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No Leaf Clover

by

Metallica



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Written by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, this song describes coming close to solving a problem or finding a solution, but then all you get is more problems: "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel, was just a freight train coming your way." The solution being the soothing light and the freight train being more problems. (thanks, Patrick - Anna Paulowna, Netherlands)
The title is a play on "Four Leaf Clover," which if found is supposed to bring good luck. A "No Leaf Clover" would bring the opposite. The lyrics describe an unexpected change from good luck to bad. (thanks, Anthony - Wichita, KS)
The San Francisco Symphony played on this with Metallica. The album is a collection of songs taken from 2 concerts they played together. The song was written especially for the S&M concert, but the band adapted it for other concerts by played a pre-recorded intro. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
This and another song called "-Human" were the only 2 previously unreleased songs played for the S&M live concert/album. Both songs were outtakes from the Load/Reload sessions. (thanks, Nick - Paramus, NJ)
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Comments (49):

...never completing thoughts at first...and I could either choose to stay where I am, with my level of knowledge/expertise/etc. that I've accumulated in life, or continue the struggle:

"Don't it feel right like this...All the pieces fall to his wish" - Things feel right, I've made it past my difficulties, and could sit back and comfortably deal with things, to the level that I've already experienced them. Example, now I know how to do TPS reports, so that being my job (that I can do exceedingly well), I'm set for the rest of my life.

"Sucker for that quick reward" - continuing on the last part, feeling that this is the end of your struggle, that you've overcome, and that the end in sight that you see is all that you've been working for.
- Sebastian, Boulder, CO
p.s. I am not, and have never been, a C.U. Boulder student - this probably won't make sense to most people, but will keep others from completely disregarding my post.
- Sebastian, Boulder, CO
The song can mean many different things to many different people - that's how music works. Until I see Metallica correcting people about the meaning (anywhere), I won't think anything differently about this one.

