I Shot A Man In Reno Lyrics

Johnny Cash in black clothes

“I Shot a Man in Reno” is a popular song written and performed by Johnny Cash. The song was first released in 1968 and has since become an iconic piece of music. The lyrics of the song tell a story of a man who shot someone in Reno just to watch him die. The song has been covered by numerous artists and has been a popular choice for movies and TV shows.

The Meaning of the Lyrics

Johnny Cash singing in concert

The lyrics of “I Shot a Man in Reno” have been interpreted in various ways. Some people believe that the song is about the consequences of one’s actions. The man in the song shoots someone just to watch him die, but he is then haunted by the memory of what he has done. Others believe that the song is about the harsh realities of life and the desperation that can lead to such actions. The song has also been seen as a commentary on the prison system and the way it can dehumanize people.

The Origin of the Song

Johnny Cash playing guitar

Johnny Cash first performed “I Shot a Man in Reno” in front of a live audience at Folsom State Prison in California. The performance was recorded and later released as a live album. The song became one of Cash’s most popular songs and helped to cement his reputation as a country music legend. The song has since been covered by many other artists, including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and U2.

The Legacy of the Song

Johnny Cash album cover

“I Shot a Man in Reno” has become a cultural touchstone and a symbol of Johnny Cash’s legacy. The song has been used in movies and TV shows, including “The Sopranos” and “The Walking Dead.” The song has also been referenced in numerous other songs, including “American Pie” by Don McLean and “One” by Metallica. The song remains a powerful reminder of the power of music to tell stories and connect people.

The Lyrics

Johnny Cash on guitar

The lyrics of “I Shot a Man in Reno” are as follows:

I hear the train a comin’
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 just a baby
My mama told me, “Son,
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns.”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry.

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
In a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars.
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me.

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away.

The Enduring Appeal of the Song

Johnny Cash live performance

“I Shot a Man in Reno” remains a beloved song that has touched millions of people around the world. The song’s lyrics and melody continue to resonate with listeners of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are a fan of Johnny Cash or just appreciate great music, “I Shot a Man in Reno” is a song that you won’t soon forget.

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