid-entranced Bearded Brent Mydland, this one took Spector's wall of sound and put it to good work. What it means, like most Grateful Dead songs is entirely up to the listener's interpretation. Magpi1's got the mainstream read though.
    jeffmevanson July 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is great more people should like this great song
    readingclasson June 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment100,000 tons of steel, made to roll..hehe this song is definately complexe, but looking at the charecter of the writer Hunter, and knowing him. This song seems to be about music, playing music, and the music industry, and how big the band is, and how chaotic the whole movement is, and how he's having fun enjoying the ride comparing it often with an exciting thrilling roller coaster.

    You can count the drug experiences and playing experiences as all part of the thrill magic this song describes intensely.
    MasterMusicianon December 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMasterMusician,
    The song wsn't written by Robert Hunter. At least the way it's credited on the album is words and music - Brent Mydland. I've become a big fan of Brent's songs over the years, and this one's a gem. It's a standard train/vehicle as woman metaphor, but it's done really well. Great song - underappreciated!
    magpi1on January 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree most of the Dead's works are underappreciated. In the dark was the only album to make the charts, when in my beleifs terrapin station should have aswell. It is sad that bands with this much talent arent even reconized as being truley great.
    ImNeilYoungon July 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just wanted to let you know that the third verse is incorrect on line 3. You say, "She wasn't built to travel at speed or through mud slides."
    It actually says "She wasn't built to travel at THE SPEED A RUMOR FLIES." and "the wheels are bound to jump the track before they burn the ties."
    alloquiaon June 23, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTruly open to interpretation. But knowing Brent's struggle with addiction. It's all too obvious. Riding that train he used to know.
    Her brakes don't work and the grades so steep her engines sure to blow.
    Can't begin to count the trips that she and I have made. But I wish I had a dollar for each time we both been down this grade
    Craneoperator1966on September 12, 2017   Link

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