• Matthews wrote this when he was starting to become famous. Along with his fame came other people's greed. Many people were grabbing for as much money as they could get, and forgot about the real meaning of the music. For example, the band's former manager, Ross Hoffman, owned the rights to some of their early songs and sued the group for a share of the profits. The song shows how Dave was saddened by the situation, as he considered Hoffman a close friend and mentor. Key lines include, "All at once the ghosts come back," and, "Remember when I used to play for all of the loneliness that nobody notices now." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tommy - Southboro, MA
  • This song got its title because it was the 41st song they wrote. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Charlottesville, VA
  • Dave elaborated on the song's meaning in an interview with Rolling Stone: "I was thinking about where I come from, and why I wrote songs and what was my inspiration... and how I was now in this situation where those things that I'd done, I so loved, had now suddenly become a source of incredible pain for me. Suddenly there's all this money and people pulling, asking, 'Where's mine?' The wild dogs come out. The innocence of just wanting to make music was kinda overshadowed by the dark things that come along with money and success ... So it's a song about looking back, but at the same time, a song that's still adamantly looking forward and going, 'But I'm still going to carry on, regardless."
  • The band first performed an early version of this at Duke University's Cameron Indoor Stadium in 1995, calling it "41 Police" because they thought it sounded similar to the Police tune "Bring on the Night."
  • During a New Year's Eve gig in 1996, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones performed this with DMB, interpolating their own tune "Sojourn of Arjuna," a tradition that continued any time the groups played together.
  • On many of the tracks on Crash, including this one, producer Steve Lillywhite plugged Matthews' and Tim Reynolds' acoustic guitars into electric amps to achieve a sleazy vibe. "I didn't want to use electrics yet," Lillywhite told Relix. "There we so many bands playing electric guitars that were like a chainsaw throughout the whole sound, like a buzzsaw. And I thought the intricacies of Dave and Tim's guitar playing were so cool, that it would cheapen it, slightly, if on electric. We amped up the electric guitars. It gives the sound a whole different sort of sleaziness almost. Everything on this album is bigger than on the first album."

Comments: 28

  • Billy from West Virginia Anyone ever heard the San Francisco bootleg? At the end of the song the bootlegger says "whoa!" I'd love to hear that version again.
  • Greg from Toronto, OnMy favorite DMB song by far!! Anyone who likes this song should definitely watch this opera singer covering it on piano/vocals, it's quite inspiring:
  • Bill from Pitsburgh, PaHe wrote #34 first...but probably decided not to use it on the albums for personal reasons. maybe it didnt fit in or he didnt like it. for whatever reason he liked this song better
  • Christa from Oaklyn, NjI've been a fan for about 10 years now. I love all of their music, and all I really wanted to comment on today is how much I'm going to miss LeRoi
  • Ryan from Littleton, CoIt's about a fall-out Dave had with a buisness / financial advisor / manager.
  • Jackie from Kitchener, OnThe song numbers are out of order on the albums b/c they were all originally written when the band was still in their early stages in Charlottesville, VA. I guess they just chose to use them on their albums at different times.
  • Jared from League City, TxI meant to type 2, not 5.
  • Jared from League City, TxWhat confuses me about the name is if it's the 41st song he wrote, how come #34 (which I assume is the 34th song he wrote) is on an album that was released 5 years before it? Did Dave write # 41 earlier?
  • Matt from E. Hanover, NjI understand that this song is about fame and how money is so detremental to the music buisness. Bands are selling out and it isn't about the music anymore, the way it used to be. I'm a huge Dave fan and this is by far my favorite song. However, there are a few lines that I never understand, such as when he randomly says "I will bring water" and "Why won't you run into the rain and play and let my tears splash all over you."
    Definetly one of Dave's deepest songs, and my personal favorite.
  • Sarah from Williamburg, VaThough I agree with the idea that sond lyrics should always be open to interpretation, after some research I did find that Dave commented on # 41 in Rolling Stone, saying: ?I was thinking about where I come from, and why I wrote songs and what was my inspiration... and how I was now in this situation where those things that I?d done, I so loved, had now suddenly become a source of incredible pain for me. Suddenly there?s all this money and people pulling, asking, ?Where?s mine?? The wild dogs come out. The innocence of just wanting to make music was kinda overshadowed by the dark things that come along with money and success...So it?s a song about looking back, but at the same time, a song that?s still adamantly looking forward and going, ?But I?m still going to carry on, regardless.? ? (Flume, Internet) (Colapinto, p. 57)
  • Sean from Wichester, MaLove this song, its lyrics and music are both complimentary of eachother. I can see how the song can be about what brad said, but where did you find your information?
  • Doug from Huntington Beach, CaI take this one to be about his sister. Dave lost his sister tragically, early on. You can see that he dedicated his "Under the Table and Dreaming" Album to her - Anne. I think he's hoping that she can still see him, visit him, dance & play.

