Steve Earle
Jerusalem lyrics

Last updated: 18 March 2003

cover of JerusalemSongs:
  • Ashes to Ashes  (Steve Earle)
  • Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)  (Steve Earle)
  • Conspiracy Theory  (Steve Earle)
  • John Walker's Blues  (Steve Earle)
  • The Kind  (Steve Earle)
  • What's a Simple Man to Do?  (Steve Earle)
  • The Truth  (Steve Earle)
  • Go Amanda  (Steve Earle, Sheryl Crow)
  • I Remember You  (Steve Earle)
  • Shadowland (Steve Earle)
  • Jerusalem (Steve Earle)

  • Ashes To Ashes
    (Steve Earle)

    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

    A long time ago before the ice and the snow
    There were giants that walked this land
    And with each step they took, the mighty mountains shook
    And the trees took a knee and the seas rolled in
    Then one day they say the sky gave way
    And death rained down, it made a terrible sound
    There was fire everywhere and nothin' was spared
    That walked on the land or flew through the air
    And when it all was over
    The slate wiped clean with a touch
    There God stood and he saw it was good
    And He said "ashes to ashes and dust to dust"


    Then the sea gave birth and it crawled up on the dirt
    And stood up and took a look around
    Said "I'm the next big thing and the gift that I bring
    Comes directly from God, so there ain't no holdin' me down"
    So he crowned himself king
    Now no one remembers his name
    But the seed that he sowed took the show on the road
    There was blood on their hands and a plague on the land
    They drew a line in the sand and made their last stand
    They said "God made us in his image
    And it's in God that we trust"
    When asked about the men that had died by their hands
    They said "ashes to ashes and dust to dust"


    Now, nobody lives forever
    Nothin' stands the test of time
    Oh, you heard 'em say "never say never"
    But it's always best to keep it in mind
    That every tower ever built tumbles
    No matter how strong, no matter how tall
    Someday even great walls will crumble
    And every idol ever raised falls
    And someday even man's best laid plans
    Will lie twisted and covered in rust
    When we've done all that we can but it slipped through our hands
    And it's ashes to ashes and dust to dust

    chorus x 2

    Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)
    (Steve Earle)

    Look at ya
    Yeah, take a look in the mirror now tell me what you see
    Another satisfied customer in the front of the line for the American dream
    I remember when we was both out on the boulevard
    Talkin' revolution and singin' the blues
    Nowadays it's letters to the editor and cheatin' on our taxes
    Is the best that we can do
    Come on

    Look around
    There's doctors down on Wall Street
    Sharpenin' their scalpels and tryin' to cut a deal
    Meanwhile, back at the hospital
    We got accountants playin' God and countin' out the pills
    Yeah, I know, that sucks that your HMO
    Ain't doin' what you thought it would do
    But everybody's gotta die sometime and we can't save everybody
    It's the best that we can do

    Four score and a hundred and fifty years ago
    Our forefathers made us equal as long as we can pay
    Yeah, well maybe that wasn't exactly what they was thinkin'
    Version six-point-oh of the American way
    But hey we can just build a great wall around the country club
    To keep the riff-raff out until the slump is through
    Yeah, I realize that ain't exactly democratic, but it's either them or us and
    And it's the best we can do

    Yeah, passionely conservative
    It's the best we can do

    Conservatively passionate
    It's the best we can do

    Meanwhile, still thinkin'
    Hey, let's wage a war on drugs
    It's the best we can do
    Well, I don't know about you, but I kinda dig this global warming thing...

    Conspiracy Theory
    (Steve Earle)

    What if I told you it was done with mirrors
    What if I showed you it was all a lie
    Better be careful, someone might hear ya
    The walls have ears and the sky has eyes
    What if I said you were only dreamin'
    What you wanna bet that all you gotta do
    Is open up your eyes and you will wake up screamin'
    When you realize that it's all come true

    Hush, now don't you believe it
    Cover your head and close your eyes
    Now, take it or leave it
    Go back to bed
    Now don't you cry

    Half a million soldiers fly across the water
    One in ten are never comin' back again
    Fifty thousand sons who never grew to fathers
    Don't you ever wonder who they might have been
    What if you could've been there on that day in Dallas
    What if you could wrestle back the hands of time
    Maybe somethin' could've been done in Memphis
    We wouldn't be livin' in a dream that's died


    Go on and tell yourself again there are no secrets
    Go on and tell yourself that you don't want to know
    It's best that you believe that you don't hear the footsteps
    That follow you around no matter where you go
    Maybe you were thinkin' that it didn't matter
    Maybe you believed nobody else would care
    But once you've added every little lie together
    You finally find the truth was always waiting there

    chorus x 2

    chorus (fades)

    John Walker's Blues
    (Steve Earle)

    I'm just an American boy raised on MTV
    And I've seen all those kids in the soda pop ads
    But none of 'em looked like me
    So I started lookin' around for a light out of the dim
    And the first thing I heard that made sense was the word
    Of Mohammed, peace be upon him

    A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
    There is no God but God

    If my daddy could see me now chains around my feet
    He don't understand that sometimes a man
    Has got to fight for what he believes
    And I believe God is great, all praise due to him
    And if I should die, I'll rise up to the sky
    Just like Jesus, peace be upon him


    We came to fight the Jihad and our hearts were pure and strong
    As death filled the air, we all offered up prayers
    And prepared for our martyrdom
    But Allah had some other plan, some secret not revealed
    Now they're draggin' me back with my head in a sack
    To the land of the infidel

    A shadu la ilaha illa Allah
    A shadu la ilaha illa Allah

    The Kind
    (Steve Earle)

