25 Minutes to Go
Johnny Cash Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Well they're building a gallows outside my cell
And I've got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell
I got 24 minutes to go
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal
With 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked me how I feel
I got 22 minutes to go
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch
With 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch
I've got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die
With 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye
With 18 minutes to go
Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul
With 13 minutes to go
And he's talking bout' burnin' but I'm so cold
12 more minutes to go
Well they're testin' the trap and it chills my spine
11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine
10 more minutes to go
Well I'm waitin' for the pardon that'll set me free
With 9 more minutes to go
But this ain't the movies so forget about me
8 more minutes to go
With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose
5 more minutes to go
Won't somebody come and cut me loose
7 more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the skies
With 3 more minutes to go
And it's to dern pretty for a man that don't want to die
2 more minutes to go
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows
1 more minute to go
And now I'm swingin' and here I go!

Thank you very much. I'm going to do another song here,
Featuring the harmonica, eh
And then I want to get the stool there and sit down and do some, uh
Slow ballad type songs that we wanted to do for this album
And especially for you.
What I do with my list over there. My idiot sheet




Oh, hit the floor.
How ya doing Shirley?

Overall Meaning

This song, written by Shel Silverstein, tells the story of a man who is about to be executed and has 25 minutes left to live. As the time ticks away, he reflects on his situation and interacts with various people who are involved in his execution. He begins by observing the construction of his own gallows and noting that the whole town is waiting for him to die. As he counts down the minutes, he muses on the absurdity of his last meal and the fact that no one has bothered to ask how he feels. He tries to call on various authorities to help him, but they are either unavailable or refuse to intervene. Finally, he faces his own mortality with a mix of defiance and resignation, realizing that there is no pardon coming and accepting his fate.


One interpretation of this song is that it is a commentary on the impersonal nature of the criminal justice system and the senselessness of death row. The man's impending execution seems almost like a macabre spectacle, with everyone eagerly awaiting his demise, but no one really caring about him as a person. He is reduced to a number on a clock, and even as he faces his final moments, he is treated with disdain and indifference by those in power.


Another way to understand this song is as a meditation on the human psyche in the face of death. The man is forced to confront his own mortality in the most brutally literal way possible, and as he does so, he cycles through a range of emotions, from anger and frustration to fear and despair, before ultimately arriving at a sort of ironic acceptance. Even as he realizes that he cannot escape his fate, he continues to cling to his dignity and his sense of humor, refusing to be broken by the system that seeks to destroy him.


Overall, "25 Minutes to Go" is a haunting and powerful song that speaks to some of the most fundamental themes of human existence, including justice, mortality, and our shared humanity.


Line by Line Meaning

Well they're building a gallows outside my cell
The singer is in a prison cell where they're constructing a hanging device for his execution.


And I've got 25 minutes to go
The singer has 25 minutes left to live before he will be hanged.


And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell
People from the town are gathering outside to witness the singer's execution and see his reaction.


I got 24 minutes to go
A minute has passed and the artist now has 24 minutes left to live.


Well they gave me some beans for my last meal
The artist was given beans for his last meal before being executed.


With 23 minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the singer now has 23 minutes left to live.


But nobody asked me how I feel
No one asked the singer about his feelings or thoughts on his upcoming death.


I got 22 minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 22 minutes left to live.


Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch
The artist requested to see the governor and other officials before he is executed.


With 21 minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 21 minutes left to live.


And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch
The singer requested to see the mayor, but he's not available, as he's out eating lunch.


I've got 20 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 20 minutes left to live.


Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die
The sheriff told the singer that he will witness his execution.


With 19 minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the singer now has 19 minutes left to live.


So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye
The singer laughed and spat in the sheriff's eye as a rebellion against his imposed punishment.


Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul
The preacher is visiting the artist to try and help him find redemption before his death.


With 13 minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 13 minutes left to live.


And he's talking bout' burnin' but I'm so cold
The preacher is talking about afterlife in hell, but the singer is indifferent and feeling cold.


12 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the singer now has 12 minutes left to live.


Well they're testin' the trap and it chills my spine
The hangman is testing the noose, and the artist is feeling scared and nervous.


11 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 11 minutes left to live.


And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine
The devices of the execution are performing satisfactorily.


Well I'm waitin' for the pardon that'll set me free
The singer is hoping for a last-minute pardon from the authorities.


With 9 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 9 minutes left to live.


But this ain't the movies so forget about me
The singer is acknowledging the reality of his situation and the unlikelihood of a happy ending.


8 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the singer now has 8 minutes left to live.


With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose
The singer is standing on the trap with the noose around his neck.


5 more minutes to go
Another three minutes have passed and the artist now has 5 minutes left to live.


Won't somebody come and cut me loose
The artist is begging for someone to save him and prevent his execution.


7 more minutes to go
Another two minutes have passed and the singer now has 7 minutes left to live.


I can see the mountains I can see the skies
The singer is observing the beauty of nature before he dies.


With 3 more minutes to go
Another four minutes have passed and the artist now has 3 minutes left to live.


And it's to dern pretty for a man that don't want to die
The beauty of nature is in stark contrast to the artist's situation as someone who's facing death.


2 more minutes to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has 2 minutes left to live.


I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows
The singer is hearing and seeing the birds of prey that are ready to feast on his corpse.


1 more minute to go
Another minute has passed and the artist now has only 1 minute left to live.


And now I'm swingin' and here I go!
The singer has been hanged, and his life has ended.




Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing
Written by: Shel Silverstein

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Lento Shakur

Well they're building a gallows outside my cell I've got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell I've got 24 minutes to go
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal I've got 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked me how I feel I've got 22 minutes to go
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch with 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch I've got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 minutes to go
Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul with 13 minutes to go
And he's talking bout' burnin' but I'm so cold I've 12 more minutes to go
Now they're testin' the trap and it chills my spine 11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine got 10 more minutes to go
Well I'm waitin' on the pardon that'll set me free with 9 more minutes to go
But this is for real so forget about me got 8 more minutes to go
With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose got 5 more minutes to go
Won't somebody come and cut me loose with 4 more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the skies with 3 more minutes to go
And it's to dern pretty for a man that don't want to die 2 more minutes to go
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows 1 more minute to go
And now I'm swingin' and here I go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!



All comments from YouTube:

Carlos Pinela

One of the best covers by Cash

TheBaconBlaster

Thank you Johnny Cash for posting from heaven

Chalino987_

😂🥺

Kayla Kewl Moore

they gave me some beans for my last meal

Acherontia lachesis

That's why they call it the cloud

1 More Replies...

Vinícius de Carvalho

Primeiro vídeo no meu canal foi sobre ele! Grande Johnny Cash. 👏🏻

Luisa Diez

Maravilloso!

sabine schäfer

❤️😭

Lento Shakur

Well they're building a gallows outside my cell I've got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell I've got 24 minutes to go
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal I've got 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked me how I feel I've got 22 minutes to go
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch with 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch I've got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 minutes to go
Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul with 13 minutes to go
And he's talking bout' burnin' but I'm so cold I've 12 more minutes to go
Now they're testin' the trap and it chills my spine 11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine got 10 more minutes to go
Well I'm waitin' on the pardon that'll set me free with 9 more minutes to go
But this is for real so forget about me got 8 more minutes to go
With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose got 5 more minutes to go
Won't somebody come and cut me loose with 4 more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the skies with 3 more minutes to go
And it's to dern pretty for a man that don't want to die 2 more minutes to go
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows 1 more minute to go
And now I'm swingin' and here I go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

Kenny

Legend

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