Darryl: I normally wouldn't have addressed another Wallflowers song so soon, but this song is so poignant and so often misinterpreted that I felt I needed to bring it to the forefront. "One Headlight" tells the story of a man who cared enough for a woman to help her end her life. She suffered terribly from breast cancer - thus the title - and decided she didn't want to endure the terrible pain of a slow death. Her friend, the singer, helped her end it and now has to face the law, the lawyers, and the media. It makes me ask the question, who should I pity more?

Jerry: Oh dear GOD! First of all you have to bring up another Dylan song! Not only that, you had to go all "Nancy Reagan" on it! Breast cancer indeed... This song is all about the effects, the questions, and the rebound from one of the most heinous attacks on the US (pre 9/11), Pearl Harbor. The friend he lost was not a person but the entire US. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the US had changed. We were still free and alive, but we were hurt, broken, pissed as hell, and dedicated to making things right again. The phrase "We can drive it home with one headlight" symbolizes the feeling of us being hurt, but still having the drive to make it.

The tip-offs here are "sun comin' up" and "the funeral at dawn." The rising sun is an obvious depiction of the Japanese flag. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened in the early morning about dawn where many people lost their lives in their final resting places. Within a few hours, the damage had been done and the US had joined the war, thus changing our country for forever.

Darryl: DUDE! Are you smoking crack?!

Jerry: Hey, I'm not that far off!

Darryl: You don't have to go all Ultra-Patriotic on me just to try to convince me you're not a communist. I'm afraid to hear your interpretation of the last verse. Or is this from the perspective of a patriotic American communist?

I think anyone that listens to this song while sober will recognize that the death is personal, not national. The "maze of ugliness and greed" is not an attack on American capitalism, but an attack on the scavengers surrounding the judicial process. The final verse is not about burning a flag but about the misery of prison life.

Jerry: Does that mean you've finished my interpretation for me?

Darryl: I would like to hear why the US is on the window ledge and just why you think America smells of cheap wine and cigarettes.

Jerry: Oh, well, I was just pulling your leg earlier. This song is actually about a guy who lost a testicle due to medical malpractice from an extremely hot female doctor. The only strange thing is he uses a female title for his testicle. Eeeewe.

Darryl: Okay, it's official. You've lost it. You've gone completely mental. I have some friends that have a lovely white, wrap-around vest for you.

Jerry: I HAVE LOST IT!?! I'm not the one making sense of a f#@^ing Dylan song!!! Seriously man, you need to take a step back and look at this. Ok. I want to see how on the ball you are.
  1. Why doesn't he seem to know when he lost his only friend?
  2. What is better than in the middle?
  3. Why does it feel like independence day?
  4. What's the deal with the county line bridge?
  5. What's the deal with the cheap wine (mmmm wine...) and cigarettes?
My answers?
  1. He has Alzheimer's Disease.
  2. In the case of being in the middle of a "big is beautiful" orgy, anything is better than being in the middle!
  3. Aliens just came to blow up Pearl Harbor just like they did the White House.
  4. I have NO clue!
  5. I'm thirsty.
Can you answer any of those?

Darryl: Okay, I'll take the bait.
  1. His life is in a tailspin and he doesn't know which way's up.
  2. Death is better than the painful, hopeless struggle to survive.
  3. Death has made her free.
  4. It's a METAPHOR! You know, like the light at the end of the tunnel?
  5. He's sharing a cell with winos and smokers.
Satisfied?! If you think the song is nonsense, then that's fine. You have the right to be wrong.

Jerry: Jesus, you've just depressed the hell out of me. I see what you mean about this song. I can see plenty of validity of my Pearl Harbor interpretation, but I'll settle for yours.

At least you proved yourself to be a communist pig, quick to point the finger to keep the spotlight off of you. Out of the two of us, I seem to be the only patriotic one. You can thank me later for helping you out with your interpretation. I know you couldn't have done it without my extremely unorthodox methods.

Darryl: You're a peach.

Jerry - Summary: Normally after a comment like that, I'd end up making some inappropriate comment about "fuzzy and pink." However, I'll try to hold off this time and close this by saying that I'll have to go with Darryl's interpretation since I, for the life of me, couldn't come up with my own.

The Wallflowers - One Headlight

So long ago, I don't remember when
That's when they say I lost my only friend
Well they said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

I seen the sun comin' up at the funeral at dawn
The long broken arm of human law
Now it always seemed such a waste
She always had a pretty face
So I wondered how she hung around this place

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than
In the middle
But me & Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight

She said it's cold
It feels like Independence Day
And I can't break away from this parade
But there's got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed
And I seen the sun up ahead
At the county line bridge
Sayin' all there's good and nothingness is dead
We'll run until she's out of breath
She ran until there's nothin' left
She hit the end-it's just her window ledge


Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn
I'm so alone, and I feel just like somebody else
Man, I ain't changed, but I know I ain't the same
But somewhere here in between the city walls of dyin' dreams
I think her death it must be killin' me