For me (haven't seen this one yet, at least to this degree), the song is an abrupt awakening or realization. As I was approaching the end of the most agonizingly difficult period of my life, I began feeling a building sense of relief and accomplishment. Now having completed that period, I'm seeing that the largest of my troubles haven't even begun, and that I'm far from being prepared for what's to come. Life and the world are full of compounding struggles and difficulties, and to merely give up or think you've won after passing a milestone, is exactly that, giving up. There's a freight train headed your way, so for the sake of us all, please keep your head up.
- Sebastian, Boulder, CO
One of Metallica's more powerful tunes. Dark fatalism isn't really my thing though and probably over simplistic as well. Very to the point though!
- Shawn, Green Bay, WI
to answer marc,from spring valley, MN, his question was who was the drummer that died in germany. the answer is:Cliff Burton died in germany but he was not the drummer of metallica he was the bassist of metallica. he died in a car accident while riding in metallica's tour bus
- Taylor, Madison, OH
Who has the drummer for Metallica that died in Germany?
- Marc, Spring Vally, MN
My friend has an exeremely disturbed mind, so he thought instantly of sex... Soothing light at the end of tunnel as in pleasure in her.. Well you guessed it
- Alex, Spokane, WA
my favorite song by metallica!
- Ashley, Panama City, FL
a comment on how this song is about good luck turning bad... this song could be about how cliff died. Good luck (Cliff being alive) then bad luck (him dying). And "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel Was just a freight train coming your way", could be how during the accident Cliff thought he would be ok, but then seeing his life coming to an end, and all the other lyrics to this song seemed to fit in pretty well...
- ben, how am i suppose to know, UT
This is one of the greatest Metallica songs of all time, It's a massive shame that there has never been a studio version of this song made.
- Daniel Newton, Belper, United Kingdom
i don't know if someone wrote this or not .. the replys are alot , so i have a theory that this song show a war ..
at the slow music at first , it shows the soldiers backing up their wepons and getting ready for the war ..
sir=the leader
boy=soldier
then they don't like that all the innocents died for the president" Don't it feel right like this
All the pieces fall to his wish
Sucker for that quick reward... boy
Sucker for that quick reward they said "
..
they saw a light and they thought that it's the way out from this war but it was the enemy which they will die fighting him because just the boss want that ..
" then it comes to be ,, then it comes to be ,, then it comes to be ,, then it comes to be ,, then it comes to be ,, then it comes to be ,, ' representing the soldiers died in the battle who didn't finish the statment ..
..
..
i know u all know that and thousands before me wrote that .. but i really liked this song which the guitar is crying in it and says " noooo "
- shrife, cairo, Egypt
The bottom line in this song is bad luck, when James says that even the spot of light you're seeing on the distance is not your salvation. He could have described it as fire or as emptiness, but no, to bring the impact from the root: it is a freight train, you idiot! So even your death is not sentimental, it is greasy, black and smoky!
- Ahmed, Cairo, Egypt
This song is about the safe and proper use of a good broad leaf herbacide.
- Chad, Grasse, France
This is prob. the best song they do on the S&M concert. Thats just my opinion though.
Im going to learn to play it this mounth.
- Jim, Burnet, TX
For me, the song must be told from the point of view from someone who's used to failure and finally feels like he's onto something good. If you dont view it from that point of view, it's just a wickedly awesome song. If I can't find a clear meaning, I try to make up an educated one. Yes, it's pretty basic with the "unexpected change from good luck to bad luck" meaning, but I'm gonna dig deeper. And so here it goes, and so the story begins: AND IT FEELS RIGHT THIS TIME/ON HIS CRASH COURSE WITH THE BIG TIME/PAY NO MIND TO THE DISTANT THUNDER/NEW DAYS FILL HIS HEAD WITH WONDER, BOY...Like I said, he feels like things are going to go good, he's on his way to an inevitable break in the "big time". The far off sound of thunder- generally associated (for me, at least) with a destructive storm coming- does not matter to him. His "new days" are coming, and he looks with hope, with "wonder". Next line: SAYS IT FEELS RIGHT THIS TIME/TURNED IT 'ROUND AND FOUND THE RIGHT LINE/GOOD DAY TO BE ALIVE, SIR/GOOD DAY TO BE ALIVE HE SAYS...reiterating that something good's gonna happen. Life's gonna turn around and get put on the right track. He finally feels like its a good time to be alive and smooth sailing for his life. But then, what happens? Well: THEN IT COMES TO BE/THAT SOOTHING LIGHT/AT THE END OF YOUR TUNNEL/WAS JUST A FREIGHT TRAIN COMING YOUR WAY, YEA..whatever it was that was go to be that great "thing" in his life is nothing more than another crappy experience for him. You see what you want that invokes a feeling of safety (soothing light) but it turns out to be a tragedy about to befall you (freight train about to run you over). Next: DON'T IT FEEL RIGHT LIKE THIS?/ALL THE PIECES FALL TO HIS WISH/SUCKER FOR THAT QUICK REWARD, BOY/SUCKER FOR THAT QUICK REWARD THEY SAY....alright, he felt like it was right the way things were starting to go. Everything seemed to be going the way he wanted. But (there's always a but) he was going too fast (sucker for that quick reward) and it all came down on him. He wasn't patient enough to wait, and he rushed into things without thinking it through, and that was his downfall. The rest of the song is a repetition of the chorus (THEN IT COMES TO BE/THAT SOOTHING LIGHT/AT THE END OF YOUR TUNNEL/WAS JUST A FREIGHT TRAIN COMING YOUR WAY, YEA). This is driving the point home that yeah, you were about to have a good time and everything was about to work out, but nothing works out the way you want it to and thus everything good that happens is a tragedy in disguise.
- justin, Ft. Luaderdale, FL
my interpretation of the meaning of 'soothing light at the end of your tunnel' is that its when you look foward to the future and think that everything will be great and then it turns out that the soothing light was actually a freight trains light. In other words something unpredictable suddenly goes horribly wrong and your in a panic. I love this amaizing song and think that its very well written. The lyrics sum up life.
- Joshua, London, England
OKay, just to give some sense to you people,The songs is about a king or a rich person having good luck and lots of money, and all of a sudden, stuff starts going wrong and he loses it all. In the song freight train coming your way is NOT about death or dying peacefully, or WHATEVER! The whole light/freight train statement represents luck suddenly changing for the worse, the light represents the person being wealthy and having a good life and the train represents it all ending suddenly.

