What does Wild West Hero mean?

Electric Light Orchestra: Wild West Hero Meaning

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Album cover for Wild West Hero album cover

Song Released: 1978


Wild West Hero Lyrics

Wish I was, yeah, a wild west hero

Sometimes I look up high and then I think there might
Just be a better life
Away from all we know, that's where I wanna go
Out on the wild side
And I wish I was, o-oo-o-oh, a wild west hero

Ride the...

  1. NavyDDG
    click a star to vote
    Jan 28th 2010 !⃝

    The central image of "Wild West Hero" is the romanticized wild west of the United States. It is an image of a simpler time with less complex issues than that of 1977 when the song is recorded. The writer paints a vivid picture in our head of his view of the West and what he believes would epitomize a great Western hero of the day and how he plans on being it. Lynn is defiantly trying to bring to mind an emotion of nostalgia and reverence to the old wild west throughout the song. He also evokes a strong feeling of companionship and friendship with the lines "Be with my western girl" and "Be the Indian's friend, let them live to be free". The line about the Indians is especially telling because it is a stark difference to the general feeling of that time period toward the Native American population and demonstrates the writers plan to be the epitome of a more "Modern" wild west hero. While this poem does make use of certain sound devices in it, they assist more in providing proper beat and rhythm than helping to create the emotion of the poem. The tone of the poem is one of longing and yearning to escape into a different time than the one he resides in now.
    What Lynn is trying to say in this song is that he is longing to return back to the simple and better life of the romanticized Wild West. He wants to get away from all that he currently is and possesses, moving away from "All he knows" (Line 4) . He vividly tells us his plans on what he would do, "Riding the range all the day"(Line 7) and how he would act "Try'n do what's right" (Line 12). Mr. Lynn also makes definite use of symbols of what we associate with the Wild West to guide us toward why he wishes to live in that time. Some symbols he uses of the Wild West are "I'd ride the desert sands and through the prairie lands" (Line 11) and also "Riding the Range" (Line 7) where he brings us back to the images of the classic west and even in the second quotation of the song "Home on the Range". What this poem says to me is that at times we all get fed up and tired of it all. Whether it be life in general or just the weekly monotony of school, sometimes we'd all like to get away to a different, better time. For us, Jeff Lynn paints a beautiful about a place we would all want to go.


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