Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues Meaning
Song Released: 1955
Folsom Prison Blues Lyrics
It's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine,
Since, I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison,
And time keeps draggin' on,
But that train keeps a-rollin',
On down to San Antone.
When I was...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous May 29th 2006 report
It ain't just that, about longing to be free but knowing it can't. It's realizing he can never be free again because he's committed a crime; the man realizes his sin and realizes the consequences. Johnny Cash didn't sing just to whine, he sang to warn. You can be a wild rambler and shoot somebody for the hell of it, but then you will experience the real hell of it.
anonymous Apr 15th 2012 report
This is a good question. Perhaps the oesarn he's in Folsom Prison isn't directly tied to the murder in Reno. That is, maybe he was on parole for the murder in Nevada when he committed another criminal act in California that earned him time in Folsom. Otherwise, he would have probably been sent to Nevada State Prison in Carson City. Or maybe the murder in Reno violated his parole in California, and he was returned to that state to finish out his term. My original thought was that perhaps at the time of the murder Nevada didn't have adequate prison facilities, since California's statehood pre-dates Nevada's, However, Nevada State Prison was built about 30 years before Folsom Prison. I guess Cash needed a two-syllable city for the song. I shot a man in Sacramento just doesn't have the same ring to it. I'm sure Johnny wouldn't mind you fu*kin' with him a little bit. Edit: Relax, Tommy. It's all in good fun, I'm sure. Talking about taking things too seriously
anonymous Jan 1st 2012 report
This is a song about man's eviction from the Garden of Eden. There was only one rule and that was to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. P.S. The apple was bitten. And just as the singers only advice from his mother was to be a good boy and to not mess with guns , he goes ahead and shoots a man just for the pure evil of it. He's incarcerated, knows he deserves it and as all of mankind he pines for the freedom and perfection that he knows he can never see.
anonymous Aug 21st 2011 report
the first four lines he's talking about shooting cocaine... you hear a whistle like a train that gets louder and louder right after you shoot cocaine
anonymous Apr 17th 2011 report
The song was written for inmates who were being abused and some what tortured. Cash saw a film while he was in Germany and started to have ideas of prison reform.
johnny was in prison when he was younger so he knows about the small things that become a highlight of your day. i know what he meant. if you were a lifer you had no hope of ever getting out. the train whistle marked another day and you couldn'd wait until that whistle was not heard because you were dead. that was the only hope your death
Your looking on the surface. Johnny Cash is referring to the prison that holds us all. Longing for our dreams but incapable of achieving them. and the frustration that comes with that. You are all right but remember there is always a psychological undertone present in all songs. Even if it wasn't intended consciously by the artist, doesn't mean that if you found a deeper meaning that the meaning you found isn't real. Your thought and conviction make it real and more powerful to you.
anonymous Nov 20th 2006 report
Classic song. Timeless style. Passion.
More Johnny Cash song meanings »
Submit Your Interpretation
Related Blog Posts
|Good Morning Heartache||anonymous|
|The Carpet Crawlers||anonymous|
|All Girls Are The Same||anonymous|
|Die From A Broken Heart||anonymous|
|Don't Fear the Reaper||severusryse|
|Took Her To The O||anonymous|
|Working For The Knife||anonymous|