Cemetery Gates

Album: Cowboys From Hell (1990)


  • The guitar solo ranked 35 in Guitar World's 100 greatest solos of all time. Said Dimebag Darrell: "I got home with a pretty good buzz on, picked up my axe, turned on the four-track, cranked it loud as hell with the loose buzz theory that anything and everything goes, and just played it, I played three solos back-to-back, didn't bother listening to them, crashed out not so happy. The next morning I woke up thinking I had a lot of work to do. I almost started from scratch but then I decided to slow down and listen. So I fired up the four-track, put my ears on and bam! Lo and behold, there it was! The first lead I played the night before was it for sure. Hey man, the second and third weren't bad, but the first had that first-take magic! I didn't touch it." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kevin - Sandy, UT
  • The song was the longest Pantera ever recorded, clocking in at 7:03.
  • The lyrics lament the death of a female lover and the narrator reflects on rejoining her in the afterlife. Regarding the lyrical inspiration, Phil Anselmo told Music Photocalypse: "There was a friend who had died in New Orleans and it had a real heavy impact within my group of friends."
  • On their 1986 album The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths have a completely different song called "Cemetry Gates." You wouldn't guess, but The Smiths are one of Phil Anselmo's favorites. "I adore them," he said in his Songfacts interview. "Tongue-in-cheek humor, dark humor. Excellent musicianship, excellent songs."
  • The video combines live footage of the band performing at the Dallas club The Basement with scenes shot at a Los Angeles cemetery. "It's basically about dying and about transitioning over," Rachman told Songfacts. "I liked the imagery of a cemetery and the story of a young kid."

    Rachman also did the Pantera videos for "Cowboys From Hell" and "Psycho Holiday," using that same performance at The Basement.

