Are you far away from home now? Busy working for your family or just for yourself? Or because you run away? No matter where you are or who you are, living far away from home is a difficult thing. The need to live in a place you don’t know, or trying to get along with people. Moving away from home is never easy because you have to move away from the comfort you’ve been used to. Furthermore, you have to move away from your family; people who supported you your whole life. It will never be easy to be far away from people you love and be in a place where you know nothing and no one.

The Song’s Content

Bare and West’s song have the same theme. The narrator is far away from home, working somewhere, mostly in the railroad. The narrator also mentioned how difficult life is when you are far away from home with no money. Life on the road without anything is never easy. In Bare’s version of the song, the narrator is ashamed of his decision to leave home, that he would rather suffer the life in the road than to let his family know that he lives without anything. Have you run away from home that you are ashamed to return? Maybe if you really can’t bear the hardship you can always return home, because your family will always welcome you with open arms.

The Lyrics

Tear drops fell on mama’s note

When I read the things she wrote

She said, we miss you girl

We love you come on home

Well I didn’t have to pack

I had it all right on my back

Now I’m five hundred miles away from home

Away from home, away from home

Cold and tired and all alone

Yes, I’m five hundred miles away from home

It’s hard to tell the state I’m in

Where I’m going, where I’ve been

But there’s a dream I’ve been following so long

If mama knew the things I’ve done

She’d forgive them everyone

But I’m still five hundred miles away from home

Away from home, away from home

Cold and tired and all alone

Yes, I’m five hundred miles away from home

Can’t remember when I ate

it’s just thumb and walk and wait

And I’m still five hundred miles away from home

If my luck had been just right

I’d be with them all tonight

But I’m still five hundred miles away from home

Away from home, away from home

Cold and tired and all alone

Yes, I’m five hundred miles away from home

Lord, I’m still five hundred miles away from home

“500 Miles” Versions

The song was written originally by Hedy West, in 1961. West mentioned that the song was inspired by her grandmother. However, West cannot remember the exact lyrics of the song that she ha to change some parts of the song. The song became one of the most popular folk revival songs. The first band to record the song was the Journeymen, but the song gained more recognition in 1962. When the song was recorded by Paul, Peter, and Mary the song was noticed. In 1963, Bobby Bare recorder the song in his own version. He changed the lyrics and added a monologue.

Bare’s version peaked at No. 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. Furthermore, in 1964, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country song. 500 miles was included in Bare’s top performing album, All American Boy. Reba McEntire and The Seekers covered Bare’s version, while Justine Timberlake covered West’s version of the song.