If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
When the levee breaks I'll have no place to stay
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Lord mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
It's got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home
Oh well, oh well, oh well

Don't it make you feel bad
When you're tryin' to find your way home
You don't know which way to go?
If you're goin' down South
They got no work to do
If you don't know about Chicago

Cryin' won't help you prayin' won't do you no good
Now cryin' won't help you prayin' won't do you no good
When the levee breaks mama you got to move
All last night sat on the levee and moaned
All last night sat on the levee and moaned
Thinkin' 'bout me baby and my happy home
Going to Chicago
Going to Chicago

Sorry but I can't take you
Going down, going down now, going down
Going down now, going down
Going down, going down, going down

Going down now, going down
Going down now, going down
Going down now, going down
Going d-d-d-d-down
Woo, woo

Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by Mellow_Harsher, Octavarium64

"When the Levee Breaks" as written by John Paul Jones John Bonham

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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When the Levee Breaks song meanings
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  • +16
    General Commentledzepp115 is pretty accurate, but there is more to it. after the american civil war, many former slaves moved to the fertile land surrounding the Mississippi River to rebuild their lives as farmers. alot of little shanty towns sprung up on the banks of the Mississippi, and it became necessary to build a Levee to protect them. it was in these towns that blues music was born. in 1913 the river flooded and destroyed the levee and the shanty towns with it. following the flood, most of the former inhabitants of these towns moved either north to Chicago (this is mentioned in the song) or south to New Orleans, which is why these cities later produced so many incredible bluesmen who were an inspiration to Led Zeppelin.
    ramtharon July 24, 2002   Link
  • +9
    General Commenthaha, this song was written first by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, and later repopularized by zeppelin. its about the mississippi river flood of 1927.
    samsaumaon January 08, 2007   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI'm so in love with this song.

    It blows my mind that nearly 40 years ago, some college kid was probably blowing off finals to sit around and listen to IV, just like I'm doing right now.

    I'm never going to ever date a guy again that isn't as led zeppelin crazy as I am.
    cawoodstockon May 05, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthis is just such a gritty amazing song. I guess its just about hard times approaching and trying to hold onto what you got left to stop the flood of problems from rushing in.
    themachine312on July 04, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI like this song, but it sounds kind of eerie to me. If I listen to the whole song through, it will play in my head all day. As far as the meaning, I've never really thought of it. The history thing sounds pretty accurate.

    (BTW this was the first Zeppelin song I ever heard)
    JKS808on October 31, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is yet another excellent song by Led Zeppelin. The song is about a man who lives right in front of a levee (dam). The levee is weakening, and will soon collapse. The song has a strong blues feeling, since the man has to leave his home.
    ledzepp115on June 04, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have one thing in common (as many of us do these days) with Memphis Minnie, Kansas Joe, and other authentic blues players, and that is being authentically unemployed. So yesterday morning at 5 a.m., right before going to sleep, I watched a documentary on the History Channel about the history of the MS River. They were mentioning the great floods along the river in 1927 and the levees breaking and I wondered if this inspired the writing of this song. Shernuff, it did. I knew this as soon as I saw that Kansas Joe recorded this in 1929, and it is likely that the song was written in 1927 by Memphis Minnie, same year as the flooding. So to put all of the speculation on the song's origin to rest once and for all: mrjumbo.com/contents/delta99/3delta/1friars/…

    If there are any more posts as to the meaning/origin of this song, I kill ya. If anyone disagrees with me about this, I kill ya. And most of all, if you don't remember the psycho recruit in Bill Murray's "Stripes", I kill ya.
    rarebiton June 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti heard a rumour that this song is about a chapter in the book The Grapes of Wrath. if you have read the book, then you will know what im referring to. i think its possible, but not likely
    scooter44on March 04, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentk I'm a pretty big zeppelin fan. I mean i know the members, and every song the band's ever done but i dont really know that much about the history or origin of the band.
    Anyway, i think this song is a metaphor about a guy whos troubles just keep adding up and up. The Rain symbolizes the problems and the Levee symbolizes where its all collecting and the guys feelings.
    "If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break"
    and plant's telling this guy that pissin and moaning isnt gonna fix or solve anything..
    "Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,"

    but the guy keep dwelling on the past and how it everything used to be fine and good..
    "All last night sat on the levee and moaned,Thinkin' about me baby and my happy home"

    and you just gotta move on but you gotta do it on your own.
    "Going, going to Chicago... Going to Chicago... Sorry but I can't take you..."

    then it just gets worst "Going down.. goin down.."

    well thats how i see it, but whatever. great song.
    Drix793on April 21, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRamthar has made a very pertinent point. Zepplin are masters at reviving very traditional blues songs or inserting snippets of traditional 'blues phrases' into theri tracks. I love listening to blues made up to WWII and am often surprised about the odd lyric cropping up in a Zeppelin track.
    chaikyon June 09, 2003   Link

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