And even though the moment passed me by
I still can't turn away
'Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose
Got tossed along the way
And letters that you never meant to send
Get lost or thrown away

And now we're grown up orphans
That never knew their names
We don't belong to no one
That's a shame

You could hide beside me
Maybe for a while
And I won't tell no one your name
And I won't tell 'em your name

And scars are souvenirs you never lose
The past is never far
Did you lose yourself somewhere out there
Did you get to be a star?
And don't it make you sad to know that life
Is more than who we are?

We grew up way too fast
And now there's nothing to believe
And reruns all become our history
A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio

And I won't tell no one your name
And I won't tell 'em your name

I won't tell 'em your name
I won't tell 'em your name, ow

I think about you all the time
But I don't need the same
It's lonely where you are, come back down
And I won't tell 'em your name

Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by queenjonny, AtticusZP, liniwa, stargazer7, jamieroscoexo, WanderingWisp, 1178321050, denial2k

Name Lyrics as written by John Rzeznik

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Name song meanings
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  • +12
    My Interpretation
    I think what makes this song great is that so many people can relate to it. For me it's on a very personal note: "Even though the moment passed me by I still can't turn away"- Before I left for the army I had been with this girl for over 2 years. I loved her dearly. She loved me just as much. We would tell each other everything and help each other out. I wanted to propose to her but never came around to doing it. I regret it so much to this day. "All the dreams you never thought you'd lose, got tossed along the way"- We spend almost every day with each other. We would talk about having a family together. How our children would look, where'd we live. All as we lay together, her head on my chest. Then I left for the Army and didn't propose to her. "Letters that you never meant to send, got lost or thrown away"- During Basic Training in Fort Benning, GA i sent a whole lot of letters to her. At the time she was living with her divorced father who, after she read the letters, threw them away because he told her to stop "dreaming" that we'd be together. I was gone and deployed to Afghanistan. "Now we're grown up orphans that never knew their names. We don't belong to no one that's a shame"- She had grown up in a broken home with an abusive drunk father that would usually hit her mother. She had to learn how to take care of herself more or less. She felt she didn't belong there. She didn't deserve to be there. "You could hide beside me, maybe for a while. And I won't tell no one you're name."- Getting to know someone's "name" doesn't necessarily mean literally. For us telling each other our names was getting to know each other. telling each others our secrets. She would always come to me when things got bad and I wouldn't tell anyone the real things that were happening in her life. I wouldn't tell no one her "Name". I would make sure I would do anything to make sure that if she needed to talk to me I'd be there. "Scars are souvenirs you never lose. The past is never far"- Later on she got married and had a daughter with an abusive husband. She is now divorced. She had to deal with the scars of her childhood and the past of her relationship. I took my scars of being away from her in Afghanistan. And knowing that she had gotten married. It hurt me a lot. But i would still be there for her when she needed to talk to me, even if it was just by laptop or sat phone. "Did you lose yourself somewhere out there? Did you get to be a star?"- She had seemed to have gotten lost in this idea of a perfect marriage, when it truly wasn't what she had wanted. She thought that in that marriage she would be shown what she truly was. As beautiful and bright as a star. That wasn't the case. Again I was there when she needed me. Listening to her cry on the phone. And there I was fighting for my country trying to become my own star with honor. But even when i got lost in the customs of the Army she would always remind me that I still loved her. "Don't it make you sad to know that life; is more than who we are"- In the army we were taught this and especially in almost any relationship you're in, it's not usually about who you are but what you do and how you treat people that people will remember you by. Even though she was married and divorced she admitted that she still loved me and missed me: not for who i was but because I had been there for her when she needed me the most. And that extent that I would go to make her happy. "You grew up way to fast. Now there's nothing to believe and reruns all become our history"- She had her first daughter at 19 making it hard be a young mother. She had to grow up fast. After her first marriage she tried it again. She had another daughter with that husband who was also a jerk and asshole that i wanted to beat the shit out of. Sound familiar? She is currently finishing the divorce with him. Again I was there when she cried, when she missed me, when she wished so bad for me to come home... "A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio. And I won't tell no one you're name"- Most of the time I would talk to her I would be coming back from guard duty or patrol exhausted as hell, going to go listen to Pandora on my laptop in the barracks. This was usually the time that I would talk to her cause of the time difference. Again I would just keep what she told me to myself. I told her that I still loved her. And missed her. "I think about you all the time. But i don't need the same. It's lonely where you are come back down. And i won't tell them you're name"- I loved her and missed her everyday i was over there and still do today (i still talk to her). I would die for her and for her daughters. All i had wished was that there was some way to convince her to "come down" from the life that she had so that if she ever needed to tell me her "Name", her secrets, her fears, her love, her dreams, that i would be right there just as we were before i left; with her head on my chest, with her daughters forever as a family. And I would never tell a soul...But no matter how much i wish this i must understand that i should make her happy most of all. Even if that's not with me. I will miss her and love her for the remainder of my life. "But i don't need the same".
    mikalwagneron February 21, 2012   Link
  • +6
    General Comment
    For me, this song makes me think of how big we dream as children. We know exactly what we want to do and exactly who we want to be. We have so many hopes and ambitions. But often as we grow up those hopes and dreams are "tossed along the way" when life and reality sets in.
