Cash, Johnny - The Big Battle Lyrics

I think sir the battle is over, and the young soldier lay down his gun.
I'm tired of running for cover, I'm certain the battle is done.
For see over there where we fought them, it's quiet for they've all gone away.
All left is the dead and the dying, the blue lying long side the grave.

So you think the battle is over, and you even lay down your gun.
You carelessly rise from your cover, for you think the battle is done.
Now boy hit the dirt, listen to me, for I'm still the one in command.
Get flat on the ground here beside me, and lay your heart to the sand.

Can you hear the deafening rumble, can you feel the trembling ground.
It's not just the horses and wagons that make such a deafening sound.
For every shot fired had an echo and every man killed wanted life.
There lies your friend Jim McKinney, can you take the news to his wife?

No son the battle's not over, the battle has only begun.
The rest of the battle will cover the part that has blackened the sun.
The fight yet to come is not with cannon, nor will the fight be hand-to-hand
No one will regroup the forces, no charge will a general command.

The battle will rage in the bosom of mother and sweetheart and wife.
Brother and sister and daughter will grieve for the rest of their lives.
Now go ahead, rise from your cover, be thankful that God let you live.
Go fight the rest of the battle for those who gave all they could give.

I see sir the battle's not over, the battle has only begun
The rest of the battle will cover this part that has blackened the sun.
For though there's no sound of the cannon and though there's no smoke in the sky.
I'm dropping the gun and the saber and ready for battle am I.

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Cash, Johnny The Big Battle Comments
  1. fred koltz

    Thank you, CassidyCrayon. A great song by a great singer!

  2. TheAngryPolack 97

    I'm pretty sure it's the blue lying alongside the gray, but I could be wrong.

  3. Lonnie Beavers

    Sounds like cash had been there in the blood .

  4. karl Kruger

    Only the dead do not know war.

  5. Olav Korsen

    Bought the LP in New York City 1966! Still got it! Johnny Cash forever in my mind!......!

  6. John

    Quite moving. I assume it is about the IS civil war.


    The song's setting is the Civil War, yes, but the specific war the song is set in doesn't really matter for the actual message and meaning of the song.


    A fair point, but even as a non american, I find the US civil war a particularly tragic and bitter conflict

  7. Varian Tan

    its about the civil war

  8. karl Kruger

    and lay your heart to the sand. NO.

    and lay your ear hard to the sand. YES.

  9. jennifur sun

    the first time i ever heard this Lp, which I now have, this song stuck in my mind. i was about 9 or 10

  10. Enyawestie

    We are grieving for the rest of our lives....

  11. Rodolfo Perez

    Truly a great song!!
    Johnny Cash is incomparable.

  12. Richard Arkeveld

    Voor alle soldaten die ooit gesneuveld zijn. so you think the battle is over, the battle has only began. I'm tired of running for cover, its just not just the horses en wagons, no sun the batlle is not over, can you bring back the news to my wife and children.

  13. n diamone

    The blue lying `longside the GREY.
    Blue and grey?
    Union and Confederate soldiers?

    Bert Rich

    +Sam Mallam so the song is about the Civil war I see.


    +Bert Rich For the most part. The end of the song says he's dropping the gun and saber, and ready for battle am I. That to me sounds like he is ready to start fighting with the word of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6.


    The song is set in the Civil War, yes, though the message is actually much more timeless and isn't connected to any specific war. It's about the aftermath of war, the mourning and grief that follows.


    @alanyoung2 The song literally tells you what the "battle" is. It's the grief, the mourning, the living with loss that follows the war, the commander specifics that THAT is the battle still to be fought, not a battle fought with guns and weapons. THAT is the battle the song is talking about, and the "battle" the young soldier is now ready to fight. Johnny has done a lot of religious songs, but this is not one of them, it's about the loss of war and the pain and suffering that comes from it, beyond those who were injured or killed in the war itself.

  14. Reed Pryor

    I'm currently writing a research essay on this song. It is a masterpiece in my opinion. Love it to death. 

    Alexander Perez

    Best Anti-War song ever written, by my favorite songwriter.

