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These chains of sorrow, they are heavy, it is true
And these locks cannot be broken,
no, not with one thousand keys
O Jailer, you drag a ball-n-chain you cannot see
You can lay your burden on me
You can lay your burden down on me
You can lay your burden down upon me
But you cannot lay down your memory

Woooo wooo wooo
Woooo wooo wooo
Here I go!
Knockin on Joe!
This square foot of sky will be mine til I die
Knocking on Joe
Woooo wooo wooo
All down the row
Knockin on Joe

O Warden I surrender to you
Your fists can't hurt me anymore
You know, these hands will never mop
your dirty Death Row floors
O Preacher, come closer, you don't scare me anymore
Just tell Nancy not to come here
Just tell her not to come here anymore
Tell Nancy not to come
And let me die in the memory of those arms

O woo woo woo
Woo woo woo
All down the row
Knockin on Joe
O you kings of halls and ends of halls
You will die within these walls
And I'll go, down the row
Knockin on Joe

O Nancy's body is a coffin,
she wears my tombstone at her head
O Nancy's body is a coffin,
she wears my tombstone at her head
She wears her body like a coffin
She wears a dress of gold and red
She wears a dress of gold and red
She wears a dress of red and gold
Grave-looters at my coffin
before my body's even cold

It's a door for when I go
Knockin on Joe
These hands will never mop
your dirty Death Row floors
No! You can hide! You can run!
O but your trial is yet to come
O you can run! You can hide!
But you have yet to be tried!
You can lay your burdens down here
You can lay your burden down
Knockin on Joe
You can lay your burden upon me
You can lay your burden upon me
Knockin on Joe
You can lay it down here
You can bring your burden down
Knockin on Joe
You can't hurt me anymore
You can't hurt me anymore
Knockin on Joe