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Rednecks Lyrics

Artist: Randy Newman
Album: Good Old Boys

Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a TV show
With some smart ass New York Jew
And the Jew laughed at Lester Maddox
And the audience laughed at Lester Maddox too
Well he may be a fool but he's our fool
If they think they're better than him they're wrong
So I went to the park and I took some paper along
And that's where I made this song

We talk real funny down here
We drink too much and we laugh too loud
We're too dumb to make it in no Northern town
And we're keepin' the niggers down

We got no-necked oilmen from Texas
And good ol' boys from Tennessee
And colleges men from LSU
Went in dumb. Come out dumb too
Hustlin' 'round Atlanta in their alligator shoes
Gettin' drunk every weekend at the barbecues
And they're keepin' the niggers down

We're rednecks, rednecks
And we don't know our ass from a hole in the ground
We're rednecks, we're rednecks
And we're keeping the niggers down

Now your northern nigger's a Negro
You see he's got his dignity
Down here we're too ignorant to realize
That the North has set the nigger free

Yes he's free to be put in a cage
In Harlem in New York City
And he's free to be put in a cage on the South-Side of Chicago
And the West-Side
And he's free to be put in a cage in Hough in Cleveland
And he's free to be put in a cage in East St. Louis
And he's free to be put in a cage in Fillmore in San Francisco
And he's free to be put in a cage in Roxbury in Boston
They're gatherin' 'em up from miles around
Keepin' the niggers down



by spencer g on 5/10/2008 12:14am
by Big Al on 6/6/2008 7:36am
And for those who cannot see through the lyrics...

This song is not defending racism, it is skewing hypocracy as only Randy can.
by Coulter on 7/1/2008 2:46am
no hes not retard,
its satire

you think you might learn that in a freshman english class
by Dysperdis on 7/24/2008 6:12pm
This is an interesting song- aside from the obvious criticism of the racism that flourishes in the Southern states, he also lambastes the "freedom" offered by other states, where racism is often hidden behind a mask of generosity.

While I'm not sure if it's intentional, the last stanza can definitely be taken as an allusion to the way in which Jewish people in Germany were originally relocated into ghettos, where they were nominally free, though they lived in cages. In Germany, the ghettos were portrayed as a safe place for Jews to live, protected from the strong anti-Semitic sentiments that were commonplace, though they eventually served as a way to easily round up Jews to be sent to various concentration camps.
by dfas on 8/15/2008 7:50pm
by Bo on 9/12/2008 10:00am
Dysperdis, it's completely intentional. The areas he mentions are US ghettos in various cities. He's saying that they are "free" to be caged in the proscribed areas. And since ghetto=ghetto, it's applicable to the German Jews too.
by Joan T on 9/16/2008 5:10pm
Good God,you can't be serious. If you are offended by this hilarious stupid song, you obviously don't get it.
by sjk on 10/12/2008 11:05am
The song is STILL current. Witness what is happening at Republican rallies. The only thing the song misses is that rednecks come from all over the country and good 'ole boys (and girls) wear business suits --and lipstick.
Right now they are focused on keeping one particular black man down.
by redseasharks on 10/18/2008 12:56pm
I saw Randy last night. He sang this and many other songs, and it's amazing, unfortunately, how relevant many of them remain. Sail away...
by dr.mjctaylor on 11/10/2008 1:24pm
I am a college professor who is currently lecturing on political activism in the 1960s and 1970s for a U.S. History survey course, in northern Minnesota no less. I played this for my class who shocked not by the blatant racism that Randy calls to the fore, but the prodigous use of the word "nigger." For those old enough to remember, it stirred the same firestorm as his anti-prejudice tome "Short People" did in 1977. Americans and college -- "Went in dumb, come out dumb too" -- were raising generations of semi-literates to face a world of Ph.Ds.
by Karla on 2/25/2009 2:04pm
Every time I vote, I attempt to keep a democrat 'down'.

We can't have it so that if I vote against a Democrat who happens to be black, I am called a racist. It is too easy, and it kills debate.
by Brian on 2/28/2009 12:51am
Randy Newman knows his stuff. Good song.
by KIMS PICTURES on 5/3/2009 3:00pm
Randy Newman is a brilliant satirist
in the vein of Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift. And you can vote against a Democrat who happens to be black. Just be ready to justify your decision as you would any white candidate.
by JD on 7/8/2009 12:06pm
Having grown up in MS I understand what Randy is writing. I'm a teacher and I enjoy playing Neil Young's Alabama, Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama and Redneck to show my students how activism wasn't restricted to Freedom Riders, protesters or hippies. All 3 musicians help reflect the fabric of this country in the 70's. Interesting to watch an argument played out in music isn't it! I miss it.
by Ed on 8/8/2009 5:02pm
Newman, like Cohen proves that bigotry and hatred are delusional and without any basis. If you're offended you have missed the point.
by Rum on 8/30/2009 6:22am
Gotta luv Randy--and Kims is right--He's right up there with Mark Twain and Jonathon Swift ("A Modest Proposal" if they still teach that in English Lit).

