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Die With Your Boots On

Discussion in 'Piece Of Mind' started by gor, Mar 2, 2004.


How good is Die With Your Boots On on a scale of 1-10?

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  1. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    I emailed a linguist about the meaning of the phrase and this is what he replied to me:

    To die with one's boots on means to die suddenly, often violently. Today, it also has a sense of dying when life is still active and not after a period of illness.
    It comes from the late 17thC and originally referred to people who were hanged.
    James Briggs

    so what does that song really mean anyway? i'm going to send him another email about the explanation of dying with pride we often seem to give to that phrase because of the song and see what he replies...
  2. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Uh-oh....It's a LooseCannon post!

    Today's flavour seems to be Die With Your Boots On. I have no idea what it's about at this point in time. So I'm going to analyze it line by line. Well, verse by verse. And then maybe draw a conclusion at the end.

    [!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]Another prophet of disaster who says the ship is lost
    Another prophet of disaster leaving you to count the cost
    Taunting us with visions, afflicting us with fear
    Predicting war for millions in the hope that one appears [/quote]

    A prophet of disaster? Well, I think we can take this slightly out of the literal term here. Let's look at what this prophet is saying. "Predicting war". Now, when this album came out in 1983, there was indeed a lot of predicting war going on. The Cold War, in fact, was happening! The suggestion that the war would be for millions makes me think that we're talking about a future war.

    The idea of "taunting us with visions" suggests that there are people who get up there and deliver to us propaganda, or perhaps painting images of what someone could do, putting fear into people so they can be easily controlled. A prophet, could therefore be a politician, or perhaps general.

    [!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]No point asking when it is, no point asking who's to go
    No point asking what's the game, no point asking who's to blame
    'Cos if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die [/quote]

    When it is: When the war actually breaks out. It doesn't matter, because any war would likely be fought with nuclear weapons.

    Who's to go: Everyone. Modern war between two industrialized nations involve everyone.

    What's the game, who's to blame: Pretty much no point in going out and fighting, or checking to see who's at fault. MAD ensured the annihalation of both sides.

    [!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]If you're gonna die, die with your boots on,
    If you're gonna try, well stick around
    Gonna cry, just move along
    If you're gonna die, you're gonna die, gonna die
    Die with your boots on, if you're gonna try,
    well stick around, gonna cry, just move along
    If you're gonna die, you're gonna die [/quote]

    The chorus almost seems to be a rebuttal of the lyrics. Basically I see it as "if it happens, we still gotta do our best." It might be do our best to fight, or perhaps do our best to live.

    [!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]13 the beast is rising, the Frenchman did surmise
    Through earthquakes and starvation, the warlord will arise
    Terror death destruction pour from the eastern sands
    But the truth of all predictions is always in your hands [/quote]

    This is one of my favourite verses in all of Iron Maiden. The first line probably refers to Nostradamus, who likely predicted something insane like nuclear war. "Earthquakes and starvation". A nuclear bomb is quite capable of shaking the earth. Starvation would be widespread in a nuclear holocaust, as the food distribution systems on which our societies survive would be destroyed. "The Warlord" might refer to the leader of one of the nations involved. Thus, the next line could be him speaking. "Terror, death, destruction pour from the eastern sands" - the enemy. The Cold War was West vs. East, so this suggests the warlord is western. The second line seems to almost be motivational, perhaps from the Warlord again, or perhaps telling the people that you don't have to fight another man's war.

    The use of "Die With Your Boots On" suggests that there's something to be fought for here. What that might be is kind of in the air. I think it's almost suggesting that people will need to fight for existence. Sounds almost like Stephen King's The Stand, but I haven't read that in many many years. Any ideas on that?
  3. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Another meaning of the phrase "die with your boots on" is to die with courage, dignity and fighting to the last breath instead of going quietly. I'm almost positive that's the meaning here; after all, the chorus of the song sums up the meaning of the phrase.

    I also never read much into the lyrics to this song. Sometimes songwriters just write a lyric because it sounds cool, not caring about the meaning. I think that's the case here. I'm not saying there isn't a meaning; I'm just saying it's not very deep. I think trying to read too much into this song is a mistake - just enjoy it!
  4. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    'die With Your Boots On'

    here's the guy's follow up email:

    To me, to 'die with your boots on' has no sense of bravery in it - just indicating that the person died whilst still active. In 19th C USA, the saying began to be applied to someone who had died in a gun fight. It may be that this was carried over to WW2 deaths but, 'bravery'? - not to my understanding.
    James Briggs

    ok, this is what i make on the song, after working it out for 2 days....

