"Hang On St. Christopher" as written by and Tom Waits....
Hang on St. Christopher through the smoke and the oil
Buckle down the rumble seat and let the radiator boil
Got an overhead downshift and a two-dollar grill
Got an eighty-five cabin on an eighty-five hill
Hang on St. Christopher on the passenger side
Open it up tonight the devil can ride

Hang on St. Christopher with a barrelhouse dog
Kick me up Mount Baldy, throw me out in the fog
Tear a hole in the jackpot, drive a stake through his heart
Do a hundred on the grapevine, do a jump on the start

Hang on St. Christopher now don't let me go
Get me to Reno and bring it in low, yeah

Hang on St. Christopher with the hammer to the floor
Put a highball in the crank case, nail a crow to the door
Get a bottle for the jockey gimme a two-ninety-four
There's a seven-fifty Norton bustin' down January's door

Hang on St. Christopher on the passenger side
Open it up tonight the devil can ride
Hang on St. Christopher now don't let me go
Get me to Reno got to bring it in low
Put my baby on the flat car, got to burn down the caboose
Get 'em all jacked up on whiskey, then we'll turn the mad dog loose

Hang on St. Christopher on the passenger side
Open it up tonight the devil can ride, oh, yeah

Oh, yeah

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Hang on St. Christopher" as written by Thomas Alan Waits

Lyrics © AUDIAM, INC

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Hang On St. Christopher song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationThe First thing is "Hang on St Christopher through the smoke and oil" means The Guardian Angel hold on because he is not sure the Angel can follow keep find him through the smoke and oil exhaust he is leaving behind.
    Buckle down the rumble seat and let the radiator boil. > In the vehicle he is driving their is a old buckle down seat in the trunk/ he has it buckled down and is driving really fast
    The overhead /downshift and two dollar grill> He is talking about he is on a 750 Norton Motorcycle and Hes refering to when you shift on a bike you kick the peddle upwards to down shift.The two dollar grill is the bike is chromed out.
    85 Cabin/ 85 Hill - The 85 hill he is referring to he is California on Hwy 85 riding through the Hills and Mountains
    Hangon St Christopher and Let The Devil Ride > He wants the angel to take a backseat and let the devil ride for a while so he can drive fast and play on the dangerous side for a while.
    The barrel House Dog> He is referring to he is drinking alcohol that is cheap alcohol like cheap whiskey
    Kick me up Mt Baldy and out into the fog> He is driving in the late hours (3AM + When you ride up mountain coming down late at night their is usually fog)This is also the mountain on Hwy 85 in California
    Tear a hole in the jackpot and Drive a stake through his heart >I think his girlfriend cheated on him and he is talking about revenge killing the man it makes sense with the rest of the song
    Do a hundred on the grapevine and jump on the start> He is heading to his house from his girlfriends house and he switched and left the Car at his house and kick started the bike ( Think when you jump down on a pedal to start the motorcycle).
    Get me to Reno and Bring it in low> Ok he is hauling butt from California to Reno Nevada on the motorcycle
    Put a high ball in the crank case and nail a crow to the door> This is referring to he put a bottle of alcohol in the motorcycle and is using it as fuel. Old Bikes you could run really high alcohol in them like 120 proof plus....Nailing a crow to the door he is already dead/in trouble for killing her boyfriend/lover so he is saying forget my luck it is gone so I'm just rolling with it
    Get a bottle for the jockey and give me a 294- Ok he is getting another bottle for his friend or whomever he is meeting in Reno Nevada. The 294 He is referring to getting a extra angel from God because he is in serious trouble and needs a extra angel watching over him to save him.
    Theres a 750 Norton Busting down January's door.>He is referring to the 750 Norton bike he is riding and busting down January door meaning he left his old life behind and now he is a bad to the bone guy guy and not taking any crap.
    Get me to reno and bring it in low> He is talking about how the bike rides low to the ground and when he gets to Reno he is riding low because of the bike.
    Put my baby on a flatt car and we will get them to burn down the caboose. > This one I believe he is saying he killed his girlfriend and she is going on the train in her casket and he is suggesting giving them whiskey he will convince cops of his side and they will let him burn down the caboose to destroy her.
    Get them all jacked up on whiskey then we will turn the mad dog loose> This goes with the last line he is going to get them drunk and they will believe his side when he turns the mad dog loose he is releasing his side of the story and when they are jacked up on whiskey they will believe him.
    Open it up tonight so the devil can ride> He is talking about getting drunk when opeing the bottle and continue to let the devil be on his side.

    This is my interpretation of the song. I really like this song and I had to take this song apart sentence by sentence to understand what he was referring too. One thing to keep in mind is Tom Waite wrote this song in the 50's that is why they have the cars and train referred to in this song. This song was written from the perspective that times were simpler and it is was justifiable to kill your wife if she cheated on you while married to you. I believe this is accurate and hopefully this helps you to understand this song. After listening to the song and breaking the song down with my description it makes more sense and flows together instead of just random 750 coming into the picture or 294 the extra angel. 294 refers to in the angels in the bible and being with him.
    Stanleywrench8on June 21, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat does "85 cabin" and "85 hill" mean?
    Is it a cheap car's cabin? A small one? A ramshackle one? An aerodynamic one?
    Is the 85 hill a very steep slope?

    Help me out!
    pingdjipon December 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat does "750 Norton busting down january's door" mean? A 750 Norton motorcycle, but bustin down January's door?
    pjmducks6on February 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentObviously he's giving an innocent saint the ride of his life, Tom Waits style.
    He'll be riding along with the devil tonight. Love this song.
    shelnoraon August 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSt. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers.
    dramaelfon September 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionAs in many of his songs, another about the mythic landscape surrounding the automobile - mostly a U.S. phenomenon. Don't know the meaning of all of the images and auto slang and expressions. I worked on a Waits Dictionary to explain the American slang and expressions found littered (in a literary way, of course) along the should of Tom's songs, so I'll add a few here.

    Put a high ball in the crank case.......some explosive fuel mixture to increase engine thrust, I guess. A high ball is also slang for a mixed drink, usually whisky and ginger ale, e.g. Seagrams & ginger ale....High ball.

    Hammer to the floor.....accelerator pedal to the floor, full acceleration.
    PhillyJoeCon February 20, 2014   Link

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