Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Song Meaning: Back in the Saddle Again by Aerosmith

ARTIST: Aerosmith | ALBUM: Rocks | RELEASED: 1977
Song Meaning: Back in the Saddle Again by Aerosmith
"Back in the Saddle Again" is highpoint of Rocks
Along with "Walk This Way" and "Dream On," this is one of my favorite Aerosmith songs. In fact, this is a must-have-listened-to type of a song  for rock n' roll fans. "Back in the Saddle" is the first track of the bands fourth album, Rocks, which showcases some of Aerosmith's best hard rock music. 

"Back in the Saddle" is the result of a perfect combination of blues, rock n' roll, and hard rock genres. Lead guitarist, Joe Perry, plays a six string bass instead of his usual Les Paul in coming up with a deep riff that's consists of some rough backbeat. Steve Tyler's vocals range from high-pitched distorted soprano to the base range, that nicely coincide with Perry's base. In short, this is PERFECT rock n' roll song.

As for the meaning of the lyrics, I believe it's about a cowboy getting back to his old ways of going about doing things. So 'back in the saddle' has to be interpreted both literally and figuratively. There are some obvious clues and references in the lyrics that suggest that this too is a typical rock n' roll song that deals with themes like sex, drugs and rock n' roll itself.

Song Meaning: Back in the Saddle Again by Aerosmith
Back in the saddle:
doing something you stopped doing for a period of time -  Friedman's career seemed to be finished a month ago, but he's back in the saddle and playing for Houston.
-From TheFreeDictionary

Analysis of lyrics:

Ridin' into town alone / By the light of the moon6,7 - this is a cowboy way of saying going out for clubbing tonight :-)

I'm looking for ole' Sukie Jones8 - "Sukie Jones", according to http://www.rockthisway.de/cool_info.htm, is "a groupie that followed Aerosmith along with other bands in the 1970's." So the cowboy is coming to town at night in search of some fun with old Sukie.

She crazy horse saloon9 - Crazy horse saloon is generally a nightclub, but some may vary from others. For instance, Wikipedia article on this says its a place known for nude female dancers. On the other hand, CrazyHorseSaloon.net is a Country Western bar where lives bands perform. But, since this is an Aerosmith song, former is more suitable.

Barkeep gimme a drink10 - "Barkeep" means a person who owns or operates a bar, but in this case, he owns the crazy horse saloon.

Alright 'til the rising sun21 - the cowboy's spending the whole night at the crazy horse saloon. 

I'm calling all the shots tonight22 - does this mean the cowboy is also the sheriff of the town? Or, the sheriff is gone and so he's free to do whatever he wants.

Peelin' off my boots and chaps24 - literal meaning is he's taking is  boots and chaps off, but figuratively, this means he's pulling his pants down - or thinking of doing it.

Four bits gets you time in the racks / I scream for more26,27 - "bits" can be interpreted as a form of money, so you could think this as four dollars. So this line means you can hookup with ladies at crazy horse saloon for four dollars for limited time ( hour, perhaps ). But cowboy "screams" that an hour isn't enough.

Fools' gold out of their mines29 - this is a nice line. What this line means is that everybody at the bar is reaching for their pockets for find some "fools' gold," meaning they are essentially trying to buy the groupies for free. Keep in mind that the song is taking place in the Wild West, so there were other means of doing business transactions, for instance with the exchange of gold, besides the use of money that we know today

The girls are soaking wet30 - the groupies are horney

No tongue's drier than mine31 - everybody's getting horney. Wet tongue could also mean getting drunk, but that's not what this line is saying.

To sum up the story in the song, in short, a cowboy ( Steven Tyler, perhaps ) goes to a bar at night in Wild West.6,7 He's looking for a familiar groupie8 and finds her11 dancing/stripping on the dance floor with many others just like her. He gets really drunk,10 and gets horney.31 He wants to 'buy' the groupie that he's familiar with for the whole night,26,27 but others are competing with him to do the same.29

"Back in the Saddle" has influenced many hard rock and heavy metal musicians like Axl Rose, Slash, and James Hetfield. In fact, in my opinion, this is one of Aerosmith's most underrated songs - it deserves way more praise than what it's given by rock n' roll critics.

That's my analysis of the lyrics. Let me know if you find this interesting in comments section below.



  1. I'm back
  2. I'm back in the saddle again
  3. I'm back
  4. I'm back in the saddle again

  5. Ridin' into town alone
  6. By the light of the moon
  7. I'm looking for ole' Sukie Jones
  8. She crazy horse saloon
  9. Barkeep gimme a drink
  10. That's when she caught my eye
  11. She turned to give me a wink
  12. That'd make a grown man cry

  13. I'm back in the saddle again
  14. I'm back
  15. I'm back in the saddle again
  16. I'm back

  17. Umm...come easy, go easy
  18. Alright 'til the rising sun
  19. I'm calling all the shots tonight
  20. I'm like a loaded gun
  21. Peelin' off my boots and chaps
  22. I'm saddle sore
  23. Four bits gets you time in the racks
  24. I scream for more

  25. Fools' gold out of their mines
  26. The girls are soaking wet
  27. No tongue's drier than mine
  28. I'll come when I get back

  29. I'm back in the saddle again
  30. I'm back
  31. I'm back in the saddle again
  32. I'm riding, I'm loading up my pistol
  33. I'm riding, I really got a fistful
  34. I'm riding, I'm shining up my saddle
  35. I'm riding, this snake is gonna rattle

  36. I'm back in the saddle again
  37. I'm back
  38. I'm back in the saddle again
  39. I'm back

  40. Ridin' high
  41. Ridin' high
  42. Ridin' high already

Lyrics from: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/aerosmith/backinthesaddle.html

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