  15. John Frenette

    I have never heard this before. I've been home for almost six years and am just now beginning to deal with a lot of the issues that I've buried with alcohol, pills, and other self destructive behavior. I wish i had heard this before deployment, but then again i probably wouldn't have understood it.

    jennifur sun

    God Bless hope you come out ok. had an older brother who was an Army vet, served in Nam

  16. oldgordo61

    Have not heard this song in ages..I remember my dad used to play this on a 33 LP record player all the's just now that I realized how powerful the message of the song is when I read the lyrics.

  17. Frank Kintz

    Always loved this song. I still have it, it was released on a 45, the b side of The Rebel.He was THE MAN.

  18. Roger Gore

    Great song, great man. Guess the wars will never be over

    jennifur sun

    sadly as long as someone wants what others have, or thinks they should be the ruler over all , there will always be wars

  19. daniel shane

    Philip. You Americans were and still are truly patriotic and TRULY GUTSY to do what you did. Gutsy all of you Americans.

  20. Enyawestie

    Thank you, Daniel. It means a lot to me.

  21. daniel shane

    I'm so sorry for your loss, freind. He was a brave soldier.

  22. Tommy Hill

    I heard it and play it as "the blue lying longside the grey"......Also VN 65-66 USMC Semper Fi....

  23. philip johnson

    as a vietnam infantryman this song sure has emotions. even after 40 years

  24. The Hickory Biscuit

    I've heard a different version by Johnny i believe its newer instead of saying "all left is the dead and the dying, the blue lying long side the grave" it is "all left is the dead and the dying the ground's covered with them today".

    dave pearse

    I thought it was 'blue lying alongside the grey'! As in, the U.S civil war, confederate and union!?

  25. alextheredrobert

    Such a sad, horrible fact of war, "The battle will rage in the bosom of mother and sweetheart and wife. Brother and sister and daughter will grieve for the rest of their lives." Johnny Cash did a great job when he penned this perfect and horribly truthful anti-war song.

  26. 75freeman

    This is such an amazing song. The first time i came across it was the world war one version but i've got to say this is even better. When you listen you'd almost believe he was one in command. All his songs are the same no one will ever be better than Cash.

  27. Enyawestie

    It's true. We, who lost a loved-one in one of the many wars, will and are grieving for the rest of our lives. For us, the battle will go on till we die.

    Daniel Shane

    Enyawestie Hope your well today Enyawestie!!!!

  28. Tyrone Buckley

    American Civil War song....beautiful tune....

  29. KillingJokes97

    @eboy828 To keep freedom free sir I'm a 3rd generation Marine and I respect the fallen because I'm sure I'm not coming back.

  30. eboy828

    the lesson here is that there are no winners in war...we all lose one way or why fight them?

  31. Willy Junes

    thatr is a part of history - things we should always remember... we had ours in Europe , Ciuvil war in Spain ... and still wouds are open ...

  32. leeperryismerry

    I have around 40 Albums by Johnny Cash...

    and I still haven't heard some songs like this one!

    I love him!

  33. SmokeBojangles

    I punched a hole in the wall in my Bed room in a Bayonet charge when i was 6 years old listening to this song,It was behind a curtain.Had To Leap 2 beds.My Trusty rifle 2 cowards and Dean Martin and George Patton against 70 gazillion Yankees.In My Battle(I Was Six Ok?) Martin Luther King told us we did not have to kill any more Yankees..We all are Americans.Then We Pledged to the flag.When Pappy died I Had to fill That hole before we sold the house.Glad that was My only war.

  34. John Crawford

    @fromhereto69 The blue lying lying along side the grey. That puts a different light on it. North vs. South

  35. GeneralSirDouglasMcA

    I wonder if this song is what soldiers will go through AFTER the war is over (kind of like what they went through when the came home from Vietnam), or post tramatic stress disorder...

    Regardless, this is a GREAT song!

  36. TheKstinger36

    @pornguy2 I think that's the point, doesn't say if he's a Northerner or a Southerner. It's more just about the loss that comes from war, rather than glorifying it.

  37. John Crawford

    Cash made comment this was one of his best writings. I used to listen to it late at night when everything was quiet. So much to be learned by the words.

    tom peterson

    John Crawford he did not write it.

    Peter Mc Cabe

    Man who sang from his heart

  38. John Crawford

    Cash once commented this was his most meaningful song.