Pulling the Statues Down

In the summer of 2020 people began pulling down the statues of confederate generals. I had already been thinking of rewriting some of the old songs that had taken what seemed to me like an apologist view of history, and now I got onto it in earnest. I wanted something inclusive – something that would say “come on, we can do this together.” I wrote a few lines and started singing them with my guitar. It felt like an anthem, so I let the movement of the chords lead me. And I thought, “if the old statues come down why not put up new ones?” So that’s how the song resolves itself: out with the old, in with the new. And we do it together.

you don’t know me by name
and I don’t know you too
but we’re on the same road, my friend
we have some things to do

in summer of no return
fires lit for the fuse to burn
they killed somebody in the broad daylight
gonna take a lot of changes to make it right

pullin’ the statues down
bells a-ringin’
pullin’ the statues down
and everybody singin’

hey – will you look at that
ain’t that a beautiful sight to see

some old songs we used to sing
we don’t sing them anymore
some flags we used to fly
we don’t fly them anymore

architects of a bad design
some old worn out state of mind
best to let it go
you can’t hold on when the winds begin to blow so hard

pullin’ the statues down
bells a-ringin’
pullin’ the statues down
and everybody singin’

hey – will you look at that
ain’t that a beautiful sight to see

look – there goes Andrew Jackson
look – there goes Christopher Columbus
look – there goes Junipero Serra
look – there goes
look – there goes
look – there goes

we’ve been at war before
we know what that does
sometimes what you stand up for
ain’t what you thought it was

there’s a new day knockin’ on the old one’s door
we can’t ignore it anymore
come on out and take a look to see
the way that it’s about to be

it ain’t if you lose or win
but whose shoes you’re standing in
and I know you understand
so come on out and give me a hand

pullin’ the statues down
bells a-ringin’
pullin’ the statues down
and everybody singin’

hey – will you look at that
ain’t that a beautiful sight to see

look – here comes Harriet Tubman
look – here comes Frederick Douglass
look – here comes Geronimo

look – here comes
look – here comes
look – here comes

pullin’ the statues down
bells a-ringin’
pullin’ the statues down
and everybody singin’

hey – will you look at that
ain’t that a beautiful sight to see

words and music © Jim Page
Whid-Isle Music, BMI
all rights reserved