500 Miles

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For the Proclaimers song, see I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

"500 Miles" (also known as "500 Miles Away from Home" or "Railroaders' Lament") is a folk song made popular in the United States and Europe during the 1960s folk revival. The simple repetitive lyrics offer a lament by a traveller who is far from home, out of money and too ashamed to return.


The song is generally credited as being written by Hedy West,[1][2] and a 1961 copyright is held by Atzal Music, Inc.[1] "500 Miles" is West's "most anthologized song."[3] Some recordings have also credited Curly Williams, and/or John Phillips as co-writers.[4] David Neale writes that "500 Miles" may be related to the older folk song, "900 Miles", which may itself have origins in the southern American fiddle tunes "Reuben's Train" and "Train 45".[4][5]

Cover versions[edit]

In other languages[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Blood, Peter and Annie Patterson (eds), Rise Up Singing, Sing Out Corporation, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States, 1992, p.232
  2. ^ Anderson, Yohann (ed), Songs, Songs and Creations, Inc., San Anselmo, California, United States, 1983, p.29
  3. ^ a b Hunt, Ken (3 August 2005). "Obituary: Hedy West". The Independent. Retrieved 17 September 2009. 
  4. ^ a b David Neale, "Elvis Presley: Original Versions of Songs He Sang"
  5. ^ Cohen, Norm (2000). Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong, 2nd Ed.. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 503–517. ISBN 0-252-06881-5. Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  6. ^ answers.com
  7. ^ Allmusic review, Peter, Paul and Mary
  8. ^ "Top Selling Folk Artists". Billboard Magazine (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.): 18. 19 January 1963. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  9. ^ "Hedy West: Songs Composed by", Allmusic
  10. ^ http://www.nonesuch.com/albums/inside-llewyn-davis-lp
  11. ^ "Les Chansons Classées par Nb de Semaines N° 1". Retrieved 2011-12-31. 

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