P.S.-The song could still be remotely a tribute to Cliff. Accidents are never expected, and, in this case, metallica almost experienced the true meaning as they could have called it quits when cliff was killed, but they hired jason newstead, and their careers continued on.
- -_-Richard-_-, Yorkton, Canada
The BEST Metallica song.
- Jon, Oakridge, OR
Cliff didn't write this, nothing was ripped off of David Lee Roth (I checked the lyrics for the Skyscraper album), the "...soothing light at the end of your tunnel..." is *most widely interpreted as* meaning that what you thought was good and safe wasn't, and Metallica haven't been metal since '89
- D, Edmonton
I swear people on hear just go "Oh I think it means...." And post as a fact.
ex
the line "when it comes to be and you see the light at the end of your tunnel, its just a freight train coming your way..." is about a person thinking that they are dead, and going to eternal happiness, but really they are about to be violently killed
- Dan, Santa Clarita, CA
wtf?
- Teresa, Benicia, CA
the song is about overcoming fear...or an obstacle...finally dealing with the monster.
- paul, toronto, Canada
People...please check your facts before you post...some of these comments aren't even close to the truth:
Cliff Burton had no part in the writing this song. He passed away 9/27/1986. (But I'm sure he would be proud of it!)
It was written by Hetfield and Ulrich. It was not originally called "Mouldy" either...that was the original title of what became "Hero of the Day".
And No the song isn't "only" played with the orchresta...I saw them in St. Petersburgh, Florida and played it without the orchestra...quite well I might add. Cheers!
- Andy, orlando, FL
i really like the chorus, it kinda reminds me of cliff burton, may himn forever shred in rock heaven.
- james, raytown, MO
This song was most probably co-written by Burton,Hetfield and Ulrich. It is best known for its S&M version, when Metallica performed live with an orchestra headed by renowned composer Michael Kamen.
- Rahul, Ottawa, Canada
This song is probably my favorite. Other than all of their classics, but live, James' voice is unbelievable. Listen to the second chorus. When he's singing it the second time ...."was just a freight train coming your wayeaaa BOOM!" And it gets so deep and so rich, I don't understand how some people can't not notice how sexy he sounds!
- Lindsay, MB, Canada
to: selene, Albany, NY. I have the dvd for S&M, James Hetfield stated that the song was sitting around for a couple of years, and it wasn't intended for the orchestra, but he felt it was best suited. I agree.
- Lindsay, MB, Canada
This has been played live with the orchestra 4 times. Twice in SF when they recorded S&M, and then in Berlin Velodrom & MSG, NYC, on the promo tour in November 1999.
They used the S&M intro tape to the song when playing live in 2004. Was played quite a few times between June & Nov 04.
- Cads, London, England
think about the recording process and how much time and effort it took to create a cd and people just steal it. like if you have a job and you get your first paycheck and its like $300 and you worked your ass off for it and someone steals it. i think downloading music for free is more "un-metal" then using a few lyrics from someone who rather wanted to be an actor, not a rockstar,(david lee roth) so dont be a little whiner "caveman"
- Josh, Sandy, UT
P.S. about david lee roth, yankee rose and shyboy are the only good songs that he made out of van halen, and i only like those cause steve vai is amazing at guitar. if you would like to prove me wrong please tell me songs better than those 2.
- Josh, Sandy, UT
"The lyrics about the light at the end of the tunnel being the front of an oncoming train are STOLEN. Diamond David Lee Roth uses those lyrics on his 1988 album Skyscraper. I believe the name of the tune is "Perfect Timing". You will get sued by Metallica if you download their tunes but it's okay for them to steal lyrics from other musicians...so unmetal.
- Caveman, New Canaan, CT"