This was our theme song for us "Good ole Boys" at LSU when I was there from '77-79 (even tho his next line was: went in dumb... came out dumb, too...").

by Tony Murphy. . on 9/13/2009 5:38am
Randy Newman's 'Rednecks' and Coolios 'Gangsta's Paradise'are both exposes of the true state of 'multiculturism'.Is there a way out of the social dilema that both songs in their own way speak to. I don't know and neither lyricist offers an answer. Perhaps posing the question is as good as it gets.
by Realist on 9/13/2009 4:59pm
Now if Randy would only write a song criticizes the far more blatant racism of Blacks and other non-Whites...
by Bartholomew on 12/20/2009 6:18pm
I love this song, as a Southerner who relocated to New Jersey and encountered more racism there than I ever did in the South. The unfortunate thing about witty, satiric and provocative songs like this is that the wrong people are usually the ones offended - the actual targets of Randy's commentary still doesn't realize that his joke's on them (smug, yet hypocritical Northerners).
by bob on 1/30/2010 12:32pm
ya'll crack me up
by Vincent the frenchie on 3/11/2010 6:48am
i really love that song ! unfortunatly the south had lost the war. Randy says much more about racism in this song than huge books written by stupid liberals et autre gauchistes !
by Bob Marley on 4/16/2010 10:57am
Jeez to funny
by on 4/19/2010 11:28am
Let me prefeace with this with I thingk Randy Newman is a God Damn Genius !!!!! but having said that.... Every US city Randy mentions is VITIM-HOOD Central. C'mon eventually u gotta take responsibility for yrself. I know u like to FUCK and create more victims....but for GOD's sake take responsibility for yrself. Randy is a self hating JEW. Please be a Proud JEW, Yr heritage relegates you to greatness. It's something that is undeniable. Communism (a mistake), Nuclear Power, Finance, is there no place the JEW has not excelled. I am a Gentile. Wish I had the smarts of the JEW. Randy NEWMAN please, just put a gun to yr head and shoot yrself. WIth JEWS like u Isreal will never last. Isreal is the canary in the coal mine for the greatest country ever , the USA. Listen to Rabbi Schmuley (WABC Sunday Evenings). A great Jew and American. You GOD damn JEWS are so liberal (I love you, but Hate your SOCIALIST views) , you will be the death of us(A) !!!!!
by Kibet korir on 3/20/2011 12:22am
..Randy newmann, i find tht song rily informative, i am a monkey im frm africa in a country called kenya, currently im perched on top of a boabab tree looking at elephants mating ths is cool, wait a minute.......a lion is chasing a warthog damn this is awesome u shld c this. Wel i found your piece very intresting about being free n al tht shit, wel i wonder hw a fellow monkey whse father ws frm here obama convicd u he could lead u, n won an election, tht ws gross, anyway if u thought rednecks were enjoyin lives, u shld c hw my fellow facebooking monkeys r uploading videos of thm dancing to tupacs song , 'gangsters paradise' on top of baobab tree overlooking tropical rainforrest tht is teeming with wild animals, we dnt buy fruits we js pick em n your whte gals jst love th monkey stick, we r rednecks...err sorry blacknecks coz our skin aint tht sensitive we live free n die free n we rily dnt give a shit.
by Marcus Miller on 5/12/2011 11:20pm
Message for - you couldn't be more off base in thinking that Randy Newman is a self-hating Jew. Maybe your comment says more about you than Randy. If you ever looked into Randy's own commentary on this song, you'd know that it was written in response to his seeing Lester Maddox being interviewed on the Dick Cavett Show. Newman knew that Cavett wasn't Jewish so the irony in the lyrics was that anyone who was smart and from the east coast had to be a Jew. Randy has also said that the fact that the crowd gave Maddox such a bad time, to the point of not letting him speak, was no victory and that it kept Maddox from being seen and heard for the racist that he was.
by Dwayne O. on 5/15/2011 1:47pm
The real target of the song's satire isn't southerners, it's northerners who look down on Southerners for their supposed racism, while at the same time working very hard not to have to live around blacks themselves. Have you ever noticed that all the truly destructive race riots of the '60s were outside the south?
by redneck on 5/17/2011 1:56pm
i ahte the song makes me want to beat the crap out of you so keep the song down..
by ben draggonballz on 6/17/2011 7:03pm
Being born in the north and raised in the south I see that we will never break the color barrier in America. Black and White folks are about to be out numbered by the brown invasion while our leaders vacation and fake working for "the people". The song was as funny now as it was back then, so what if it offends...we're offended everyday..get over it. BD
by Forrest Gump on 7/21/2011 6:31pm
When I first heard this album in 75 I knew It was a satire.Now I see no matter how many years pass that racism always raises it's ugly head.
Who taught you that racism, your school buddies?I guess Randy was right "dumb in out dumb"
by Mr. Rational on 8/3/2011 1:11am
randy newman was/is not a racist; his lyrics here (and in more of his songs, such as 'political science') are purely satirical.
by Terry C - NJ on 10/15/2011 8:35am
Some people really don't "get" satire, do they?