    BriannaCineon February 23, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    to me this song is just about losing yourself... losing what you believed in. losing your dreams, and i guess kind of forgetting who it is you really are.
    xhateyourpityxon December 31, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    The theme is "name" and how singer "wont tell them your name", it's about standing by someone in recovery from whatever. It gets more specific to include people who hide their feelings for the sake of masking. Abused people tend to do that. They dont like to show their hurt side. Not telling someone your name, means you wont reveal who they are and that you 'll listen to their pain, that they can go on masking as much as they want. Ultimately means everyone needs a trusting friend, someone who will listen to them.
    Necronicon December 24, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    I love how this song can mean so many things. Originally I had felt that it was between two people who grew into adults knowing each other. The weight of the world presses down upon them both. Not only current strains perhaps but also things from their past like hopes and defining moments (both good and bad.) Because of the experiences they may have shared, one lets the other know that they feel that burden too and its safe to share with them without judgement or anything else they may fear from someone else. But then there is this that I thought of. There are people who you will never forget that have changed your life, events that have shaped you and careless thoughts that you have had in a certain moment that will never leave you. You alone are the only soul to have seen all of these things. Can the difference between who you are because of these things and who others see you as be two separate people? This song could be about the person shaped by their history and the outer person speaking with one another. "Scars are souvenirs you never lose, the past is never far." Scars are a change that lasts forever, the past never being far is this person looking back at those moments of change. "You grew up way too fast and now there's nothing to believe, And reruns all become our history." This person looks at those moments of change over and over and over in their head, never living much farther than those events. So who do you trust with this "real" you behind the person people see? "And now we're grown up orphans that never knew their names, Don't belong to no one that's a shame. You could hide beside me maybe for a while, And I won't tell no one your name." This person's past effected them differently than any teacher or parent could, being involved with those events made them like a tree growing in its own direction with no guidance, or at least no influence big enough to change the outcome. That inner person can hide behind that mask others see and pretend that this hidden person doesn't exist, freeing their scars and baggage at least for a time. This person can take comfort in the fact that the skeletons in their closet aren't out on display to the world. "Did you lose yourself somewhere out there, did you get to be a star?" The inner person asks the other how their lives are going, if those dreams that were given up on still live. "Don't it make you sad to know that life is more that who we are?" The outer person sympathizes with the other that they know its sad that they can't really show the real self because they feel vulnerable and must use a facade for the world. "I think about you all the time, But I don't need the same." This outer person, the one that everyone sees, tells themselves, the "real" person, that those things that have made them have not been forgotten and that person thinks about the differences between the two of them all the time, the outer person won't make them both into something that they are not. "It's lonely where you are come back down, And I won't tell em your name." Living in the past, recycling thoughts, memories and conversations in your head can be depressing and lonely. But because they are usually secrets to all but one person, these things of the past are safe from outside judgement by other people. The inner person, no one knows even exists and doesn't even have a name to tell to others, unnamed because it shares the name of the outer person protecting it. Such a beautiful song.
    Xstarlighton May 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    I personally have a totally different view on this song... I think it's about a person who "grew up way to fast" because of an awful experince due to parents or family. During the time they were recovering, they silt their wrists "Scars are souvenirs you never lose , the past is never far" and now a friend is looking back on the event.
    goodcharlon May 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    I think that goodcharl is pretty much right on the money. It's more like a girl/guy who had so many problems in life at an early age that they can't get over and how life's experiences mold you to be who you are. I alway's saw it as a girl who was either sexually abused as a child or raped because it seem's that he is in love with her but she cannot let go of this horrid past and he is just trying to be there for her."I saw the dream's you never thought you'd lose get lost along the way." It's almost as if he is saying that she's lost so much already but she is losing more because she is still holding onto the pain. "Scars are souvenirs you never lose , the past is never far did you lose yourself somewhere out there , did you get to be a star Don't it make you sad to know that life is more that who we are you grew up way too fast and now there's nothing to believe and reruns all become our history a tired song keeps playing on a tired radio..." this whole verse is saying how she will never forget the past (hence the scars) and that these experiences made her have to grow up fast. The tired song reference to me is how you know when someone plays a song over and over again because of the lyrics and such (I play this one all the time) emotions that it brings. Anyway the song I never saw as being about orphan's I think the line about the grown up orphans who never knew there names was more like a metaphor for somehow losing contaact with her parents or them disowning her or whatever. It very well could take that stand point I just never saw it that way. This is though one of my top 5 songs of all time so I kinda like letting people decide what it means to them.