dude, you're out of line. i read the lyrics of "perfect timing" and it's very different from no leaf clover, even those lines you mentioned.
- joseph, Marikina, Other
When first time I listened to No Leaf Clover and -Human, I said; "It seems the next album will contain such great songs; proportional to Load Bros. and musical maturity of guys". Yeah, the song is absolutely great, but I guess I was wrong about my prediction related with the next album :)
- Serkan, Ankara, Turkey
Yo caveman, you should really read the booklet from the album: "garage inc." There Metallica explains why they (sometimes) have to cover and why it isn't necessarily wrong!
- pieter, kampen
The lyrics about the light at the end of the tunnel being the front of an oncoming train are STOLEN. Diamond David Lee Roth uses those lyrics on his 1988 album Skyscraper. I believe the name of the tune is "Perfect Timing". You will get sued by Metallica if you download their tunes but it's okay for them to steal lyrics from other musicians...so unmetal.
- Caveman, New Canaan, CT
the line "when it comes to be and you see the light at the end of your tunnel, its just a freight train coming your way..." is about a person thinking that they are dead, and going to eternal happiness, but really they are about to be violently killed
- Dan, Santa Clarita, CA
No Leaf Clover is available with no Orchestral backup on the "No Leaf Clover" 3 CD single set. Metallica also continues to play this song live on tour, with the beginning kettle drum piece played as a recording. personally, I prefer the band-only version.
- Eric, Zeeland, MI
This song was originally called "Mouldy" because it had been around for so long without being completed. Also, Metallica have played it live a couple of times, they even played it at a gig I was at in Dublin, Ireland. I think they use a tape of the orchastra or else Kirk plays some of the orchestral parts, I'm not sure.
- Conor, Wexford, Ireland
I think this song is one of the better metallica songs along with Fade To Black and Turn The Page (i know they didnt write TTP, i dont care, its still an awsome song)
- Kevin, Portland, OR
K. All you people with your facts cannot say that your true honist Metallica fans. The people who talk about the lyrics I like, but the ones who say these silly comments about Metallica make me sick. Honistly. Look it up if your guessing. Double check to make sure what your writing. Peace
- Tav, Cheltenham, England
Selene this song is only played with the orchestra
- evileye_8@msn.com, Perth, Australia
Does anyone know if the song "No Leaf Clover" was written just to be played with the San Francisco Symphony? Or can u get the song with just metallica playing it? because i love the song but the only time I've ever herd it, it was with the San Francisco Symphony.
If you know the anwser please reply.
- selene, Albany, NY
As far as lyrics about the light at the end of the tunnel being a freight train, I remember Arsenio Hall said something similar when doing standup.
- Paulo, India, United States
the song is about bad luck fullstop. "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel was just a freight train coming your way." means this, the tunnel is ur life, dark, dull, depressing and all u can do walk down it, the light is hope but then 2 find it's not it's just another nail in ur coffin. nothin is goin rite and when u think theres an end 2 it all it's just more bad luck. ty
- Michael, Bakewell, England
"Then it comes to be that the soothing light
at the end of your tunnel
was just a freight train coming your way."

That reminds me of a Murphy ("Murphy's Law") quote:
"The light at the end of the Tunnel...
... is allways the headlamp of an oncoming train."
- George, Hanover, Germany
Cliff Burton died on the 27 of September, 1986.
- Tommi, Melbourne, Australia
cut it short, probably the most powerful song eva done by metallica (ive got al the albums n heard em all through numerous occasions) so its jus my opinion. oh n cliff died in 1986 in sweden i think
- Danny, Liverpool, England
The light at the end of the tunnel means things are about to get better.
- Lacy, Yukon, OK
it is about bad luck.....supposedly you see a tunnel with a bright light when you die.....The song says that the bright light is just a "freight train coming your way"....very well written lyrics.
- Chris, Stockdale, PA
Plus, on the S&M DVD, James mentions that No Leaf Clover and -Human are songs that were "sitting around on tape for about 2 years". This was in 1999, making the origins of the song nearer 1997 or '96. Cliff died in '85/'86. (I forget the exact year)
- Jay, Reading, England
If Cliff B. wrote it, how come his name isn't in the album credits for writing this song?
- Nick, Paramus, NJ
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