Answering my own questions since 2001

What Lyrics Would You Tattoo on Your Arm?

I’ve watched a couple episodes of Lost, an ABC show about plane crash victims surviving on a deserted tropical island with some weird secrets. I was going to describe it as original, but then I remembered that show with Ginger and the Professor. Regardless, it’s not utterly crap, the setting is lovely, and the cast is fetching.

In the last episode I watched, I noticed that Dominic Monaghan (formerly Merry in the Lord of the Rings movies) had some words tattooed on his upper arm. They read “living is easy, with eyes closed”. That, of course, is a lyric from the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever. In a world of celtic and Asian characters tattooed on backs everywhere, I thought that was pretty cool. It got me thinking what lyrics I’d get put on my arm:

  • “A man in a crisis falls back on what he knows best. A murderer to murderer, a thief to theft.” By the Cowboy Junkies, and a bit long, really.
  • “Memories are just dead men making trouble.” The Junkies, quoting a poet (EM Forster, maybe?). Sounds tough, but not quite me.
  • “I started out on burgundy, but soon the harder stuff.” From Bob Dylan. Too bad I don’t drink.
  • “We sit here stranded, though we’re all doing our best to deny it.” Again Dylan, again too long.
  • “I’m the first mammal to make plans.” Pearl Jam. It’s got a certain pithiness.
  • “Just take what you need and leave the rest.” From The Band. A nice sentiment, but a bit obvious.
  • “Shakespeare, you’re a drunken savage.” I like the absurdity of it, and the fact that it’s by the nation’s favourite rock band, the Hip. That’s the closest I’ve gotten to something I might, in some parallel universe, tattoo on my arm.

What song lyric would you tattoo on your arm?

789 Responses to “What Lyrics Would You Tattoo on Your Arm?”

  1. Hannah

    Ah, I absolutely cannot pick!

    “Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.”
    “Deliver me from evil.”
    “As long as I breathe, I hope.”
    “Set me free.” (with a dove)
    “The night is darkest just before the dawn.”
    “And what they don’t tell you in church, is saints are sinners too.”

    Feedback please. Thanks. :)

  2. Katherine

    My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder. jeff buckley :) i have these lyrics on my back (shoulder) in white ink

  3. Riley

    Lou Reed is the man. I always loved that VU song Candy Says and the line ‘what do you think I’d see, if I could walk away from me?’ rad falsetto, worthy of a tattoo i reck. Or, ‘I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.’ CAuse the beatles are fucking awesome.

    LiLau Reply:

    ‘what do you think I’d see,
    if I could walk away from me?’

    Wow. This is brilliant. I love it!

  4. Mat

    “You cant destroy what isn’t there…”
    A slight variation on a lyric from “Snuff by Slipknot”
    I quite like it, and it means something to me

  5. Tim

    Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift his eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here. TOOL- Right in two. Off 10000 Days, this will be my first tattoo.

  6. Dan

    A change of speed, A change of style. A change of scene, with no regrets.

    A New Dawn Fades Joy Division

    I’ve been contemplating this for around 6 moths but my Girlfriend isn’t keen on it!

  7. Dan

    “A change of speed, A change of style. A change of scene, with no regrets.”

    A New Dawn Fades – Joy Division

    I’ve been contemplating this for around 6 months but my Girlfriend isn’t keen on it!

    (Apologies for the double post)

  8. LiLau

    I already have 2 tattoos including a half sleeve I got 2 years ago. For my next tattoo, I wanted “LET IT BE” from the Beatles on my wrist as I went through lots of bad times this past 3-4 years and even if it stressed me beyond words, everything eventually got better even if it was out of my control. Basically I am learning to trust life a bit more.

    Only, “LET IT BE” seems to be more and more popular :/ so I will probably get “There will be an answer” instead (still lyrics from Let it be). Or perhaps “There will be an answer” in black ink and under it “Let it be” in white ink.

    I’m not 100% sure so I’ll keep thinking about it for now. For sure, I plan to put it on my lower arm, under my half-sleeve.

  9. angela

    “troubles will come and they will pass.” -simple man by lynyrd skynyrd.