    It's obvious that the song is about prophecies. there's the mention of John's revelations (13, the beast is rising is reffering to the rising of the beast from the sea in Revelation's chapter 13), and ofcourse, "the frenchman", a mention of nostradamus, who predicted the end of the world would come in the summer of 1999.

    Such telologic prophecies are characteristic means of indirect suppresion of the masses through cultivation of fear. in other words, under the fear of "the wrath of god" people have many times submitted to "god's will". It is a means of indirect manipulation of people's minds and will.

    Concluding, i think the lyrics urge the person to be free from fear, think for itself and not pay attention to prophets of destruction. "No point asking who's to go", no point in indulging in prophecies about the person's or society's future, you should be free of the fear of death or catastophies, for it is a means of control. So, don't go around wanting to know when you'll die, you should want to die unwarned, to DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON!
  5. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Apparently the meaning I always ascribed to the phrase is wrong! I now stand corrected.

    However, I still think this song shouldn't be analyzed too deeply. Something intangible about the lyrics suggests to me that they were written that way largely because it just sounds right. But I'll be the first to admit that I may well be in the minority with that opinion.
  6. Onhell

    Onhell Mexican Revolutionary

    'die With Your Boots On'

    I agree with SMX in not looking to deep in certain songs, but hey, i'm one of the few who posts on what a certain song means so instead i'll venture in. I Agree with gor's interpretation, BUT (hehe) to me religion is no indirect mind control, what I do think is is Tarot readings, Horoscopes....predictions (nostradamus). These means of wanting to know the future. It's pointless, have fun creating your own future! However, Cults and fundamentalist sects of any faith do use fear tactics to control their followers.
  7. The_Assassin90

    The_Assassin90 Trooper

    'die With Your Boots On'

    I've read all the replies, so I'm writing now my comments about everything you've said and some personal comments.

    First of all, I agree with you (Onhell) that predictions are just a silly game wich was built to manipulate innocent human beings. Now, what I say is to build your present to create your own future, and don't trust in false predictions who would just lead you to a wrong path.

    Now, about the song:
    I'll make it short. IMO, to Die With Your Boots on, means to die as a brave soldier, who's not afraid of death and doesn't think about it all the way to war.

    I agree also analyzing deeply each song by Maiden is exaggerated, 'cause sometimes a small sentence can light up the idea of the song.


    P.S.: The Commenatry RULES!!.
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Now you can read other visitors' comments on 'Die With Your Boots On' as well as post your own. Any contribution to the commentary will be much appreciated, may it be cultural references relevant to the song (links to related websites, interpretations that may have been overlooked in the Commentary, and the like) or personal essays related to the topic of the song. Just be aware that messages that are either off-topic or too wacky may be deleted.
  9. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    'die With Your Boots On'

    My vote: 4.5 stars

    Great song, one of my favorites from my favorite Maiden album. Great live, too.
  10. Lib

    Lib Ancient Mariner

    'die With Your Boots On'

    i think this song is a little bit repetitive and the 'bridge, pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus, pre-bridge' part is boring.

    It's one of the old ones I didn't enjoy to see in the 'Give me Ed' tour.

    Lyrics are repetitive too : "You will die, die, die, yes you die, die, die, gonna die and die again, yes believe me or die, you will die and gonna and wanna die.... "

    Not very interesting [!--emo&:unsure:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/unsure.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'unsure.gif\' /][!--endemo--]

    note : 2/5
  11. Uwe

    Uwe Trooper

    'die With Your Boots On'

    A fairly average song on the album, not too bad, but nothing special, except for the vague lyrics which require a bit more thinking.
  12. Maidenfreak

    Maidenfreak Ancient Mariner

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Great song. Works well live, too. I just can't stop thinking of that cover version of "die metallischen Rückkehrer" with german lyrics... oh my!
    Anyway, I like that song, so it'll get 4 stars
  13. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Why didn't anybody point to this? "They Died With Their Boots On":

    [a href=\'http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034277/\' target=\'_blank\']http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034277/[/a]

    Here's the plot summary from the site:

    "This is the story of General Custer from the time he enters West Point military academy, through the American Civil War, and finally to his death at Little Big Horn. The battle against Chief Crazy Horse is portrayed as a crooked deal between politicians and a corporation which wants the land Custer gave to the Indians."

    I don't think the lyrics are about the film, but I think Bruce took the title from here. I remember reading an interview where he pointed to this film.

