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Run Straight Down

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Run Straight Down is a song from Warren Zevon's 1989 album Transverse City.

About the Song Edit

Set in an post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland, the song features a weary survivor. He muses upon the catastrophe, of massive pollution and decaying wildlife - and its ever increasing replacement with mechanical implements. Tired of thinking about it, and considering a more idyllic past, the man retreats to his home to watch the world all be simplified down on the 11 o'clock news. Throughout the song is a constant refrain of chemical names and formulas. Mention is made of fluorocarbons and the phenomena of ozone holes; the song was released before CFCs were banned in 1996.

David Gilmour of Pink Floyd plays lead guitar.

Music Video Edit

This is one of the few songs by Zevon which received a formal music video, alongside a choice few from his previous album Sentimental Hygiene. It features Zevon stringing out the song with his guitar in the middle of an industrial plant, while workers in hazmat suits move around equipment, call one another and fiddle with dials and terminals and David Gilmour playing guitar solos. Inter-cutting this is a consistent display of arching electricity and the same chemical formulas drawn out on a board. After this album, Zevon jumped to Giant Records as Virgin let him go due to disappointing sales. (link to this video)

Lyrics Edit

Note: the text of this song's lyrics is not under the same copyright license as the wiki's encyclopedic text, it is used under fair use/dealing.

(Repeated under the lyrics)

4- Aminobiphenyl, hexachlorobenzene

Dimethyl sulfate, chloromethyl methylether

2, 3, 7, 8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-

Para-dioxin, carbon disulfide

Dibromochloropane, cholorinated

Benzenes 2- Nitropropane, pentrochlorophenol

Benzotricholoride, strontium chromate

1, 2- Dibromo-3-chloropropane


(Lyrics proper)

I went walking in the wasted city


Started thinking about entropy

Smelled the wind from the ruined river

Went home to watch TV


And it's worse when I try to remember

When I think about then and now,

I'd rather see it on the news at eleven

Sit back and watch it run straight down


Run straight down

Run straight down

I can see it with my eyes closed

Run straight down


We've been living in the shadows all our lives

Where it's stand in line and don't look back

And don't look left and don't look right

So we hide our eyes and wonder who'll survive

Waiting for the night...


Fluorocarbons in the the ozone layer

First the water and the wildlife go

Pretty soon there's not a creature stirring

'Cept the robots at the dynamo


And it's worse when I try to remember

When I think about then and now

I'd rather see it on the news at eleven

Sit back and watch it run straight down


Run straight down

Run straight down

I can see it with my eyes closed

Run straight down

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