They're the type who think the "news" in The Onion is real and that Stephen Colbert IS a right winger.

Thicker than planks, some folks.
by Team USA on 10/27/2011 4:59am

A powerful song which deftly slashes at the liberals' hypocrisy for racism in their 'northern' states.

The opening lines reference Dick Cavett and his ABC late night talk show. I saw it personally as Cavett and the audience mocked Lester Maddox rudely and with grotesque smugness, as if racism was non-existent in their 'progressive' backyard.

This is what Newman calls them out on, with shocking candor. Rednecks is a classic indictment of the left for their own myopic failings.
by tony on 2/4/2012 6:31am
Yall are all stupid people .black people hate white people guts so for all you northern people out there with your cheap talk become a white nigger like my self and live in the south and you will trurly understand this song.
by Seethroughyoujew on 4/29/2012 9:43am
Newman is another devious little jew attempting to smear a White population that has the nerve to maintain an identity. And that what your mission in life is all about, eh Newman--belittling White who you jews fear are nation lovers.
by bob spencer on 5/13/2012 6:38am
the god dam dirty jews, won`t be happy till your all wearing their chinese shoes. They will rob you all just like the pin ball wizzard and the doo dah man,back in 1972. You stupid dirty god dam jews !
by Proud to B Southeren on 5/16/2012 10:40pm
I know a lot of u are probably some north side city slickers who thinks this ain't true well u can shut your fucking mouth y'all can make up yalls own meaning to the song but it ain't the meaning randy had for the song if u ain't a redneck u won't understand and all u fucking Yankees and u Niggers(porch monkeys,jigaboos,tree squirrel, yellows) what ever shut up and quit thinking u know everything cus ur wearin some hi dollar faggit clothes
by bwj on 6/2/2012 7:02pm
The song Rednecks is a masterpiece. The comments above simply serve to underscore how entrenched jingoistic culture is in our society, even 40 years after the release of this song, but all the same, that's one thing.

Different from above, the primary thing to note is Newman's screamin' self accompaniment on piano. His piano work transcends and is beyond anything else in rock and roll, including Hendrix, Clapton, or, when speaking of a keyboardist, Banks or Emerson.
by ashley henry kkk on 10/18/2012 5:50pm
hell yeahlets keep those nigers down,i got a gun and lots of bullits
by Mike Hood on 11/7/2012 5:38pm
As a redneck from North ALA and southern TN I heard bout these lyrics from a friend and was prepared to be angry about them, but it appears that Newman is making fun of what the north thinks they know about rednecks and puts the onus back on northern folks in the way they criminalize the blacks. ashley henry, above, is an outlier and does not represent the average southern man. The kkk is a ridiculed and dieing southern organization in the south.
by Kansas man on 12/6/2012 1:57pm
This song simply explains an every day real life situation. For those of you who don't think so, perhaps you are sheltered. Stereotypes that will never change. It's time to quit trying to change it and just embrace it. That is America. I just wish he would have given a shout out to the crazy people in California and the pot heads in Denver.
by Bob on 4/11/2013 7:59am
This song really hits at many levels.
The overt message is a ridicule of southern white racist. Although the voice in the narrative is a white racist explaining his views, it is presented sarcastically, and obviously not intended to be a defense of his actions.
Neumann’s alternate intent is exposing the views of northerners, who think they are guiltless in maters race. The narrator in the song is stereotype of how some northerners view white southerners: ignorant, drunk, and dumb; with a singular goal to oppress blacks.
The real sting is in the last stanza. Though the enlightened northerner is happy to call blacks a slightly less offensive racial epitaph, they have systematically segregated blacks in to depressed neighborhoods in order to “keep them down.”
This is a complex song and everyone needs to listen with their own mirror in hand, and not assume it is directed at someone else.
by ww on 3/9/2014 10:04am
Besides the brilliant social comment, irony, and humor of he song, Newman, on piano, performs the most brilliant instrumental work in all of rock history, rivaling, and even transcending that, of Clapton, Hendrix, or if speaking of keyboard, John, Wakeman, or Emerson. Seriously, the off-kilter rhythms he plays, involving Tatum-esqe execution, all while singing other off-kilter lyrical lines, well, this is just the best.
by JKG on 9/27/2021 5:43am
The question is whether the racism you were exposed to in your daily lives remains with you until death of can you overcome racism through experience? To me this is the question raised by Randy Neuman's description of both North and South white folk racism.

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