  10. emily

    im getting my first tattoo in a couple of months when i turn 18.
    im either getting
    “take these broken wings and learn to fly” – blackbird by the beatles
    or
    “we all live our lives
    in chains
    and we never even know
    we have the key” – already gone by the eagles
    i cant decide

  11. Ari

    I’ve got “Hey Ho Let’s Go” tattooed across my inner biceps. It’s readable when I hold my arms out with my palms up. It may seem silly, but I got it because it was a kind of battle cry for a military unit I was in. In essence, it’s like a positive affirmation for me.

    Another great lyric that is really long, but that I think would make a great tattoo comes from the Drive By Truckers song “The Opening Act”:

    “And it’s all such a fleeting thing, so I guess we best try to enjoy it. All this beauty and just enough time to figure out how to destroy it.”

    That lyric has always stuck with me and I think it’s incredibly profound.

  12. Nic

    I’ve got lyrics from the Edith Phiaff song tattooed on my arm. It says ‘Je ne regrette rien’, translation; I have no regrets.

    I still love it.

  13. Honey

    Up through the cracks
    Up through the broken glass
    In the hot red light of the black and white
    Roses grow

    -Concrete Blonde

  14. Lia

    “the sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful, and so are you” – the beatles

    “your skin and bones turnin into something beautiful” – coldplay

    “you will see your beauty every moment that you rise” – the hush sound

    “this was the earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. here was no man’s garden, but the unhandselled globe.” – henry david thoreau

    “a robin redbreast in a cage puts all heaven in a rage” probably wouldn’t get this one, but it’s a nice quote.

    “you didn’t get to heaven, but you made it close” – coldplay

    “life is sweet in the belly of the beast” – death cab for cutie

    “i want to live where soul meets body and let the sun wrap its arms around me” – death cab

    “i wish we could open our eyes and see in all directions at the same time, oh what a beautiful view if you were never aware of what was around you” – death cab

    “lights will guide you home & ignite your bones” – coldplay

    “and miles to go before i sleep, and miles to go before i sleep” – robert frost

    “our breath stirs the waters” – r. kees

    “there will be thunder, then. remember me. say ‘she asked for storms.’ the entire world will turn the color of crimson stone, and your heart, as then, will turn to fire.” – anna ahkmatova

    “let your love grow tall” – passion pit

    “it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off” – florence + the machine

    “the life we give to beauty returns to us again” – bliss carmen

    just a few ideas!

  15. Debbie

    I would like a Simon and Garfunkel lyric – they are my heros and were my mums I have narrrowed it down to a few:

    “When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you”

    “Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you”

    “I stand alone without beliefs”

    “The only truth I know is you”

    “My thoughts are a million miles away. They lie with you when you are asleep”

    “Hello darkness, my old friend”

    “Hear my words that I might teach you”

    “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls”

    “Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly? How terribly strange to be seventy”

    “Memory brushes the same years. Silently sharing the same fears”

    “Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken and many times confused. Yes and I’ve often felt forsaken and certainly misused”

    “You can’t be forever blessed”

  16. David

    “Face your chaos, know who you are”
    From Heaven Send by Devin Townsend, although i may change “know” to “show” as he does later in the song.

    “Be patient.
    I must keep reminding myself of this.

    And if there were no rewards to reap,
    No loving embrace to see me through
    This tedious path I’ve chosen here,
    I certainly would’ve walked away by now.
    And I still may.

    Gonna wait it out.” From “The Patient” by Tool
    have to cut that down a bit obviously

    “Embrace this moment, remember: we are eternal, all this pain is an illusion” – Parabola, Tool

    also, thinking possibly some buddhist prayers on my back

  17. J.Me

    “And the kind and courteous is a life I’ve heard
    But it’s nice to say that we played in the dirt”

    -Jason Mraz, Beautiful Mess

  18. Lil' Will

    “come on baby in our dreams, we can live our misbehaviour” – Rebellion (Lies), Arcade Fire

  19. Marie

    I am getting “Everybody’s got a darks side” from Kelly Clarkson around my wrist like a bracelet.

  20. Georgina

    what do u thing about “i will find my way to happiness” and “neverending hope”

    whixh one is better?

  21. Dzjeff

    When you see me, please, turn your back and walk away
    I don’t want to see you ’cause I know the dreams that you keep, is where we meet…

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