I bought a bourgeois house in the Hollywood hills
With a truckload of hundred thousand dollar bills
Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn
There was fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There's fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well we might'a made some friends with some billionaires
We might'a got all nice and friendly if we'd made it upstairs
All I got was a note that said "Bye-bye John
Our love is fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"

So I bought a .44 magnum it was solid steel cast
And in the blessed name of Elvis well I just let it blast
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet
And they busted me for disturbing the almighty peace
Judge said "What you got in your defense son?"
"Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"

I can see by your eyes friend you're just about gone
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

Lyrics submitted by oofus

57 Channels song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentActually stoolhardy it means a lot more than that. The "57 Channels" are merely indicative of the ennui that the character feels. Even though he has it all, he still feels empty and cannot connect with others (including his wife) in a meaningful way. Springsteen uses the television as a metaphor, with it's facade promises and "reality" shows to envince this lack of fufillment and alienation that so many feel. The couple in the song think they can find the answers to their problems by pointing their satellite dish, like a beacon to the gods, "into the stars". But the message that comes back is void of anything genuine. This is what is significant about the Elvis reference. Ostensibly he had everything, but nothing that was emotionally real.
    Xrandyon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like this song. To me, it's about how many channels there are and nothing good on any of them. That's probably not the intended meaning, but that's what this song means to me.
    oldrocks93on July 01, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. To me, it illustrates how nothing is ever good enough, and how sometimes you just gotta take that gun and blow the hell out of the TV.
    voodoochildeon November 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually oldrocks, that is the intended meaning. I don't think there is anything too complicated about the meaning of this song.
    stoolhardyon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnd Elvis was notorious for shooting TVs if he didn't like what was on.
    voodoochildeon January 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI agree with Xrandy in that the "57 Channels" represents having everything, but there being "nothin' on," that represents that the love he has for his wife is nothing. He's got the house, the car, and importantly the TV, but there being nothing on the TV to enjoy, there is no love for him to enjoy.
    jjf1218on March 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationwhy 57? does the number refere to anything? 57 was the year Elvis went to the movies.....
    echofishon May 22, 2011   Link

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