Comments: 30

  • Dustin White from Cedar RapidsFirst of all, I absolutely love this song. In my opinion, this about him losing his soulmate that he took for granted and let pride get in the way. He let pride get in the way during their relationship, after her passing and then it was too late and he lost years do to the pain inside.
  • Nehemiah from IsraelFor a while I had thought that it was about an old man (from the old man's perspective) who regretted his life choices and was afraid to die
  • Sean from Ft Wayne, InI honestly thought it was about religion and how the priests were stealing the youths of little boys (yes in that bad way). The song came out right as the whole catholic church started coming under scrutiny for what was going on for, who knows how long. I saw the song written by an innocent child, who grew older and knew he did nothing wrong and will unlock his door to heaven! The "she" part in the song I took as "joy" as being a child!
  • Billy from Boonville, NyI think dimebag was thinking a lot about religion and his mother passing away. I can relate to this song very much . He talks a lot about losing someone and "believe the word" shows he may have lost faith in a religious figure at sometime in his life. very very deep track, pantera tells it like it is . R.I.P. dimebag .
  • Shanna from Si, Nywhen i listened to cemetary gates for the first time it seemed to me like he was talking about his mother dieing. It seemed like his mom wasent always there for him and he kept these feelings of resentment towards her built up inside of him. he seemed to blame her for things going wrong in his life. when she died he didnt cry because he was still angry with her. i guess as months passed he realized he missed her. maybe she wasent that bad after all. he realized he was responsible for the bad choices he made in life and he was responsible for his own happiness. he misses her and loves her - enough to write the song.
  • Nick from Cairns, AustraliaActually, cut that phil sounds more like judas priest there at 6:14 but yea u get the idea. And jeremy, as far as i'm concerned, they just post a youtube video of anything to do with the song when they have the songfact for it. Whether its another band covering the song, some random guy doing a guitar cover or just the music video for the song. I don't really care, i'm just in it for the songfacts and songs of course. Also alissa, thats strange..in a good way :)
  • Jeremy from Warren, RiDream theatre is awesome but this isnt there song, why are they playing the video? C,mon song facts!
  • Alissa from Bat Country, MeThis is my favorite Pantera song. It was very strange because after my Grandpa was buried, I told my dad that we were going to "Pass the cemetery gates" (qouting Pantera) and when we got into the car. What song starts on the radio? "Cemetery Gates" by Pantera.
  • Nick from Cairns, AustraliaOh my god!!! you'd definitely hear it anyway but if you listen at 6:14 and onwards it's like bruce dickinson's replaced phil anselmo for the rest of the song. I'm surprised Phil can reach vocals like that even thoough its evident in some of their other songs. I always loved those siren-like vocal styles. Awesome song, especially each solo and riff. R.I.P Dimebag Darrel
  • Jeremy from Houston, TxThis song is about phil losing his girl after she killed herself after they broke up. He never cried for a long time or let his emotion be shown or got to tell her he loved her before she passed. He is trying to say that he should had cried to free himself from the pain but he kept it inside for a long time instead but it was already to late...shes dead.
  • Kimberly from New Braunfels, TxI also heard it was about Phil's mom, but i'm not for sure. Song reminds me of my grandma when I hear it. Beautiful song.
  • Megan from Denham Springs, LaI have listened to every single Pantera album, and it is TRULY captivating, but out of all their songs, "Cemetary Gates" and "Walk" are by far my faves. My best friend Samantha gave me every one of her Pantera albums and just let me listen to them and my fave was the live album Official Live: 101 Proof. It was the best! God bless and may Dime be sitting in heaven rocking out with all the great rockers before and since. WE MISS YOU DUDE!!! And we still love you! R.I.P DIME!!!!
  • Allen from Gunni, CoSad, but awesome song.
  • Aaron from Victoria, BcPhil has said this in interviews and yes, Cassandra was pretty dead on with interpreting that, Its also about how he never said I love you to her before she passed or something similar to that.
  • Aaron from Victoria, BcThis song is about when Phil Anselmo's mother died and nobody was there to console him basically
  • Janatha from Houston, TxI think this song is about (to die) and know that your going to hell.
  • Prad from Pondicherry, Indiadoes anyone know a song similar to this in music?
  • T-revor from Heber Springs, ArThis song is really about how the lead singer lost his faith and his father was a preacher
  • Hayz from Sydney, AustraliaBest Song, Best Guitarist ( R.I.P Dime ) One of the best bands eva!!!
  • Kodi from Sydney, CanadaI miss Dime. He rocks. I hate Nathan Gale I hope he is burning in hell right now. He's a hero and a God. R.I.P Buddy !
  • Cassandra from Houston, TxHowever..I love the song..it kinda reminds me of " Even In Death"..in a sense
  • Cassandra from Houston, TxI think this song is just about death alone.when someone passes away..and noone got there chance to say there goodbyes..more like things being left unsaid..I saw the video
  • Dan from New York, NyIt's not about Dime. Thats as creepy as the "Paul is dead" phenomenon in the 60's. The context of the song is definately female, so its not Dime.
  • J from Nyc, NyHow can you even relate it to Dime's death??!?! The song was written over 10 years before it happened, and, what person foreshadows his own death!?!? It's not like he was dying of a chronic illness, some nut shot him. Think!
  • Eric from Wichita, KsThis song came into my life when a very very close relative and mentor passed away. This song made me think of that person. This song holds a near and dear part of my heart....."When she died I couln't cry, the pride within my soul. you left me incomplete. memories now unfold...Through all those Complex years. I thought I was alone I didn't care to look around and make this world my own and when she died. I should've cried and spared myself some pain...Left me incomplete All alone as the memories still remain." No lie, I didn't cry at the service but as much as she meant to me I should have. Speaks to my heart. RIP Dimebag, Pantera KICKS ASS!!!!! So whatever his purpose was in writing that he touched an aspiring fan...well done fellas!!!!!
  • Sindre from MosjÃ?en, NorwayYeah, but... It couldn't originally have meant to bve about his death, though. Unless, of course, he was in a sh*te mood... Well... Whatever! :P The song works
  • Zack from Mechanicsburg, PaIt seems to me like this song is about Dimebag Darell's death...before it happened...listen to the lyrics and maybe you'll see it too
  • Ben from Mer, IdPhil's dad is still alive. He owns many popular bars and family resturaunts in New Orleans. I think this song was written about a girlfriend or just a friend.
  • Alex from St Louis, Mothey say dimebag was inspired by iron maidens' children of the damned whe he was writing this song
  • Kyle from Lake Village, Inthis song was written was after phil anselomo(lead singer) father died
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