YOU CAN'T RELIVE THE PAST

Eyes of the Immigrant  (by Eric Andersen) [Albums: Can't Relive the Past]

They came by day, and they came by night.
They came like cattle they were packed so tight.
They rolled on the stairways and they slept on the decks.
And the only thing they knew was they could not turn back.
They came from Sweden and they came from France.
They came from up and down along the continent.
They came in floods and they came in waves.
They came for glory and they came to escape.
Some held their breath in the morning light.
As New York Harbor came into sight.
They leaned on the rails and the decks just to see.
A statue of a lady known as "Liberty."
Their hands gripped the rails and their eyes peered up.
Some were crying with their eyes; some were crying with their hearts.
They were dreaming of the future; they were crying for a chance.
Maybe the son of a shipper could even be the president.

CHORUS:
  Eyes of the healthy and eyes of the lame
  Eyes of the free and the eyes of the chain
  Eyes of the wealthy and eyes of the poor
  Eyes of an Indian who rides nevermore
  Always remember and never forget
  Beneath all the dirt and beneath all the sweat
  Who looked to the future and knew what it meant
  But the hearts and the minds and the souls and the dreams
  In the eyes, eyes of the Immigrant

Out of Ellis Island they poured like sheep
Onto the land and into the streets.
With their hands on their children and their coats on their backs
They brought nothing more than they could fit in their sacks.
Carpenters, steel workers, firemen, and cops
Peddled rags full of shoes in all the neighborhood shops.
They worked with their hands and they worked with their backs
Bringin' coal from the ground and puttin' smoke up the stacks.
Wave after wave the flood never stopped.
Soon the ones on the bottom they rose to the top.
They dreamed and they said no matter how its gotten bad,
You give to your kids the things that you never had.
Be doctors and lawyers and chairmen of the boards.
Be the guardians of peace and protectors in the wars.
You work with your knowledge and your skills and your minds.
Now its everybody's future that you hold in your sights.

CHORUS

Some tried to settle, some couldn't out of fear.
Some kept dreaming of the new frontier.
Everybody was convinced they had a place in the sun,
That it wasn't what you were so much as what you could become.
Everybody's future wasn't everybody's dream;
The land could be barren and the streets could be mean.
It was a fact in the suburbs and the farms and the shacks
That you only knew ahead there ain't no room to fall back.
This is the land and the home of the free.
That's what we want the whole world to believe.
Not everybody makes it to the top of the heap:
Some were brought in chains from far across the sea;
Some lost their way and some lost track;
And some realized that you can't look back.
And sometimes you hear it but you don't know where
The sound of the waves still crashing in your ear.

CHORUS

Of the immigrant.

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You can't relive the past   (Eric Andersen & Lou Reed)  [Albums: Can't Relive the Past, Blue Rain]

What's said is said, what's done is done
you can't relive the past
the water's blown and so's the bridge
you can't relive the past
memory runs right by your eyes
so real and so fast
the dam is burst the acid's spilt
you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
the dam is burst the acid's spilt
you can't relive the past

I sat beauty on my knees
you can't relive the past
I ran my guns for Robert E. Lee
you can't relive the past
one lesson learned from poetry
you can't hide behind the mask
no mask could hide your liberty
you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
no mask could hide your liberty
you can't relive the past

BRIDGE:
You life turns grey, the kids leave school
it's so subtle, it's so cruel
your knee has gotten rusty
the wild west got taped fast
you sit alone with your remote control
but you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
you sit alone with your remote control
you can't relive the past

Amuse yourself with anything
you can't relive the past
mistakes are what they'll always be
you can't relive the past
the many things you thought you'd save
were like stocks in a crash
your future's now just gettin up
you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
your future's now just gettin up
you can't relive the past

Did you really think this would would change
your future's now just gettin up
you can't relive the past
reality's not what the headlines say
your future's now just gettin up
you can't relive the past
then suddenly it's all over
before the sail reached the top-most mast
you're driftin like a wooden doll
you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
you're driftin like a wooden doll
you can't relive the past

BRIDGE:
I walked out to Dexter Street
at the crossroads I heard a saxophone
so many loves are dead and gone
so many lives have crashed
I'll never know what to make of it
except you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
I'll never know what to make of it
you can't relive the past

I wake up now that's all I know
you can't relive the past
the future's constant tyranny
you can't relive the past
tomorrow I might draw a map
but most plans never last
still it's fun though you know
you can't relive the past
You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
still it's fun though you know
you can't relive the past

You can't relive the past
you can't relive the past
still it's fun though you know
you can't relive the past

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Gonna go crazy  (Eric Andersen) [Albums: Can't Relive the Past]

I'm lookin for my lover
but she just can't be found
I'm gonna go crazy
I thought I'd find the answer
but she just ain't around
I'm gonna go crazy
I won't let her take me down...

