What does Working Class Hero mean?

Green Day: Working Class Hero Meaning

Tagged: Working [suggest]
Album cover for Working Class Hero album cover

Song Released: 2007

Working Class Hero Lyrics

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
'Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 20th 2008 !⃝

    This was written by John Lennon, and my interpretation at first was that it was about the world, and the ridiculousness of it. People might not like it if you're too smart, but you're put down if you're dumb.

    People keep saying you could get to the top, but only a handful really do. And now, tying it into Darfurian Genocide, and looking back, the 'torture and scare you' and 'smile as you kill' really make sense. back in World War II, Hitler used torture to get his points across and he did kill a lot of people intentionally.

    This goes for the rwandan genocide, with the Hutu and the Tutsi, too. And, for Darfur.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 9th 2007 !⃝

    I don't think it's as much about fear as it is how we stereotype people starting at birth, and begin pushing children, more and more nowadays at younger ages, to act and appear more mature... Thus, we have 8 year old girls who want to run around looking like Britney Spears or Miss America because they've seen that this appeases the public but what they really want deep inside is to be 8 years old.. living, laughing, playing and learning... as children grow up society forces more expectations upon them... and they feel all this pressure to be perfect .. To look perfect ... be geniuses, etc.. Instead of just encouraging them to be who they are; and letting them know that middle IS okay, just do your best wholeheartedly and take pride in who you are; people are growing more and more lazy and more dependent on others and technology instead of themselves. The song is about being yourself, being independent, accepting it and being proud of it.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Sep 28th 2009 !⃝

    It makes you step back and think about all the screw ups in your life. like for example the people you lied to, the hearts you broke, and all the bad shit you have done. I mean even from birth you are told what to do, how to dress, what to say, and how to look. and it is all MESSED UP SHIT!!!!

    i mean people need to learn to just break free from the powerful grip of the man whom ever he may be weather it's a teacher,boss ,cop, or your own parents. we need to break free live on the edge and make our own rules.

  4. anonymous
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    May 22nd 2023 !⃝

    For me this song talks of all the suffer you go into this world and the many rules you have to listen,but at the end they only want to see if you go well in your carrier.

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 22nd 2012 !⃝

    Actually, the 'working class hero' is not something to be. He's just being sarcastic there. The phrase has been used to describe a person who despite all that the world does to him is successful and happy. John has nothing against the working class heroes, his problem lies with the establishment that has made it so difficult to express oneself.

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 12th 2011 !⃝

    As I lie in bed and stare at the celling Listening to working class hero,I look back on my life and I realize that I made a lot of shortcuts knowing that most of them did more damage than good. And I realize that had I not taken those shortcuts maybe I could have gotten into a better college or not wasted two years trying get someware in life. Anyway the message I want to leave is even though life is hard sometimes, and you want to quit just keep Goin because it does get better and even though shortcuts maybe in site take a step back and think how will this affect my future because in the end your future is all you really have.

  7. anonymous
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    May 4th 2011 !⃝

    even the j.lenon original had a bitter conotation.
    to the working clas a hero is mainly someone who works till he drops dead.
    while the propaganda working class hero is a civil rights fighter, but the working clas dont like those cause masses never like those who lift theire heads above the rests or worse tell them to change theire lives.
    also they are told that by working hard and stop to care about others they can reach the top . they never stood a chance cause they were already broke after scool,but they hold onto it cause otherwise everthing in theire lives would've been in vain

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 29th 2011 !⃝

    It's saying how pretty much that business leaders hired you saying that you'll one day be the leader of the business if you work hard enough but they're most likely lying because only a few actually make it to the top.

    Which is the general idea of a capitalistic and free society.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 4th 2010 !⃝

    It has been really interesting reading all the interpretations of the lyrics to this song. Wow! One thing that's really cool is that the song gets people thinking. I guess a good song/poem is like a good piece of visual art--people spend time thinking about it, discussing it, and enjoying it. Okay, now for my humble interpretation...for me...at the beginning, I picture a typical middle class family putting a toddler in day care (or being put in front of the TV/Computer anything that gets that child out of the parents' hair--"giving you no time instead of it all")...then at day care/preschool/kindergarten, the child learns that he/she is just one of the other kids--not special or anything...just walk in a straight line, follow the leader, just blend in with everyone else.....don't try to be special or be too smart or too clever.....then it continues in elementary school. You've got your standardized tests that you have to take twice a year (and much of the year is spent training to take these tests--learn to fill in the bubbles, etc.)....just be like everyone else....don't be different or the other kids will make fun of you, and the teachers won't know what to do with you if you're too smart or too slow. Just be the standardized child.......be a middle class student---not too intelligent, not too dumb, not too perfect, don't cause any problems and you will be a "hero" to other people in your school. Then throughout middle school, high school, and possibly college, the cycle continues.....just blend in and you'll be okay. Then when you graduate from all of your schooling in learning how to function in mediocrity, now it's time to find a mediocre job/career and continue to blend in and keep trying to keep up with the Joneses. I always took it that Lennon meant "the working class hero is something to be" facetiously...Anyway, I don't know if this makes sense, but this is what this piece of art says to me--just conform and blend in and to the world, you will be a "working class hero."

