Roland was a warrior From the Land of the Midnight Sun With a Thompson Gun for hire Fighting to be done
The deal was made in Denmark On a dark and stormy day So he set out for Biafra To join the bloody fray
Through '66 and 7 They fought the Congo War With their fingers on their triggers Knee-deep in gore The days and nights they battled The Bantu to their Knees They killed to earn their living And to help out the Congolese
Roland the Thompson Gunner Roland the Thompson Gunner
His comrades fought beside him Van Owen and the rest But of all the Thompson Gunners Roland was the best So the CIA decided They wanted Roland dead That son-of-a-bitch Van Owen Blew off Roland's Head
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Time Time Time for another week of war
Norway's bravest son Time stands still for Roland til he evens up the score
They can still see his headless body Stalking through the night In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson Gun In the muzzle flash of Roland's Thompson Gun
Roland searched the continent For the man who'd done him in He found him in Mombassa In a bar room drinkin' Gin Roland aimed his Thompson Gun He didn't say a word But he blew Van Owen's body From there to Johanasburg.
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner Talkin about the man Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
The eternal Thompson Gunner Still wanderin through the night Now it's ten years later But he still keeps up the fight In Ireland, In Lebanon In Palastine and Berkley Patty Hurst Heard the burst Of Roland's Thompson Gun And bought it.
Writer/s: DAVID ERIC LINDELL, WARREN WILLIAM ZEVON
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
Tom from Long IslandThanks for pointing out the historical inaccuracies of this otherwise terrific song. (Makes me wonder where David Lindell did his soldiering.) One more thing: the title says it all— Roland was a Thompson gunner, not a fighter pilot. Holy moley.
Jim from BostonJennifer That’s a great line,I love the wording and the way he sings it is amazing. From the same album”mr bad example”the song “heartache spoken here” is also an amazing song. Backing vocals by Dwight Yokum.
Paddy from Cape TownLocal Brian Finch (RIP) performed this song on one of his albums . Loved it and as an ageing boomer still do
Rick Krieg from Jurian Bay Western Australia I used to play this song when I was a DJ at a community radio station as it is an excellent song for a blues programme.
Jennifer from IndianaDo you suppose Roland kept tough by eating lots of lutefisk?
Jennifer from IndianaSometimes our best entertainers achieve success after death. But the world *still* has not caught up with Warren Zevon, 13 years after his passing. High praise to his ex-wife Crystal, for keeping it together and putting out his biography. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" is not your average bio. Even if you know him only for the worn-out "Werewolves of London", give this book a read. You'll want to hear the songs once you've learned about them. From "Renegade": I'll be some old man in the road somewhere Kneeling down in the dust by the side of the interstate
His life & times added up to so much more than this dreary image.
Arne from NorwayThere is an ancient poem about Roland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Roland , this could be an inspiration. As a Norwegian, I'm proud of him!
Eric from San Francisco, CaI agree with you, Alek, I love those songs, but many lesser known songs are as good. "Tenderness on the Block" and the whole Excitable Boy album, plus his "come-back" album, Sentimental Hygiene. Great album.
Rick from Hattiesburg, MsSince when was Che' considered a "freedom fighter?" Mercs are paid to do a job, regardless of the "rightness" of the side paying them.
Smartalek from Boston, MaAk! That's "swan-SONG," of course. I don't think there is any such thing as a "swan-sing," unless maybe it's a rite of passage or a contest for waterfowl.
Smartalek from Boston, MaWhat Cody from PA said. It's really ironic that such a phenomenal singer / songwriter is best known for a novelty song or three. It's great that "Werewolves of London" was what first got the world's attention, and earned Mr Zevon a place in the musical firmament. It's great that he came up with brilliant tracks like "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," "Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me," and this one. At the same time, it's a travesty that these remain his best-known works, and that most of the people who know him by these songs are largely (or completely) unaware of his more serious, and even more brilliant works, such as "Desperadoes Under the Eaves," "Tenderness on the Block," "Mohammed's Radio," "Accidentally, Like a Martyr," "Carmelita," "Hasten Down the Wind," "Backs Turned Looking Down the Path," "Mutineer," "Join Me in L.A.," and the most beautiful, heartbreaking, perfect swan-sing ever penned, "Keep Me in Your Heart."
Devin from Anywhere, PaWhen I hear this song. I think of any freedom fighter. Che Guevara stands out as one. A great song :)
Maggy from Cincinnati, Oh"I'm talking about the man." Roland is awesome
Pat from Albuquerque, NmI wonder how many people remember who Patty Hearst was these days. Otherwise, Roland's a great song, knee deep in gore.
Lalah from Wasilla, AkZevon was clever with the twists and play of words but I was always confused on how a headless gunner could say a word before blowing away his enemy. Of course he didn't say a word! No head.
Cody from Lititz, Paall of zevons songs are awesomazing he is way too underrated
Trey from Kalamazoo, MtThis song is amazingly awesome. It's awesomazing!
"Cruise" climbed from 6-5 on the Hot 100 in its 34th week. In doing so it set a record for the slowest ascent to the Top 5 in the chart's history, which was beaten by Imagine Dragon's "Radioactive" 42-week clamber to #4 three weeks later.