So ... she's coming ... we're all really excited about it ... can't we just leave it at that? Please?
Just imagine this, but with six white horses instead of a few diseased donkeys.
What It Actually Means:
Everybody is going to die. Like, tomorrow.
Some theories argue that the song is exactly what it sounds like: celebrating the arrival of a supply train. Others believe it's a metaphor for Mary Harris "Mother" Jones organizing coal miner labor unions. But the real origin is even darker: "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" is actually based on a slave-era spiritual called "When the Chariot Comes." The two songs share the same melody, structure and even some lyrics -- the iconic "when she comes" chant is present in both versions.
Notably different, though, are original lyrics like "King Jesus, he'll be driver when she comes" and "She'll be loaded with bright angels when she comes." "When the Chariot Comes" and, by extension, "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain," are both songs about the Rapture -- the day when Jesus comes back to earth to play favorites. "She" actually refers to the chariot he'll be riding down to bring about the End of Days. You know, like how we give boats and cars feminine properties -- this is the same thing, just for Christ's big ol' Rapturous Red Flyer.
If you're going to end all life on earth, you might as well do it in style.
So there you have it: That merry old-timey prospector song your kids are singing out in the yard is actually rejoicing about the imminent death of all humanity. Why don't you go outside and explain that to them? Maybe the kids will be so taken with your mastery of trivia that they'll stop calling you "Becky's Weirdo Downer Dad."
You can read more of John's work at his website.
For more meanings in music that you're probably unaware of, check out 6 Famous Songs That Don't Mean What You Think. Or learn about 5 Famous Hidden Song Meanings (That Are Total B.S.).
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Museum-Worthy Finds That People Ate Instead.
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