Warren Zeiders – “Ride the Lightning – 717 Tapes” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

In Warren Zeiders’ “Ride the Lightning – 717 Tapes”, the journey of an individual’s life with all its trials, tribulations, and moments of thrill is brought to light. The song is about embracing our innate ‘wild side’ and living life fearlessly, yet responsibly.

It uses vivid imagery to portray the risk-taking nature of life and how it often feels like riding lightning – thrilling yet potentially dangerous. The character in the song faces a constant struggle between taming his fiery spirit and giving in to his instincts, living on the edge, a delicate balance symbolized by standing at a crossroads.

Continue reading as we dive deep into the thrilling verses of “Ride the Lightning – 717 Tapes”, peeling back layers of meaning and emotion to reveal the core of Zeiders’ powerful lyrics.

“Ride the Lightning – 717 Tapes” Lyrics Meaning

Zeiders opens the song with a line about the dichotomy that exists within him – “Mama always said I was born on the wild side. One foot in the flames and the other trying to walk the line”. This line conveys his struggle to maintain a balance between his reckless side and his need to conform. The flames can be seen as his wild spirit, while walking the line symbolizes following society’s norms.

When he sings, “Can’t say I never saw it coming, I could see the warning signs”, he acknowledges his awareness of the risks involved in living life on the edge. Yet, he chooses to “ride the lightning”, a metaphor for living life fearlessly, embracing its unpredictability and potential dangers, akin to riding a lightning bolt. He faces the potential pitfalls (“‘Til the darkness pulls me under”) but is also hopeful that his journey will lift him higher.

The repeated chorus “Singing, “”Oh, when they call me home” may refer to his eventual fate, acknowledging mortality while remaining steadfast in his decision to live life to the fullest.

The second verse presents a classic symbol of a crossroads and a man in a black coat, an age-old depiction of coming face-to-face with death or fate. The character in the song confronts this figure, praying that he can continue his journey, his ‘lightning ride’, undeterred.

As we analyze these lyrics, it’s clear that Zeiders has crafted an ode to a life lived fearlessly. His words are an anthem for those who strive to embrace their ‘wild side’ while navigating the challenges of life. He reminds us that our time here is finite, urging us to embrace our journey, face our fears, and ‘ride the lightning’.

The Story Behind “Ride the Lightning – 717 Tapes”

Zeiders wrote this song at a time when he was grappling with the realities of life, acknowledging the inherent risks of his decisions and coming to terms with his own mortality. His state of mind was one of acceptance and rebellion, a mix of defiance and surrender. His wild side compelled him to take risks and live life on the edge, but he also understood the need for balance, the ‘walking the line’. This song was his way of reconciling these contrasting aspects of his personality and life.