“If I Die Young” Story Behind the Lyrics – The Band Perry

There is something so morbidly poetic about The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” that I can’t help, but turn it up and listen to it over and over again. Here’s the story behind the lyrics….

Theboot.com  has the story straight from Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry. She says that “If I Die Young” was the first song written for their upcoming album. She along with her 2 brothers,  Reid and Neil (also in the band), got together on a cloudy day in East Tennessee, where they live, and came up with the concept and then turned it into a song.  The meaning of the song is simple, it’s about making the most of whatever time you are given, whether it’s 2 years or 20 years. She goes on to says that even at their young ages they have all lived and loved and if it all ends at this moment, look what they’ve gotten to do. “Whatever time we’re given will be absolutely enough as long as we make the most of it”. I like the song even more now!

The Band Perry “If I Die Young” Lyrics

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
oh oh oh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain’t always what you think it ought to be, no
ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
oh oh

The ballad of a dove
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket
Save them for a time when your really gonna need ’em oh

The sharp knife of a short life, well
I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls

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  • megan

    SOOOOOOOOOO LUV THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY FAVE!?!?! I

    • lanaya

      i didn’t hear that band before?

  • megan


  • Dayna

    i think this song is the single most beautiful song ever! it amazes me how song people can be so poetic and deep!

    • bob

      after 42 years of life and now facing an early death due to my choices i have never had a song touch my heart so deeply

      • Peggy

        What do you mean by youro choices??
        I am in stage 4 kidney failure and think about the same thing a lot. I could just take medication that makes kidneys shut down.
        Not sure if that would be suicide, wouldn’t hurt family as much if they did not know I did that.

      • Christopher

        bob I am so sorry to hear about your early death. I hope that the rest of your life on this earth is great and wonderful. And you find peace within yourself. We all make choices. Just know that you are always loved. Sending you Peace

      • owen2011

        Peggy, dont know you darlin but if you are still with us…and I hope you are…as some one who has had a loved one die and didnt know why till much later…I would rahter know all the details …even though you may think that would be too painful it is far less than waking up to a shock and not have been able to be there with your loved one through their final days…It is hard to watch those you care about die, but at least you were able to be with them and hold their hand or pick at them or bug them or what ever…share a favorite movie together or idk…..just know that you mean so much to them and I am sure they love you deeply…life is a gift we never know when that gift may expire but it is to be shared with all….nearly lost my mom when she was 29 and myself when I was 26…if it was not for hope and God my new baby would have never been born and I would have lost my mom at age 6….I know you are or must be suffering but hold on…if you are already gone know your life made a difference and an impact..God bless you sweetheart…you are so brave..and BOB dont beat yourself up darlin, just from now on make the best of tthe time you do have left let this song help and heal you and inspire you to press on. <3

  • Heather

    I love this song so amazing

    Plus it help me figure out what to write for homework :)

    • katie


  • ale

    I love this song!!!!!!!!!
    It’s sooooo good!!

  • heather

    i love this song
    it has so much meaning put into it
    you guys probably touched alot of people with the making of it.

  • Vickttoyia

    i love this sooooonnnnnggggg

  • Meghen

    I LOVE THIS SONG SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!! SHE HAS A BEAUTIFUL VOICE!!!!! My mother thinks that this song is a sad song but it’s not and it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • terri johnson

      same with me my mom doesent whant me to lisen to it but i put it on my mp3 and lisen to it on the bus shhhhhhhhhhhhh dont tell my mom. y does your mom think it is sad

  • martha

    What does the sharp knife have to do with the song???

    • Robert

      I believe the sharp knife refers to the pain caused by someone you love dieing to young

      • Alee

        or that her life was cut short

      • Kely

        After loosing my daughter when she was 18, I believe the sharp knife is for the ones that were left behind to deal with missing their loved ones. They are the ones who feel the sharp knife.

      • http://www.youtube.com Marcella

        i agree:):):):)

    • Mikaila

      the sharp knife symbolises how it is painful for others to see someone soo young die. Especially if they are older than you because you are gone and they are still living.

      • Lena

        If someone dies young its sad but I lost my dad when he was 51 and I was 9 and it didn’t make it anyless sad that he was older. The songs beautiful and this is my only problem with it. She has the most beautiful voice I have heard in a long time.

  • katie

    a sharp knife simply has to do with how they could die after they had their time doing whatever and making it your best! but i love this song! the kimberly, neil, and reid were all so nice when i met them! this is also one of my favorite songs! it helped me with my homework as well! cant wait for the band perry to have another great song! but all their songs are great! they all have great voices :)

  • saints#9

    A girl at my school named Angelle Ulfers died yesterday in a car accident. She was a Junior at St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, LA. She was the most beautiful person ever and she was so popular people in all grades loved her. The part about the boy reminds me of her and boyfriend Mason. They played this last night at our prayer service for her.