Chorus:
  I'm gonna go crazy
  I'm gonna get sad
  if somethin don't happen
  I'm goin down fast
  I'm gonna go mad, mad, mad

She looked just like heaven
but the earth got in the way
I'm gonna go crazy
She said I'm crazy anyway
try and be with someone
who don't do a thing you say
It's drivin me crazy
a hellhound's on its way...

Chorus

Tryin to find somebody's
worse that tryin to find yourself
I'm gonna go crazy
don't you wish you were someone else?
I'm bookin up to Memphis
find me someone new
and really go crazy
take me right out of the blue...

Chorus

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The Meadowlark   (Townes Van Zandt & Eric Andersen) [Albums: Can't Relive the Past]

Darknes sparkles the edge of dawn
like a heart that's turned stone cold
the ones I love are dead and gone
and I am growing old
Oh my heart is whispering
go back north
to the north I truly love
I'd follow the geese but they're heading south
so I'll follow the morning dove

When I get there I'll build a fire
and stare into the flames
for every single spark that flies
I'll remember a loved one's name
When spring surrounds the winter ground
and the ice falls from the nest
and winter sings with a voice of spring
I'll be heading for the west

For I have live and I have died
a thousand of your deaths
I've partaken a thousand times
the sweetness of your breath
I have held you in my eyes
with my hands cupped 'neath your breasts
Shall I follow the meadowlark
and lay me down to rest
and lay me down to rest

I will not follow the meadowlark
I'll follow the morning dove
I'll prove my wings both strong and true
til I found the one I love
But I shant forsake the meadowlark
she did not forsake me
to the meadowlark godspeed
to the meadowlark godspeed

The eagle got us in the air
the buzzard picked our bones
the meadowlark sang us songs
the morning dove took us home

Darknes sparkles the edge of dawn
like a heart that's turned stone cold
the ones I love are dead and gone
and I am growing old
Oh my heart is whispering
go back north
to the north I truly love
I'd follow the geese but they're heading south
so I'll follow the morning dove
I'll follow the morning dove

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The Road   (Eric Andersen & Townes Van Zandt) [Albums: Can't Relive the Past]

The road lies in wait
patient as a snake
diamonds down its back
glitters in its eyes
the road waits
all my bones to break
here I go again
don't even wonder why

The road calls
winding round these walls
the mesas' wail
to the bitter land
the canyon cries
I am dry
soon be dust
blown across these trails

The road turns in
to amber light
the mesa's dream
crystal night
the water drifts
the rock is stained
the desert's washed
in tears not rain

There is a road
men walk down
they learn to hurt
everything they found
there is a road
where women cry
where no wind blows
and no birds fly

There is a road
where nothing runs
ancient eyes
still seek the sun
a flutter of wings
they make no sound
above a road
a man walks down
above a road
a man walks down

The road lies in wait
patient as a snake
diamonds down its back
glitters in its eyes
the road waits
all my bones to break
here I go again
don't even wonder why
don't even wonder why

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Magdalena  (Eric Andersen) [Albums: Can't Relive the Past]

Ooo ooo ooo ooo
Magdalena, you can't come back for me
running in your long black cape
Magdalena, don't turn to look at me
I think the tears might stain your face
You dropped a glove somewhere
I think I saw it clearly
but it might have been a dream
I dreamed that maybe you'd
outrun your pain
the feeling still remains
two sisters in the night
like the feeling of Brussels in the rain

Magdalena, whoa ooo, Magdalena
I can feel your prayers of love
they are tempting, they are burning me
don't you think they've been enough
the convent bells are tolling
you broken cross is smoking
I think you know you don't have long
would you believe me if I were burning in your flames
the feeling still remains
two sisters in the night
like the feeling of Brussels in the rain

Magdalena, Ooooa
Magdalena, I wear your emblem on my heart
It is twisting, it is yearning
would you please tell me how to stop
are the blankets cold. Are you warm tonight?
I can't feel you in this dark
the string await your touch
a cello knows your name
the feeling still remains
like two sisters in the night
like the feeling of Brussels in the rain

Magdalena, now don't forget me
running in your long black cape
Magdalena, don't try and reach for me
no turning back you can't escape
you dropped a glove somewhere
I think I saw it clearly
but it might have been a dream
I dreamed at last that maybe you'd
outrun your pain the feeling still remains
two sisters in the night
like the feeling of Brussels in the rain

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All songs by Eric Andersen except where noted.
© Wind and Sand Music / Townes Van Zandt Music / Lou Reed Music

Return to the Eric Andersen Page.
Last revised: Mar 2007.