Thursday, April 19, 2012


"Wooden Ships" was written at the height of the Vietnam War, a time of great tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, nuclear-armed rivals in the Cold War.

Like Tom Lehrer's "We Will All Go Together When We Go" and Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," the song seems to deal with ever-present fears of an apocalyptic nuclear war.In this interpretation, the words of the song depict the horrors confronting the survivors of a nuclear holocaust in which the two sides have annihilated each other. A man from one side stumbles upon a man (or woman, as in Jefferson Airplane's version) from the other side and asks him/her, "Can you tell me, please, who won?" Since the question has no real meaning in the circumstances (or even at all), it is left unanswered. To stay alive, they share purple berries that have presumably not been poisoned by radiation. The lyrics beg "silver people on the shoreline" to "let us be"; these are commonly to be men wearing radiation suits. As wooden ships are carrying the survivors away, radiation poisoning kills those who have not made it aboard

Wooden Ships Words by Paul Kantner and Stephen Stills Music By David Crosby

If you smile at me you know I will understand
Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language
I can see by your coat my friend that you're from the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please who won
You must try some of my purple berries
I been eating them for six or seven weeks now
Haven't got sick once
Probably keep us both alive
Wooden ships on the water very free and easy
Easy you know the way it's supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free and easy
Sail away where the mornin sun goes high
Sail away where the wind blows sweet and young birds fly
Take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this barren land
Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cry and
Stare as all you human feelings die
We are leaving
You don't need us
Go and take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this foreign land
Somewhere where we might laugh again
We are leaving

Go ride the music


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