    Tell me a story 'bout a fella with a crazy dream
    Everybody tells him that it won't amount to anything
    He fires the shot heard around the world
    He wins the prize and he gets the girl
    That's the kind of story I like the kind that makes you think

    Sing me a song about a cowboy with an achin' heart
    Ridin' along the lonesome prairie 'bout to fall apart
    Every time those doggies moan
    He doesn't feel so all alone
    That's the kind of song that I like the kind that breaks your heart

    Paint me a picture of a girl with a secret smile
    Lookin' back at ya 'cross the years through ancient eyes
    You're standin' there like an open door
    'Cause she's seen it all before
    That's the kind of picture I like the kind that makes you sigh

    What's A Simple Man To Do?
    (Steve Earle)

    Dear Graciela, I'm writin' this letter
    Deep in the night and I'm all alone
    It's nearly breakin' my heart to tell you
    I'm so far away from home
    I know I said I'd never cross the border
    I know I promised to return to you
    But I lost my job in the maquiladora
    What's a simple man to do?

    I met a man in Tijuana
    Said he had a job for me to do
    Standin' on a corner in San Diego
    With a pocketful of red balloons
    All I wanted was a little money
    All I needed was a week or two
    I never even saw the police comin'
    What's a simple man to do?

    Tell my mamma that I said I'm sorry
    I know she didn't bring me up this way
    Ask if she could light a candle for me
    Pray that I'll come home someday
    Oh Graciela, won't you please forgive me
    I never meant to bring this shame to you
    I lost my job in the maquiladora
    What's a simple man to do?

    The Truth
    (Steve Earle)

    In the blue of the evenin' when the sun is low
    There's a shadow that creeps across my cell block floor
    And it comes to remind me what I'm in here for

    No, I'm not admittin' that I done the crime
    I'm only gettin' down to doin' time
    And the passin' of days is no concern of mine

    There's a guard on the second shift comes on at three
    And he's always about a half inch off of me
    Like he needs to keep remindin' me that I'm not free

    God forgive him 'cause he doesn't see
    He's no less a prisoner 'cause he holds a key
    And God forbid he turn his back on me

    For every wall you build around your fear
    A thousand darker things are born in here
    And they're fed on contempt for all that you hold dear

    The truth is it doesn't matter what you do
    'Til you gaze in that mirror with an eye that's true
    And admit that what scares you is the me in you

    Go Amanda
    (Steve Earle, Sheryl Corw)

    Take your red dress, leave the hanger
    Lose the sadness, use the anger
    You might need it 'fore you get there

    Oh, Amanda
    You don't have to say goodbye
    You just go Amanda
    Ain't no way you didn't try
    Wo, oh
    All right

    Tell your sister, tell your brother
    Take a picture to your mother
    You've been livin' undercover

    chrous x 3

    Oh, Amanda
    Oh, Amanda

    I Remember You
    (Steve Earle)

    When I'm walkin' these streets
    And I'm countin' my steps
    And I'm draggin' my feet
    'Cause I ain't ready yet
    To start all over again
    'Cause every time that I do
    I remember you

    Well, you broke my heart
    And it healed alright
    Now we're far apart
    And I don't lie awake at night
    But every once in a while
    Right out of the blue
    I remember you

    Well, you never write and I never call
    And I don't miss you tonight
    I'm just curious, that's all
    Do you still have dreams?
    Did they all come true?
    Does it ever seem like you'll never make it through?
    And do you ever miss me the way that I do
    When I remember you?

    When I'm walkin' these streets
    Well, you broke my heart
    And I'm countin' my steps
    But it healed alright
    And I'm draggin' my feet
    Now we're far apart
    'Cause I ain't ready yet
    Every once in a while
    Right out of the blue
    I remember you
    I remember you

    (Steve Earle)

    Way out yonder, where the wild wind blows
    There's a place there lonely fools can go
    Where if you hold your money, it'll burn your hand
    So you buy you a ticket to the shadowland

    Down the highway, down the road I'm bound
    And my heart keeps poundin' and the wheels go 'round
    And it's a hard place for a mortal man
    And a heartbroke pilgrim in the shadowland

    Yeah, when I was younger I could hold my own
    My right hand was thunder and my left was stone
    Now I ain't as handsome as I was back then
    So I'm takin' my chances in the shadowland


    Been down a thousand highways and they're all the same
    Another empty place where I can hide my shame
    And there's a heartache waitin' up around the bend
    For a lonesome stranger in the shadowland


    (Steve Earle)

    I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
    And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
    And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
    And there was nothin' anyone could do or say

    And I almost listened to him
    Yeah, I almost lost my mind
    Then I regained my senses again
    And looked into my heart to find

    That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
    Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

    Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
    But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
    But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
    But I still find some comfort now and then

    Then the storm comes rumblin' in
    And I can't lay me down
    And the drums are drummin' again
    And I can't stand the sound

    But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
    Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

    And there'll be no barricades then
    There'll be no wire or walls
    And we can wash all this blood from our hands
    And all this hatred from our souls

    And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
    Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

    All songs written by Steve Earle and published by Sarangel Music (ASCAP) except Go Amanda written by Steve Earle & Sheryl Crow and published by Sarangel Music (ASCAP)/Old Crow Music/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Co. (BMI)

    Sarangel Music Administered by Tom Snell for Sussman & Associates (US & Canada) and Bug Music (International)

    Lyrics reprinted by permission

    © 2003-2007 Clint Harris  ( – All Rights Reserved
    © 1995-2003 Lisa Kemper  – All Rights Reserved

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