    I think the line "Die with your boots on" means "die fighting". The phrase "die with your boots on" means not dying from an illness but dying suddenly, in pther words, dying in ACTION. Now this "action" can be everything, the normal day things, work, sex whatever. But the song tells about WAR. So I think the phrase here is about dying suddenly in war, probably by a bullet.
  14. Pico-Union

    Pico-Union Invader

    'die With Your Boots On'

    In response to LooseCannon.

    ...Terror, Death, Destruction pour from the eastern sands...

    I think they are talking about the 4 Horsemen which are found in the Bible.

    ...But the truth to all predictions is always in your hand...

    I think they are saying that understanding what can happen in your future is left up to you to find out and to not let anyone (politician, general, religion) to tell you when it's your time to go.
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'die With Your Boots On'

    Salutations to you all,

    Although the album version dallied with mediocrity, the song undeniably blossoms during live performance - in this guise, it's dynamics truly come to life.

    Put it this way - I was on the cusp of a neck brace after this one. And that was only the beginning of the set. (Donnington, 2003 - GMETID)

    To those of you with a keen ear - note the somewhat half-hearted vocal from Dickinson (scan to 1:12 on the album track) - barely audible - you can just hear what appears to be an extraneous leftover from the lead vocal tracking, that eluded the cunning aural powers of the Birch-Meister.

    Well, it may be audible if you can penetrate the accent! - A half spoken intoning of the word "Die" (Most likely an aid to memory to help Bruce retain cadence - notice it's on the beat... sort of.) To ears alien to colloquial English, it's vocalised more like "Doy" - or "Doi", if you're so inclined.

    Perhaps Bruce was absent-mindedly singing Pink Floyd's "Pow R. Toc H" to himself to keep his spirits up during the recording session - who knows?

    Anyhow, despite this peculiarity, a well-deserved 4 stars.

    Must dash - I'm having a rather unpleasant tea pang. Is it normal to get the jitters when you see a teabag?
  16. Stratocaster

    Stratocaster Prowler

    Re: 'die With Your Boots On'

    Interesting to read the commentary on this song and what people have written here. I got thinking about this song today while listening in the car..

    I think this is relevant, but I don't think the song has that much to do with war as people have said here.

    It talks of prophecies throughout, i believe its referring to those people who come out with things like "the worlds going to end on the 7th of March" or whatever it is lately.. there's a been a lot of people making predictions like this after interpreting something in the bible, or something to do with Nostradamus (the french man in the song as the commentary says) or whatever else.

    The pre chorus:

    Is saying "who cares?" to these people

    and the chorus goes on to say, if we're going to die we're going to die. Go on living the way you are as nothing can change that "Die with your boots on".

    I think the song can be taken quite literally, rather than alluding to nuclear war and the cold war. It just means, were all gonna die at some point.. get on with it. The lines in bold sum up the songs message.. we cant change our fate, we must just go on as normal.

    Maybe back in the time this was written there was some prediction or prophecy the world was going to end or something terrible was going to happen. I remember a time back in school (maybe late 90s to early 00s) where the world was supposed to end at 1pm on a specific day. I was actually quite nervous in school because a lot of people were talking this and acting like it was really going to happen. The time came and past and everyone on the court (was playing football at the time) kinda went.. "phew" and then "yeah we knew it was just fake" etc. There was another of these predictions quite recently.. and obviously it didn't turn out true.
  17. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Daily Song: Die With Your Boots On

    Welcome to the Daily Vote Thread! Rules are here.

    Remember, only a decent review will count towards the contest.

    Today's song: Die With Your Boots On

    Yesterday's song remains open for voting! You can find it here.
    I do like this song. It has a cool riff, and Bruce is amazing on the track. However, I don't think it's anything too special. It sounds good, but I wouldn't ever find it in iTunes and listen to it, or pop in the CD just for this song. 7/10.
  18. Black Thunder

    Black Thunder Ancient Mariner

    Re: Daily Song: Die With Your Boots On

    Great song with catchy riffs and great solo. Chorus is great too. Just listening to it right now!  :ok:

  19. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Re: Daily Song: Die With Your Boots On

    Thanks for doing the polls, folks. I'm really looking forward to getting more data to play with. My 2008 numbers have finally been crunched and are up in the Commentary forum.
  20. Dr. Eddies Wingman

    Dr. Eddies Wingman Brighter than thousand_suns

    Re: Daily Song: Die With Your Boots On

    This song does not get the love it deserves. I think it's completely on par with Icarus. The solos are as great as any solos from POM, and the part between the solos is catchy as hell.


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