If it keeps on rainin, levees goin to break,
If it keeps on rainin, levees goin to break,
When the levee breaks Ill have no place to stay.
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Lord, mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.
Dont it make you feel bad
When youre tryin to find your way home,
You dont know which way to go?
If youre goin down south
They go no work to do,
If you dont know about chicago.
Cryin wont help you, prayin wont do you no good,
Now, cryin wont help you, prayin wont 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, gon to chicago,
Gon to chicago,
Sorry but I cant take you.
Going down, going down now, going down

Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by Mellow_Harsher, Octavarium64

When the Levee Breaks song meanings
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  • +17
    General Comment

    ledzepp115 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
  • +12
    General Comment

    haha, this song was written first by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, and later repopularized by zeppelin. its about the mississippi river flood of 1927.

    sxs078on January 08, 2007   Link
  • +10
    General Comment

    I'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
  • +7
    General Comment

    this 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
  • +4
    General Comment

    I 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/levee.html

    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
  • +4
    General Comment

    I 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
  • +3
    General Comment

    This 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
  • +3
    General Comment

    This song actually has nothing to do with sex at all. I can't judge how you interpret, but that wasn't why it was written. In fact, it is not an original Zeppelin tune at all. It was written by Memphis Minnie in the late 1920's about devastating floods that wiped out cities like Helena, Arkansas.

    "The 1927 flood occurred when the Mississippi River broke through levees in seven states (Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee) forcing over 42 major crevasses and inundating an area of approximately 26,000 square miles." -deltaculturalceter.com

    I had the privelege of visiting West Helena ths year for their annual blues festival. I learned all about the history of this flood and the levees. Survivors of these floods had to live in refugee camps and many people (especially musicians) moved up North.

    West Helena, Arkansas and Clarksdale, Mississippi are visited pretty often by Mr. Robert Plant himself. I highly suggest all of you go visit! It's amazing.

    LivingLovingMaidon October 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    If you are interested in the history behind this song, I would recommend Lanterns on the Levee or Rising Tide, both excellent accounts of floods in the Mississippi Delta country.

    ButtOfMalmseyon July 30, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i 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

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