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Stephen Stills – Treetop Flyer lyrics

I could be a rambler from The Seven Dials
I don't pay taxes 'cause I never file
I don't do business that don't make me smile
I love my aeroplane 'cause she's got style
I'm a treetop flyer

I will fly any cargo that you can pay to run
These bush league pilots, they just can't get the job done
Got to fly down into the canyons, you'll never see the sun
There's no such thing as an easy run
For a treetop flyer

I'm flyin' low, I'm in high demand
Go fifteen feet over the Rio Grande
I'll blow the mesquite right up of off the sand
Seldom seen, especially when I land
I'm a treetop flyer
Born Survivor

People been asking me, "Where'd you learn to fly that way?"
Was over in Vietnam, chasin' nva
The government taught me, and they taught me right,
Stay down, under the treeline, you might be alright
Treetop flyer

So I'm comin' home, I'm runnin' low and fast
I promised my woman this is gonna be my last
I get the shit down, I tie it fast
Then some old boy walks up, and he says
"Hey son want to make some fast cash?"
I'm a treetop flyer

Well there's things I am, and there's things I'm not
I am a smuggler and I could get shot
Aint going to die, I ain't goin' to get caught,
See I'm a flyin' fool, in an aeroplane, just too hot
I'm a treetop flyer
Born survivor

Usually work alone

Lyrics taken from /lyrics/s/stephen_stills/treetop_flyer.html

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Corrected by don_otis

Treetop Flyer meanings

  • U
    + 1
    Are you serious? Lol! No hidden meanings in this one. Stills shoots straight from the barrel. Came back from nam where the us military taught him to fly low below the treeline to keep from being seen and being shot down. Came back to us after war. No job, no money, hell. Not even any admiration or respect for his service. But he did learn one very rare skill over in nam. So he used that skill to become a drug smuggler for hire. Making the fast cash. Large coin. But playing a dangerous game. And knows it. Cuz folks, "easy" money aint never "easy". Could get shot and killed for your cargo or for your pay. These aint exactly eagle scouts you dealin' with in the big time drug game. Hell, you can get shot and killed over rather little even in the small time drug game if you happen to come across a desperate addict. Not to mention the risk of spending the rest of your life in prison. Keep rolling the dice and sooner or later you gonna be dead or in jail son. One or the other. But the guy in this song. In the back of his mind he knows all that to be true. But he takes on that invincible mindset that he is untouchable and aint ever gonna get caught or shot. His woman wants him to quit while he's ahead. But he always just has to take that "one more job" and do "one more run". Addicted to not only the lure of the fast cash. But obviously, also addicted to the adrenalin rush, as well as the ego boost. Very cool song. Great concept and lyrics. Well written, well played, well sung. One of my faves form stills if not my top pick. Rock on people.
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  • U
    There really is what you could call 'hidden' meaning in the song. It is loaded with irony. The lyric speaker -- in this case, the pilot -- has been trained by the government, yet he turns that very training against the government by making a living as a smuggler, not allowing the government to extort a cut of his earnings. This irony reveals part of the hypocrisy of the viet nam war: it was fought by the you. S. To combat communistic, authoritarian government, yet the you. S. Government is itself communistic and authoritarian in some ways. For one thing, it forced young men into military service in viet nam. For another thing, it forces its citizens to pay taxes. The lyric speaker in "treetop flyer" has, by virtue of the you. S. Government's training, managed to truly become free of the authoritarian state: he doesn't pay taxes, and he doesn't do any bidding that he doesn't wish to do ("business that don't make me smile"). Though the speaker operates outside of a government-sanctioned economy that professes to be a free market, he is the one operating in a truly free market, being in "high demand" when he flies under the radar of the state. The striking parallel that brings the song's irony to its zenith: in viet nam, he had to fly low to avoid being gunned down by the nva; in the you. S. , he has to fly low to avoid being taken down by his own government.
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    • U
      + 1
      Are you serious? Lol! No hidden meanings in this one. Stills shoots straight from the barrel. Came... Read more →
    • U
      There really is what you could call 'hidden' meaning in the song. It is loaded with irony. The... Read more →

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