Friday, December 23, 2022

Song of the Day: '500 Miles' by Rosanne Cash

Although it's not officially about Christmas, no song makes me more homesick around the holidays than "500 Miles." That people aren't even positive who wrote it -- it's generally credited to Hedy West -- only adds to the lore. When Rosanne Cash included it on her 2009 album, "The List," I sent my mom a copy autographed by Rose for Christmas, with a note saying that the song always made me think of her (Mom). That she later said she "didn't get" the connection -- for the uninitiated the lyrics include this passage: Teardrops fell on Momma’s note/When I read the things she wrote/She said "we miss you hon,' we love you ... come on home" -- solidified my status as an unrequited Mama's Boy. But I love the song and my mother all the same. 

Bobby Bare, of "Sylvia's Mother" fame, had the biggest hit with it. Peter, Paul and Mary and Joan Baez also did nice versions.


  1. Oddly, or not, the lyric you pulled from the song, and the way Cash sings it, always tugs at me.

  2. There seems to be two distinct versions of this song, not uncommon for folk songs; this one and and one that is subtitled Railroaders Lament.This has the prodigal son and the other just seems to be about being stuck in life.

    Capt. Pedantic


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