I knew a man Bojangles and he'd dance for you
In worn out shoes
Silver hair, ragged shirt and baggy pants,
The old soft shoe
He'd jump so high, he'd jump so high,
Then he lightly touched down

I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was
Down and out
He looked to me to be the eyes of age
As he spoke right out
He talked of life, he talked of life,
Laughed, slapped his leg and stepped

He said the name Bojangles and he danced a lick
Across the cell
He grabbed his pants for a better stance, oh he jumped so high
And then he clicked his heels
He let go a laugh, he let go a laugh,
Shook back his clothes all around
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.

He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs Throughout the South
He spoke with tears of 15 years of how his dog and him They travelled about

His dog up and died, he up and died
After 20 years he still grieves

He said I dance now at every chance at honky-tonks
For drinks and tips
But most of the time I spend behind these county bars, 'Cause I drinks a bit
He shook his head, and as he shook his head,
I heard someone ask him, please, please
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.

Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles, edited by GaryStockdale

Mr. Bojangles song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    yes this song is originally written by jerry jeff walker thank you. i like jim croce version myself.

    It was about an obscure alcoholic but talented tap dancing drifter (not the famous stage and movie dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, as sometimes assumed). Bojangles is thought to have been a folk character who entertained informally in the south of the US and California, and some say he might have been one of the most gifted natural dancers ever. His actual name is not recorded. Authentic reports of him exist from the 1920s through about 1965.

    According to the original lyrics by Jerry Jeff Walker, he met Bojangles in a prison cell in New Orleans (the first precinct jail to be exact). The two began to converse about life in the philosophical way two men on the skids often do. Bojangles began to dance as Walker admired his skill.

    The song has also been shown on The Simpsons episode "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore", where Homer Simpson sings (badly) as a Panhandler to get money to buy his wife a pair of diamond earrings.

    shanshanshabangon August 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I actually see it as an uplifting song. Despite all of his hardships, Mr. Bojangles is loved by those he comes into contact with and has an uncanny ability to brighten everyone's day. He doesn't use society's expectations as a measurement for success, without a care for money or material possessions. All that matters is laughter and friendship. His love for others is highlighted by how he still grieves for his dog 20 years later. He has a big heart. Seems like one of those people who finds the best in everyone. He's what all of us should strive to be.

    fearnotofmanon November 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    nice song.. bob dylan is FUCKING AWESOME!!! FUCK YEAH!!

    pinkfloyd_atreyuon November 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Bob Dylan did NOT write this song.

    It was written by Jerry Jeff Walker, who Ive asked to be added to the artists list. JJ Walker also performed it originally, and then the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band made a hit out of it, as did Neil Diamond and Sammy Davis Jr.

    nails_in_my_feeton December 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    If you watch the film Fallen(denzel washington) there is a clever reference to this song at the start.

    Detectiveon April 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Yes JJW did write this song. Mr. Bojangles was inspired by a hobo JJW met one night in New Orleans... in jail.

    It is said this song made Richard Nixon cry.

    fareasttroubadouron September 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is about Bill "Bojangles " Robinson , a famous tap dancer who performed during the 1930s.

    fuadramseson March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    lkisten to Nina Simone version - fantastic

    geebeeon June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song is really sad. Considering that the title has the word "Bojangles" in it, you'd think it would be funnier. But it's about a hobo whose clothes are ragged, has no money, dances for quarters, whose dog died, who was thrown in jail. IN spite of all that, he still can laugh and have a good time. But people don't seem to understand him. They just say "please" and want him to dance for them and do his sad little routine. That's what I thought, at least.

    Nick the Bastardon July 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Fail. Not a Dylan song.

    Derefon November 07, 2009   Link

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