  10. anonymous
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    May 11th 2010 !⃝

    The song is kinda an athem for all those who fight for there own
    right, to live there own way make there own chioces in life.
    So by reading this just step back and think cause by standing up
    for what is right makes you a working class hero.

  11. tcraymond
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    Feb 26th 2010 !⃝

    the song definitly follows true to a child's life as they proceed though there school aged years and so on into adulthood.

  12. tcraymond
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    Feb 21st 2010 !⃝

    The song is in a way telling a story about a child's life, in how a birth the he was looked down on but someone kept telling the him that he needs to stand for something and not let the world get him down. Then as the child enters school it gets worse all his teachers look down in they think he will never amount to anything, and his fellow classmates pick on him and teas him. So he decides to become a rebel he starts to turn starts getting involved with the wrong people. until one day somebody steps into his life and tells him that he has the ability to be better to do more with his life than be a pot-head, so he decides to go to college to get a degree, he makes it through but than he gets to the working world and discovers that life doesn't get much better. before long he has bills to pay and before long he is working late into the night sometimes not sleeping at all. Than he finally gets his shit together and he realizes that it is up to him and him alone to succeed in life and that nobody is there to help him. (which in life is a lesson we all need to learn!)

  13. anonymous
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    Jul 6th 2009 !⃝

    i thinks its saying its easier to be average. if ur overly smart or push boundaries then you could find yourself in trouble.

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 19th 2009 !⃝

    It kinda makes you look inside your self and think about,
    The things you have done in life. Weather it be getting in trouble with the law to geting an F on a test, and you think why and how it went the way it did.

  15. anonymous
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    Mar 19th 2009 !⃝

    It kinda makes you look inside your self and think about,
    The things you have done both good and bad. Weather it be getting in trouble with the law to geting an F on a test, and you think why and how it went the way it did.

  16. anonymous
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    Oct 30th 2008 !⃝

    John Lennon wrote this song. Lennon didn't sing "a working class hero is something to be" sarcastically or meaning that it's a bad thing. If you read the interview he released to the Red Mole in 1970 (it's online, search for it), you'll know that he really believed in a sort of communism revolution at the time and that he did identify with the working class (although, as somebody remarked, his roots were probably not so "working class")- so in this song he was offering himself as an example to follow: he really wanted the listeners to join him in the opposition to the capitalism system. "Imagine" asks the same thing, but in a sweeter way. It's not a moral song.

  17. anonymous
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    Feb 9th 2008 !⃝

    I think it's about all the outcasts just trying to get by in life but all the kids at school, their parents, teachers, etc are putting them down and making them feel worthless.

    The line where he talks about being hated if you're clever could be refering to 'nerds' and if you despising a fool are the 'dumb kids'. when he says "they hurt you at home and they hit you at school" it could be talking about how their parents make them feel worthless just as much as the kids at school do. which eventually makes you so rebellious and angry you don't care about rules anymore. then when they've "tortured and scared you for twenty odd years" you're getting out of school and they are expecting you to get a job and work with more people who will probably continue to put you down. You're so scared of these people picking on you that you don't know how to make friends or anything. they "stay doped" on the things that they like so they think they can do anything. You could become famous and be 'the new up and coming' but you have to be able to stab people in the back to become famous like "the folks on the hill" which could be referring to Beverly Hills.

    The writer of this song obviously is a hero and he was bullied in school so he's telling kids to use their skills to the max so they can be like him and not give up during their teen years.

  18. anonymous
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    Sep 12th 2007 !⃝

    Ok for all of you morons.... This song was not written by G.D but by JOHN LENNON. I love GD but this is not their song but you can find this and other great Beatles/john lennon songs on the CD Instant Karma the Campaign to Save Darfur. I think this is reffering to school... just like that person said... You wish you can speak up but you get shot down.

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