"Country Death Song" was written by Violent Femmes front man Gordon Gano during his sophomore year of high school. It is based on the true story published in an 1862 news article of a man...
I had me a wife, I had me some daughters.
I tried so hard, I never knew still waters.
Nothing to eat and nothing to drink.
Nothing for a man to do but sit around and think.
Nothing for a man to do but sit around and think.

Well, I'm a thinkin' and thinkin', till there's nothin' I ain't thunk.
Breathing in the stink, till finally I stunk.
It was at that time, I swear I lost my mind.
I started making plans to kill my own kind.
I started making plans to kill my own kind.

Come little daughter," I said to the youngest one,
Put your coat on, we'll have some fun.
We'll go out to mountains, the one to explore.
Her face then lit up, I was standing by the door.
Her face then lit up, I was standing by the door.

Come little daughter, I will carry the lanterns.
We'll go out tonight, we'll go to the caverns.
We'll go out tonight, we'll go to the caves.
Kiss your mother goodnight and remember that God saves.
Kiss your mother goodnight and remember that God saves.

A led her to a hole, a deep black well.
I said "make a wish, make sure and not tell and
Close you're eyes dear, and count to seven.
You know your papa loves you, good children go to heaven.
You know your papa loves you, good children go to heaven.

I gave her a push, I gave her a shove.
I pushed with all my might, I pushed with all my love.
I through my child into a bottomless pit.
She was screaming as she fell, but I never heard her hit.
She was screaming as she fell, but I never heard her hit.

Gather round boys to this tale that I tell.
You want to know how to take a short trip to hell?
It's guaranteed to get your own place in hell.
Just take your lovely daughter and push her in the well.
Take your lovely daughter and throw her in the well.

Don't speak to me of lovers, with a broken heart.
You want to know what can really tear you apart?
I'm going out to the barn, will I never stop in pain?
I'm going out to the barn, to hang myself in shame.


Lyrics submitted by Nelly

"Country Death Song" as written by Gordon James Gano

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Country Death Song song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is about a backwater redneck who goes insane and kills his daughter by throwing her down a well. Later, he hangs himself in a barn. Originally written when Femmes frontman Gordon Gano was a sophomore in high school in study hall.
    kmk_natashaon March 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a close cousin of 'The Ballad of Hollis Brown' by Bob Dylan thematically, but may or may not have been inspired by it.
    elephant_rangeon January 25, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis isnt a Black comedy song. Its based on actual events that Gordon Gano read about in the newspaper. The protagonist realy did kill his daughter and hang himself....
    Awesome tune tho
    ferguzzzon October 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLove the song, but boy - having 3 kids, 2 that are daughters - about makes me cry every time I listen to it. I can't help but think of one of them when she is excited to go out with her dad and he does that. Anyone saying it's funny is sick....
    macaulfion March 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is creepy, but it's still great.
    americanmusicon February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^ that's awesome, we do crazy shit like that in my studies....well, you know, life gets so boring sometimes.
    lost_in_twlighton April 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSong is morbid. However the father isn't really crazy. Faced with starvation the father decides to do what many poor families have done in many cultures throughout history-namely kill the youngest child to save the rest of the family. It was common practice in situations like that to kill the youngest child since many children died in childhood anyway and were the least overall help to the family. In some cases the child would be eaten by the rest of the family.

    Hence "pushed with all my love" indicates that he loves her but feels he has no choice. After killing her he can't live with himself and commits suicide.
    aczinkeon August 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a great black comedy.

    It is also a shining example if the muscial versatility that is the Femmes.
    mrMojoRisenon May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIf this song is about killing the youngest for food then why would he push her down a well...where she is unatainable, and would eventually contaminate the water? I totally see where you are goin' with this and seems very logical, but pushing her down a well doesn't seem logical.
    jermsteadon June 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjermstead, aczinke, didnt say the family in the song did that, he just said that in old times families would. he meant the part about just killing off the youngest, or weakest, child bcuz they were just another mouth to feed for the family in the song.
    Sick My Duckon August 25, 2006   Link

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