Long distance runner, what you standing there for?
Get up, get out, get out of the door
You're playing cold music on the barroom floor
Drowned in your laughter and dead to the core
There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town
Takes a whole pail of water just to cool him down

Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!

Almost ablaze still you don't feel the heat
It takes all you got just to stay on the beat
You say it's a living, we all gotta eat
But you're here alone, there's no one to compete
If mercy's a business, I wish it for you
More than just ashes when your dreams come true

Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!

Long distance runner, what you holding out for?
Caught in slow motion in a dash to the door
The flame from your stage has now spread to the floor
You gave all you had. why you wanna give more?
The more that you give, the more it will take
To the thin line beyond which you really can't fake

Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!
Fire! Fire on the mountain!


Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind

Fire on the Mountain Lyrics as written by Robert C. Christie Hunter Michael S. Hart

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Fire On The Mountain song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentBasically a commentary on need for a sense of urgency:

    First two stanzas sounds like someone's telling a less "successful" someone to wake up life, stop numbing out, partying, faking you are happy. You're not doing anything meaningful lazy bum. The dragon reference is sarcastic: "you're so on fire we may need a a whole pail to cool you off" (any substantial fire would not be extinguished so easily). So I wish you would see what's up and "tap out" of your failed entertainment/art career. You could have a much better and easier life instead of living check to check. Who cares if they tell you you're a sell out?

    The third stanza is a view of someone avoiding life THROUGH action (workaholism): Your fire has burnt out of control and is taking you with it. You are extremely busy but not really playing full out or taking risks. What's it gonna take for you to quit b.s.ing yourself and get to your true purpose?

    My $.02
    HumblinDiceon April 01, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Commentto me it is about self destruction, not taking advantage of your potential, being afriad to leave the scene, and burning out while those around you realize you are a fake - long distance runner, what you standing there for?
    rgb2500on December 30, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThe name "Fire On The Mountain" is also the name of chapter 4 of the book Lord Of The Flies. In the beginning of the songs, there is a sound that sounds like flies buzzing.
    DVOTAon January 06, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is telling the listener not to get caught up in the rat race of life and try to relax more. Fire on the moutain is something people would scream in a panic, there would be a sense of urgency. If you think about it, the demands of society make life seem very urgent. Many people work themselves to the grave and dont realize it "almost ablaze, still you dont feel the heat" they give all they have "just to stay on the beat". When really there is no reason for this "your here alone, there's one to compete". You dont have to compete with anyone because you only have to live up to your own standards. After all "The more you give the more it will take"
    drunkmonk2on November 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese lyrics are written at Robert Hunter's ranch somewhere (in California) when there were huge forest fires all around them in the hills.

    My idea is that it's referring to the story of Phidippides who ran the huge distance from Marathon to Athens to warn his people of the Persion invaders who were landing.

    It's the same idea of urgency, of a city about to be distroyed, and the responsibility all comes down to one person who has a chance....
    Frank N Furteron June 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's kind of interesting. I like playing this song with my friend, it's only two chords. So, when I first learned it and read the lyrics it didn't mean much to me. I've realized that at diferant points in my life it has taken slightly differant meanings. I was just re-reading it the other night and it suddenly dawned on me that I think this song is about trying too hard for something, anything.
    You gave all you had why you want to give more,
    the more that you give the more it will take.
    It's almost like saying if you don't slow down your gonna go insane, you can never give enough.
    My friend says it's about ambition.
    Maybe next year it will have a differant meaning for me.
    Great Song !!
    TrueIntuitionon June 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me, this song is about a person that has spent their life (or at least part of their life) building friendships, relationships, and then all of the sudden they find themselves alone with no one to call, and they are trying to reestablish some of the connections with people they have lost. they run alone, and have lost part of their life. they are almost afraid to go out and live life, so they choose to sit inside and ruminate over what has happened.

    There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town
    Takes a whole pail of water just to cool him down.

    someone, maybe themselves, has a tendency to get angry at other people. in return, those people get angry at him too. fire on the mountain? maybe they tend to run from situations.

    i have no idea if any of what i said is valid at all.
    virginiaaaaon February 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is a warning against spending all your time thinking about the past and sacrificing the present for the future.

    To me, the phrase "Fire! Fire on the Mountain!" represents an erupting volcano, which I take two ways....First, living your life that way can cause you to broil with anger and potentially explode due to working yourself to death for some "envisioned perfect future" that may never come, or wasting your time ruminating about past mistakes that can't be changed anyway. I also think it's a warning that we should run from this type of life as it is obvious that we would run from a volcanic eruption.

    I think the first stanza is about living in the past..."playing cold music on the barroom floor"....Nobody cares to hear some tired old song played in a bar...the same way they don't want to hear about all of your past successes or failures. Telling those stories may make you (or others) laugh or feel good for a minute, but if all you have are those past stories, you've probably become a pretty empty and shallow person ("drowned in your laughter, but dead to the core" hits this part home). Behind that fake laughter, that anger is broiling...maybe because the past is gone, and you long for the times when you were really living life...or maybe because you're embarrassed of things you've done in your past. I think this anger is represented by the dragon with matches...just burning yourself down with self-deprecating stories and longing for the good ole days.

    The subject of the song is called "long distance runner" because he is probably treating life like a marathon, plodding along with the day to day grind of a soul sucking job with the idea that there will be a trophy for him at the end. Also, he's all about impressing others and competing (keeping up with the Jones'). He uses excuses for this behavior ("hey, gotta earn a living"..."we all gotta eat"). Since this guy is all business all the time, the wise songwriter is wishing that the guy would discover the business of "mercy". He needs to find mercy for himself because he is running himself so ragged that even if he gets close to accomplishing the elusive goal that he is working so hard for, he will have completely burnt himself out or perhaps even worked himself to an early grave.

    The last stanza is a challenge. You've lived this way for so long, but what has it gotten you? You're angry...You've given your whole life away to a thankless job, and even though you gave everything that you could, that carrot keeps moving on you. They want more. If this is the reality of what your life has amounted to, why would you want to give more? Make your decision now because there's a thin line beyond (death) that you really can't fake! When you're dead, you're dead...No faking that. Live now!
    JuicyJeffon April 04, 2021   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song has always fascinated me cause i cant figure out at all what it means...can anyone help?
    justanotherbrickon March 06, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNope, The lyrics are about the red hairs on buds. At the top of a bud there are rer hairs and it looks like a mountain with fire on it.
    dancingdayson March 31, 2005   Link

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