Lyrical Challenge – Midnight Rider

Gregg Allman wrote ‘Midnight Rider’ and this song appeared on the second album, Idlewild South by the Allman Brothers Band being recorded in 1970.  Although Greg wrote the song, he shared the songwriting credit with Kim Payne, a roadie for the band who came up with the classic line, “The road goes on forever.”  Greg was stoned out under the influence of marijuana at Idlewild South, a cabin near Macon, Georgia, where the band hung out for considerable periods of time when he wrote this song.  This song is relatively simple with great vocal harmonies where Allman sings wistfully and it features a classic rock beat.

It is the story of a desperate man who is on the run with his horse presumably from the law.  The song never tells us what he is running from, but he must be an outlaw or some type of desperado, as it seems like all he does is hide and then run.  It must be an awful life having people chase after you, living here and moving there not knowing where you will sleep.  Worse than that this guy says that he doesn’t own the clothes that he is wearing.  Most people have closets full of clothes, some people have brand new clothes that they have yet to remove the sales tags from, so did this guy steal his clothes, and by saying his clothes that would make him the owner, even if he did not pat for them.  It is a very sad life, moving from place to place, being on an endless journey.  Maybe there is some hope left for this guy as he is still holding on to his last silver dollar, perhaps this is a silver lining.  Is he saving this for a meal, or perhaps he wants to spend it on a woman, whatever it is, he has gone past the point of caring, however he still vows not to be caught.

‘Midnight Rider’ is the most iconic song for Gregg Allman, as the open road fueled Gregg’s lifelong love of motorcycles, and contributed to the demise of his brother Duane and Berry Oakley the Bass Player.  Greg was married seven times, including to Cher, with whom he had a son named Elijah.  This song was written shortly before his brother Duane died in a motorcycle crash in 1971.  Gregg Allman died last year on May 27, 2017 at the age of 69.

Well, I’ve got to run to keep from hidin’
And I’m bound to keep on ridin’
And I’ve got one more silver dollar

But I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing
And the road goes on forever
And I’ve got one more silver dollar

But I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

I’ve gone by the point of caring
Some old bed I’ll soon be sharing
And I’ve got one more silver dollar

But I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

No, I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

No, I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

No, I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no
Not gonna let ‘em catch the midnight rider

5 thoughts on “Lyrical Challenge – Midnight Rider

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s