Black Day In July

  • Black day in July
    Motor city madness has touched the countryside
    And through the smoke and cinders
    You can hear it far and wide
    The doors are quickly bolted
    And the children locked inside

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    And the soul of Motor City is bared across the land
    As the book of law and order is taken in the hands
    Of the sons of the fathers who were carried to this land

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    In the streets of Motor City is a deadly silent sound
    And the body of a dead youth lies stretched upon the ground
    Upon the filthy pavement
    No reason can be found

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    Motor City madness has touched the countryside
    And the people rise in anger
    And the streets begin to fill
    And there's gunfire from the rooftops
    And the blood begins to spill

    Black day in July

    In the mansion of the governor
    There's nothing that is known for sure
    The telephone is ringing
    And the pendulum is swinging
    And they wonder how it happened
    And they really know the reason
    And it wasn't just the temperature
    And it wasn't just the season

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    Motor City's burning and the flames are running wild
    They reflect upon the waters of the river and the lake
    And everyone is listening
    And everyone's awake

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    The printing press is turning
    And the news is quickly flashed
    And you read your morning paper
    And you sip your cup of tea
    And you wonder just in passing
    Is it him or is it me

    Black day in July

    In the office of the President
    The deed is done the troops are sent
    There's really not much choice you see
    It looks to us like anarchy
    And then the tanks go rolling in
    To patch things up as best they can
    There is no time to hesitate
    The speech is made the dues can wait

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    The streets of Motor City now are quiet and serene
    But the shapes of gutted buildings
    Strike terror to the heart
    And you say how did it happen
    And you say how did it start
    Why can't we all be brothers
    Why can't we live in peace
    But the hands of the have-nots
    Keep falling out of reach

    Black day in July
    Black day in July
    Motor city madness has touched the countryside
    And through the smoke and cinders
    You can hear it far and wide
    The doors are quickly bolted
    And the children locked inside Writer/s: Gordon Lightfoot
    Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 6

  • Now 62 from Northwest OhioI was 9, we lived in NW Ohio, and Mom and Dad packed all of us kids into the station wagon, and went on our way to the Detroit zoo. We got part way through Toledo, and I heard the news on the radio.
    Dad turned us around and we went home. I didn't return to the Detroit Zoo until I was in my thirties.
  • Greg from Bc CanadaJuly 1 how relevant is this song now ? We need to learn from history
  • Mark from San Pedro, CaI grew up in Detroit and experienced the riots, which happened when I was 8 years old. I remember seeing Gordon Lightfoot perform the song on Canadian tv, Channel 9, soon after the riots. He was sitting alone on a stool on a bare stage, coolly switching from major to minor chord, singing his heart out about an injustice that was the fault of everyone yet no one. That impression of one person, with a guitar and a song, affected me deeply because he was singing about something relevant to me that I knew of and had experienced. It remains to this day my strongest paradigm of a folk singer. God bless Lightfoot and all the whiskey he drank and all the songs he wrote and sang. One man, one guitar.
  • P from Chicago, IlNathan, I don't know about this song being banned...I grew up in Detroit and I heard it on the radio, US station not CKLW.
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, CanadaThis song was actually banned in America for some time
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzThe summers of the late 60s often were times of great racial unrest. The media referred to it as a "long, hot summer" in anticipation of race riots (Black day?). Hence, the line "it wasn't just the temperature and it wasn't just the season".
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