    "I swear by now I'm playing time" - Racing time
    "I'm coming slow but speeding" - See her soon
    "All at once the ghosts come back Reeling in you now" - She's there with him while he's writing
    "Only waiting I wanted to stay, I wanted to play, I wanted to love you" - wished she hadn't left
    "I came in praying for you" - hoping she would make it

  • Tommy from El Paso, TxI interpret this song as having a friend that you would have done anything for and finding that "friend" was never really a friend.
  • Ryan from St. Albans, VtI enjoy this song a lot mostly for it's lyrics. The reason I like dave's music so much is because he agrees that no matter what he writes a song about, he expects people to inturpret the lyrics in their own way. Music is especially good if lyrics can be inturpreted in different ways for different people, which is the how #41 is along with just about any other song Dave has written.
  • Mackenzie from Blessington, CanadaI love this song and I love playing it. Being 16 a lot of my friends don;t get it but dave has some of the most facinating lyrics I have ever read. It's a wonder how he can come up with so many unbelievable lyrics time and time again....i don;t know but i love it!!
  • Spencer from Lexington, ScTo Luis, DMB uses a lot of religous references in his songs.

    My favorite line in #41 is:

    "Why won't you ever be glad"

    It just speaks to the people you are constantly seeking things are unhappy about this fact: They never are satisfied.
  • Luis from Miami, FlOne of the most amazing songs I've ever heard. I agree it's very vague with multiple possible interpretations... none being more "correct" than another... been trying to find its meaning - for myself. One more (maybe far-fetched) possibility - Matthews will probably laugh - at one point one of Jesus' followers asks him, "...where do you stay..." he answers, "Come and see..." If it doesn't sound too crazy, re-read the lyrics. Notice "I won't ask you to stay..." "I will bring water" "I came in praying for you"
  • Gabe from New York, Ny#41 was origianlly called "#41 Police" because it reminded the band of a Police song. This song can be found quoted in EVERY yearbook, ever published.

    "I will go in this way, but I will find my own way out".
  • Steven from Chapel Hill, NcWow, maybe this song is a great example of how art is meant to be interpreted differently by everyone. There doesn't have to be a "correct" meaning for every song or poem or piece of artwork. A song can have different meaning and inspiration for every person who listens to it. Maybe Dave, being a virtuosic songwriter/musician, wrote this song to illustrate this point. All I'm saying is, don't dismiss someone elses interpretation of a song just because it's different from yours. When it comes to music, there's no wrong and right, there's just passion.
  • John from Cleveland, TnLia,
    It was on the live at luther college cd that Dave said it was the 41st song they wrote. Also, you'll notice songs with other "number" titles, like how there is no titles for the Led Zep. cds, just numbers. Kinda makes ya think about all the songs and how MANY they have written. And while some think this song is about a break up, I think it's about a couple getting back together, telling all the bad things from there last time together.
  • Chris from San Diego, CaAWESOME song. it is great on the Dave and Tim live at luther college.
  • Stephanie from New York, NyI kind of felt that this song was about a break up of some sort. I felt like it was about a person who broke up with their partner and watched his or her partner suffer, and felt the sane way. But, for whatever reason this was what they needed at the time. And I think when dave says "I wuoldn't let this pass by," it's the person reassuring the partner that they still love him or her, but they need to figure some stuff out. That's just my take on it.
  • Jeremy from Clay, Nythe album that he says its his 41st song they wrote was on Dave and Tim renyolds live at luther college.
  • Kate from San Diego, United Statesyeh ive heard that the song was about fincial probs with someone

    but it seems like its about depression or a self destructive life "i will go in this way and find my own way out"
    its like the person doesnt care theyre being self destructive and doesnt want others help

    "why wont you ever be glad" its like dave doesnt understnad what the person is so sad

    come down the ghosts come back
    Reeling in you now"
    to me that reads like you cant escape the bad things in life, the ghosts dont go away
  • Izzie from Lala, Hii like this song but it's very hard to understand. oh well artists minds work in mysterious ways.
  • Shannon from Iowa City, IaIt can be interpreted in many different ways... its the best song ever written however no one knows what dave was really trying to say or what influenced him... i guess we will never know
  • Lia from Miami, FlOn one of the live albums Dave says that it was also the 41st song they wrote.
  • Brad from Boston, MaThats not completely accurate. Its primarily about his mentor, Ross Hoffman, who sued Dave once the band started getting big. Hoffman felt he was entitled to some of the money the band was earning since he been a mentor to and supported/influenced Dave during his early songwriting
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