    • aLpHa

      im SOO SORRY!!! i no that must hurt…

      • ally

        i LOVE this song in music class we have to wright a report on a band and a song thats meaningful to us and i chose if i die young i love it so much my friend caressa her aunt died a few weekes ago she was only 20 it was so sad she died in a car accident the car raped around a tree caressa cries every time she haers this song poor caressa she still haveing trouble about it to

  • Jennifer

    (to Martha) the lyrics are, “the sharp knife of a short life”. If you notice that phrase is put after lyrics like “Ain’t even gray, but she buries her baby” and “There’s a boy here in town, says he’ll love me forever. Who would have thought forever would be severed by..” Basically the “sharp knife” is symbolic to the pain one feels when losing someone they love. Like a mother losing her child, or a person losing someone they are in love with, especially at a young age.

    I absolutely love this song. Losing someone can be so hard and this song is helping me get through my loss. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know that I am selfish when someone dies and only think about how sad I am. But this puts a new perspective, that person had their time and was able to have the time to make a memory for me to keep in my heart. It’s enough to make a lasting impression, even if its only to one heart.

    • Monica

      “But this puts a new perspective, that person had their time and was able to have the time to make a memory for me to keep in my heart. It’s enough to make a lasting impression, even if its only to one heart.”

      Thank you for this. I just lost my aunt and while she wasn’t young by mosts standards (59) I felt as if I didn’t get enough time with her and her loss was very sudden. Her heart stopped beating in her sleep. I heard this song the morning after her passing and broke down crying. I couldn’t understand why this touched me so much but I am guessing it is because as you said it makes me realize she had her time and although short I have her here with me forever. It brings some kind of comfort to me to listen to this song.

  • linda

    i love this song!!! its means so much to me after losing my father wheni was 9 <33

    • shierly

      i love this song too,everytime i hear it i remember my father who died last nov 9 2010,because of acute pancreatitis,i was hurt when he died and think that its the end of my world..i see him at the hospital and i feel how painful what he feel’s,,,it breaks my heart to see him in that way,,i wish that im on his situation…i love you so much “papa” till we meet again…i miss u so much..

  • Buggy

    I love this song, its dark but beautiful. It makes you stop and think, about what youve done, what you want to do, and weither your happy with what youve accomplished. Its hard to find music now adays that makes you think about life, not love, or money, or work, but life and your place in it. deffanitly one of my favorite bands and songs.

  • bri

    someday i’m going to be a singer and dancer i love this song.

  • kristina

    i love this song and you should a love this song to because its a true song meaning the story behind it is true ( life your life as if its the last ) once i read this i truly fell in love with this song even more

  • denese

    I have recently lost a very close friend who was only 17 to a car crash. I ha never heard this song before until the day after her funeral. I love this song it has so much meaning to it. Thank you for that song I really needed it!!!

  • Cassnadra Yinger

    I just saw & met them two weeks ago and I will be a fan for life. Really sweet girl. She said to her brothers about me, ” She’s so nice. What a nice lady.” They deserve all the success in the world. I bought their cd today when it came out. Please do the same. I’ve had three friends die young that the song reminds me of. I had one friend I worked with who was shot & killed at 19, protecting his friends. His killer only spent 2 yrs in jail. I had a friend from high school who died in a workplace explosion 3 days before his wedding, and we had a girl I knew fairly well die in a car crash just a few days before graduation. I think this song will give peace & comfort to many others.

  • jenn

    i cryed.i luve this song

  • stephanie

    i lost a baby whe she was 3 months old-14 years ago-“sharp knife of a short life” is well put when death comes unexpected and life cut so short

    • Amber Wydeven

      How horrible to lose a baby at 3 months old. I cannot imagine your pain. Whether 3 days or 14 years goes by, you always wonder what or where they would be in life. I hope you had the chance to have wonderful babies to watch grow. I know it’s not the same, but my heart goes out to you.

  • Melody Driscoll

    This is my new favorite song! One of my best friends Tristan Shane Keown died on 5-21-10 he wasw 15 years old. it was the first day of summer and this song makes me and all of my friends think of him. This song makes me cry everytime I listen to it but I love it more then any other song I have listened to! R.I.P. Tristan Shane Keown. I love you and miss you too much.

    • http://www.youtube.com Marcella

      I am very sorry for your loss–he will always be with you, you don’t have to miss him;he is in a better place now

  • Melody Driscoll

    and man.. i would do anyhting to be able to meet them… they inspire me…. and they open me up….

  • Judy

    I love this song and believe that it really hits home with me, I have a friend that was killed by her boyfriend in a domestic violence dispute…….this song could have been written for an instance like that as well……..Addalaina was stabbed over 30 times by her boyfriend, and when I hear this song and the lyrics that state “There’s a boy her who says he’d love me forever, who ever thught forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life” It reminds me so much of her…..thanks fo such a great song!!!!

  • alicia

    this song is my favorite song i love listening to it over and over again it amazing

  • Catie

    this song touches me because at the same time you can think about it as a person who was once depressed then you think of this song and you understand that you cant control how long your life is but you can make the most of what time you have. So it might make you think twice on how your living your life and if your living it the way you want to

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