    star_watcher321on July 11, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    This has been my favorite song for a long time. It's funny, I'm adopted and I really didn't think that this song was about being orphaned but maybe that's why I like it so much on another subconscious level :). I suppose it's possible, but what I love about this song is everyone seems to have a different interpretation of it. It means anything to everyone. The most resonating line in this song to me is "you grew up way too fast and now there's nothing to believe and reruns all become our history." It's almost as if he's saying people who grow up too fast by force or choice get to a point in their lives where they constantly play reruns of the events that brought them there. The same thoughts are analyzed repeatedly without conclusion: "a tired song keeps playing on a tired radio...." The "name" theme throughout the song is the best and most ambiguous aspect. It could be about a biological mother as some have suggested, or about a person from the past that the narrator in one way or another feels influenced them greatly. No matter what it means, its a secret that only the narrator knows and it's a secret worth keeping just to have some more time with this person in thought or in actuality..."come back down and I won't tell them your name" As for being "grown up orphans who never knew their names"---it applies to us all. We all enter adulthood with a sense of ambiguity about who we really are. We are on our own, starting an independent life and the decisions we make effect us even more than they did in our youth. Often all we have to cling to or all that is holding us back are the scars we carry as souvenirs from the past. It's easy to dwell on these scars as they are never far away, usually only a memory away. Overall, I just think it's about the events in ones life leading them to the point they are at now and reflecting on that past and perhaps longing to find some closure with a person or event. "And even though the moment passed me by, I still can't turn away" And let's be honest, there will always be that person from our past--who will remain nameless--that creeps into our thoughts. I've got someone like that who this song reminds me of.
    mjmckinon August 20, 2008   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning
    The memories of losing your parents and the feelings of alienation, becoming abandon, but how he'll protect his family that also feel the pain. How the pain will be with him for ever, and the memory will be close and forever. and the wonder if his parents became what they wanted in life. And learning that life is more than who you are. And growing up is fast, but time is rough without the ones you love as your mind stays still time passes. And how he thinks about them all the time, as his loneliness and pain is fading, and accepting to let go.
    thebigfiston December 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    Alright, here goes. Let me start out by saying that this is one of my favorite songs of all time. This commentary is going to be difficult, but I am going to go ahead with it anyway because the song and the difficulty there is in penetrating it, merits my input. We must approach this song with a certain knowledge about who Johnny Rzeznik is as a song writer. He can be vague, obscure and subtle, but there are also multiple overlapping layers, meanings, and messages in his songs. Keep this in mind, because the song as a piece of art is not always linear or even about the same topic or issue at all times. He can even jump from one allusion to the next in mid sentence. This is a song that speaks to a whole generation of kids who grew up in the nineties, especially in the Rust Belt. The milieu of the song is light, heart wrenching, depressing, and tragic. Everybody who knows this song, and who can really hear it, gains a feeling of nostalgia from listening to it. You all know what I'm talking about... Everybody understands the first verse. This is Johnny talking to himself or to anyone human being about dreams deferred. This is a philosophical insight. He's saying that he can't "turn away" from the things he lost, the dreams that were never accomplished, and the memories born in those difficult days, and the unfortunate mistakes we all make in life. He's trying to move forward, to take a stand, to gain notoriety, to make an impact on the world. Incidentally, or maybe not so incidentally, that's exactly what "Name" does for the Goo Goo Dolls. It puts them on the map. That's what this song is about. It overcomes him with sorrow. He can't get on with life... Who can't relate to that? Part of the difficulty in interpreting this song, is understanding the meaning of the term "name". What does he mean by "name"? Well, I think he means two things: "name" in its traditional sense, as just one's name, and finally name as in identity, or who a person is in a more essential sense. The song now transitions into “scars” one “never loses”. This gives you insight into the song writer's psyche, into what he thinks creates a person. Johnny was on his way to stardom when he wrote this song and he knew it. What he's really saying here is that he'll never reveal the secrets and private moments of those he cares about, the things that really give us identity, i.e. our “names”. He will keep his priorities straight and protect those he loves. He'll never reveal their names... literally and figuratively. He won't reveal their actual names or their deeper identities. He may even dress up the truth in vague language. This may be symbolism of symbolism... We can all relate to this. This kind of alienation, the deferment of dreams, and trying to put ideals before our interests; trying to put people in front of fame or success. It becomes clear to me again though that he's not just speaking to his family members with whom he lost his parents early, that he had to struggle to survive with, who he had to grow with, who he had to build his own identity with and whose identities and names he helped build. He makes multiple references, to many ideas, and to many people in one song, as I said. The final line of good songs often refers to deeper forms of love and desire. It seems he's also talking about some girl here, some lost lover, who he will always shelter, protect and put first. He's telling her he'll always love her, and that she can always “come back down” from that lonely place she is. It's interesting to think that he may know this is his breakthrough song while he's writing it, a song that speaks to a generation of alienated listeners. “You grow up way too fast, and now there's nothing to believe... A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio...” Johnny finds his inspiration here. He is going to replace that “tired song” with a song of his own, something novel, something beautiful. He's foretelling the future here in a way. And if he's successful, through lyrics and music to which we can relate, he'll pull us from our desperation and alienation and the grim reality of our lives in this cynical, postmodern world, and give us something “to believe” in.
    ADPlatton January 07, 2011   Link

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