Ashes to Ashes

Album: Jerusalem (2002)
  • This song deals with Steve Earle's feelings about the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. Speaking with Harp magazine November 2002, he explained: "'Ashes to Ashes' is my 9/11 song, period. It's about the things that concern me – it's one of the songs that's about the things that concern me. For about maybe 45 minutes after everybody realized that the World Trade Center wasn't an accident, for once I think everybody in this country was on the same wavelength. For maybe 45 minutes.

    If we're being honest, though, after 45 minutes, we all turned to our own agendas: How does this affect me, what am I personally scared of, and how is this gonna affect my life? The first thing I thought, when I started turning back to myself, was 'Oh, my God, we were finally starting to get somewhere with all of this work that me and everyone I know has been doing against the death penalty for all these years and it's getting' ready to go out the window because this f--king country is gonna be out for blood.' It's not turned out to be true because they're so focused on f--king with Arabs.

    The second thing I worried about was my son. I wanted to know where he was. Because he's draft age and we do have registration for the draft in this country. We are set, since the Reagan years, to draft our kids. So I just didn't feel comfortable.

    'Ashes to Ashes' is about the next thing that I started becoming concerned about, and the question I didn't hear asked, which is what would make someone hate us enough to fly an airplane full of people deliberately into a hundred story building. 'Ashes to Ashes' is about being the most powerful country in the world and it's the history lesson about what's happened to every other most powerful country in the world. The deal is, do we have to go the way of the Roman Empire? Do we have to go the way of... Britain?"
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

Steely DanFact or Fiction

Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Bob DaisleySongwriter Interviews

Bob was the bass player and lyricist for the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads.

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

The Girl in That SongFact or Fiction

Billie Jean, Delilah, Sara, Laura and Sharona - do you know who the girls in the songs really are?