What does A Horse With No Name mean?

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America: A Horse With No Name Meaning

Song Released: 1972

A Horse With No Name Lyrics

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jun 15th 2012 report

    We don't care what the meaning is. We just want them to name the fucking horse.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 20th 2006 report

    The journey through the desert by the narrator is really a physical journey of self-discovery. He discovers one main thing. He discovers that running away from your troubles does not make them go away and that they will come back.
    The whole song refers to a period of time where the narrator gets away from his life.t his is represented by him walking through the desert. Rain or water is seen as a constant metaphor for troubles in his life. A journey through the desert where there is no rain and little water is the perfect escape.
    In the first verse he is enjoying and appreciating the life around him in the desert during this time, “I was looking at all the life.” He is enjoying not having to deal with his usual responsibilities or problems. He then says in the first chorus “It felt good to be out of the rain.” He is experiencing a time of clarity where he can listen to his thoughts. “In the desert you can remember your name, 'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain.” Because all distractions are removed he can find his true identity.
    In the second verse he begins to feel the negative effects of having left his old life. This I seen in the way his “skin began to turn red.” He sees that by abandoning the water he is missing out on many of the things which enriched his life. He originally thought water to only be his problems but it was intertwined with many good things too. We see this in the line of the dry riverbed. The line, “And the story it told of a river that flowed
    Made me sad to think it was dead,” shows that he now sees that escaping his life was not the way to be happy. He misses it.
    In the third and final verse his problems catch up with him “the desert had turned to sea.” His problems are not only rain as we see at the beginning, it is much bigger. By not addressing his problems they have become worse over time. He also discovers that he never really did escape his life and problems. They were always there, it was an illusion he created himself. “The ocean is a desert with its life underground, And a perfect disguise above.” The main character has discovered that escape from your problems is impossible. You may think you have escaped them but you haven’t, they will always be there and will grow bigger over time if you do not address them. This journey is one of self-discovery.

  3. anonymous
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    Feb 6th 2022 report

    its definitely a song about self discovery realizing there's really no escape in this life even if there is, it comes with its cost anf its temporary. so deal with that shit [ur rain] take a few days off [go to the desert] and return and repeat the process. There is no escape except, u know... death.

  4. tonyb
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    Mar 3rd 2021 report

    Just a snapshot of meanings really, I feel it's about escape. The storyteller has found peace in the desert and the simple beauties of nature.Being at one with the natural world and being free from the pressures of living in the city; any city.

    Although written in the early 1970's and very much of it's time, I feel it can relate just as strongly to these times
    we live in now.

  5. BAKER69
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    Mar 2nd 2021 report

    Just a quick thought or two. To me the song is about being tired of living in the city and embracing the vastness of the desert. Free of the stresses of living in an overpopulated environment. The storyteller is appreciating the simple beauty of birds and plants,even the rocks bring comfort.

  6. Oswin
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    Oct 14th 2020 report

    The song seems to me much more literal than many commentators make it. If you think, the speaker is travelling east to west on the horse, following the manifest destiny course. He leaves the populated regions of the Mississippi and follows the California trail across the Utah-Nevada desert. He becomes a Native American as his skin turns red. The river is the Humboldt which ends in the Humboldt sink where thirst killed many pioneers. He ends where to ocean begins, the Pacific coast but moves into the present with the city which might be LA, and sees the land killed by the weight of all its urbanized buildings.

  7. anonymous
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    Nov 22nd 2018 report

    Here’s a little clue for you all... The walrus was Paul. The horse’s name is...

  8. JoshH
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    Oct 4th 2017 report

    The society heroin post was me. I just made an account.

    "The first part of the journey" is when he was a kid, before he was drawn in to being addicted.

  9. anonymous
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    Oct 4th 2017 report

    The horse with no name is society heroin. Shoes, status, money, power, shopping, tv.... It has no name because most people don't know that they are drugged. Society tells us that these are normal and good ways of being.

  10. anonymous
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    Mar 30th 2017 report

    this is going to sound crazy, but I once met a fellow traveler in my young life as a musician who was an ex-officer in the Egyptian army. He was once ordered to find a fellow soldier who had either gone rogue,lost,or defected in the vast Egyptian desert. He was sent on horseback and he never found his comrade. ....YES..You...GUESSED...IT...he got totally lost looking for this soldier who was never to have been seen again. True to the song ,his horse ran away and he spent countless hours walking the blazing sun frantically covering vast expanses of desert attempting to drag this awol back to base .Shortly after returning to base... he discovered the song or as he states, the song discovered him! We played the song often at the rest/bar we worked together and it always
    triggered these vivid stories for him. A song I know Salem will not soon forget!

  11. anonymous
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    Mar 30th 2017 report

    Who knows?, (maybe the narrator could drop a line in on this feed and then everyone's happy?) I'm interested.

  12. anonymous
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    Oct 6th 2016 report

    The first part of the journey is when he first tries heroin, after "two or three days", the negative effects become apparent.....after "nine days" he lets the horse run free....he has stopped using, and sees a truer meaning to his life.

  13. anonymous
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    Sep 6th 2016 report

    "Horse" is a well known nickname for heroine. The desert is synonymous for
    breaking the addiction and going thru the withdrawals.

  14. anonymous
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    Aug 29th 2013 report

    Really, why does Wikipedia continue to be the "BE ALL" source. If I can change something on the site with very little historical references, why would anyone use it as an exact quote? If you are a high school or college student at in my literature class and you quote WIKI...you loose 1/4 of the points for the paper, unless you are doing a paper on the inconsistencies on the site and have at least two other quotes to refute that it shows. The song makes references to self discovery and is probably tracking a vision quest for young native Americans who follow traditions. They are give an herb to take and it expands the mind to allow them to follow the path to their spiritual guide...and yes the herb is a type of natural drug

  15. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2013 report

    I heard a recent interview with Gerry where he said the essential concept was based on taking a Ferrari for a test drive in the desert.

  16. anonymous
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    Apr 3rd 2013 report

    Also, to the yutz that claimed that the song was written in LA.... America recorded their first albumn in the UK. They did not got to LA until the "Homecoming" disc. So, you were either fed a load of BS by some wannabe or you made the entire story up yourself to add the "drug" meaning to the song.

  17. anonymous
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    Apr 3rd 2013 report

    Straight from Dewey Bunell....

    "America's self-titled debut album was released initially in Europe with only moderate success and without the song "A Horse with No Name." Trying to find a song that would be popular in both the United States and Europe, "A Horse with No Name" was originally called "Desert Song" and was written while the band was staying at the home studio of Arthur Brown, in Puddletown, Dorset. The first two demos were recorded there, by Jeff Dexter and Dennis Elliott, and was intended to capture the feel of the hot, dry desert that had been depicted at the studio from a Salvador Dalí painting, and the strange horse that had ridden out of an M.C. Escher picture. Writer Dewey Bunnell also says he remembered his childhood travels through the Arizona and New Mexico desert when his family lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base."

    So, how could the song have been written in LA when it was written and two demos recorded in the UK?

    How could it be about drugs when Bunell himself recalls "his childhood travels through the Arizona and New Mexico desert when his family lived at Vandenberg Air Force Base."?

    You're all wrong.

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