Oh, I just don't know where to begin
Though he says he'll wait forever
It's now or never
But she keeps him hanging on
The silly champion
She says she can't go home
Without a chaperone

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
He used to be your victim
Now you're not the only one
Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
I don't wanna hear it
'Cause I know what I've done

There's so many fish in the sea
That only rise up in the sweat and smoke like mercury
But they keep you hanging on
They say you're so young
Your mind is made up, but your mouth is undone

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
He used to be your victim
Now you're not the only one
Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
I don't wanna hear it
'Cause I know what I've done

And it's the damage that we do and never know
It's the words that we don't say that scare me so

There's so many people to see
So many people you can check up on
And add to your collection
But they keep you hanging on
Until you're well hung
Your mouth is made up, but your mind is undone

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
He used to be your victim
Now you're not the only one
Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
I don't wanna hear it
'Cause I know what I've
I know what I've
I know what I've done

I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Accidents Will Happen Lyrics as written by Elvis Costello

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Accidents Will Happen song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +9
    General Comment

    Elvis talked about the meaning behind this song on a VH1 Storytellers episode. It's about his first marriage, but he hid the fact when he recorded the song. What he REALLY had in mind with the chorus was a subtly but critically different verse: Accidents will happen, I only hit and run, I used to be your victim: Now you're not the only one.

    So he was seeing himself as both victim and assailant in the relationship while acknowledging that his wife was not "the only one" for him anymore.

    tunemeisteron June 10, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    i think this is about leaving his wife with a young child ( a child that was probably an accident) whilst he was being seduced by the trappings of wealth and fame - (he married his first wife before he was famous). I think this song oozes guilt - he was probably brought up a Catholic too which isn't going to help with the guilt issues . . . The 'he' referred to is EC himself - he used to be her victim but now she is the victim. I think that if you liten to EC's songs from this period you can see the conflict he went through when leaving his wife and child (for Bebe Buell the model.(listen to Big Boys for example).

    redmeloneateron July 22, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    this is a fabulous song. i love my parents for sharing the love of elvis costello with me. costello is the only elvis in this house.

    throughbeingmeon July 23, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    "There's so many people to see So many people you can check up on And add to your collection But they keep you hanging on Until you're well hung Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone."

    fucking genius.

    xaqaryon March 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I really like this song, but I have to admit that I don't think I know what it is about. Something about abuse and how the abuesed turns into the abuser is there I'm pretty sure. And something about people being terribly insensitive people are, they say things that are clever that hurt and don't say things that might help, like even that they are sorry when they've hurt you.

    montresoron November 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    When this was released on 7" vinyl back in the late 70's, the single's picture cover was printed inside out. :)

    Wyrmon June 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Throughbeingme, I know what you mean :]

    My mam calls him "the real Elvis"

    Fabulous song

    niennaon February 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this is definitely about a one-night stand or a relationship going too fast. most likely, the girl gets pregnant AKA "accidents will happen". "Though he says he'll wait forever / It's now or never / But she keeps him hanging on". He wants what he wants, and she's not sure, but when she gives it up, accidents happen. also, the relationship going to fast OR the one-night stand can have to do with the line "it's the words that we don't say" because with something as HUGE/important as that, there needs to be some 'i love yous' or some means of communication, and there isn't.

    coralfershoralon April 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone.

    Yup, been there, done that.

    rbraxleyon January 30, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    To me, the whole song is basically about a one night stand. "Hit and run" is just another term for a one night stand, if I'm not mistaken. Also the phrase "He used to be your victim, now you're not the only one" implies that she got pregnant afterwards. Which goes along with the title and chorus, "Accidents will Happen."

    Crack Monkon January 13, 2005   Link

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