Wrong Way by Sublime

“Wrong Way”  Released in 1996

Annie’s 12 years old, in two more she’ll be a whore
Nobody ever told her it’s the wrong way
Don’t be afraid with the quickness you’ll get laid
For your family get paid
It’s the wrong way
I gave her all that I had to give
I’m gonna make it hard to live
(Big) salty tears running down to her chin
And it ruins up her make-up
I never wanted
A cigarette pressed between her lips
But I’m staring at her tits
It’s the wrong way
Strong if I can, but I am only a man
So I take her to the can
It’s the wrong way
The only family that she’s ever had
Is her seven horny brothers and a drunk-ass dad
He needed money so he put her on the street
Everything was going fine until the day she met me
Happy are you sad, wanna shoot your dad
I’ll do anything I can
It’s the wrong way
We talk all night, try to make it right
Believe me shit was tight
It was the wrong way
So run away if you wanna stay
Cause I ain’t here to make ya, oh no
It’s up to you what you really wanna do
Spend some time in America
Dub style!
She’ll give you all that she got to give
But I’m gonna make it hard to live
Big salty tears rollin’ down to her chin
And it smears up her make-up
I never wanted
So we ran away
And I’m sorry when I say, that straight to this very day
It was the wrong way
She took a hike it don’t matter if I like it or not
Because she only wants the wrong way
I gave her all that I had to give
But she still wouldn’t take it, oh no
Her two brown eyes are leaking like a sieve
But it still ruins her make-up
I never wanted



    This song refers to Annie, a 12-year-old girl soon to be forced into a life of prostitution by her “drunk-ass” dad. The narrator of the song, sexually attracted to Annie, removes her from the situation, but she ultimately leaves him as well.

In our interview with Sublime bass player Eric Wilson, he said, “‘Wrong Way’ is about a girl that we knew in Long Beach. It’s almost a true story.”

Sublime released two albums on their own label before getting a deal with MCA, but lead singer Brad Nowell died of a drug overdose two months before their major-label debut was issued.

“What I Got” was sent to American radio stations, and did surprisingly well considering there was no band to promote it. Slowly, listeners were turned on to Sublime, and the album eventually sold over 5 million copies.

“Wrong Way” was the third single promoted to radio (following “Santeria”), and it peaked on the Billboard Airplay chart in August 1997, about a year after Nowell’s death.

Since MCA preferred $16 albums over $2 singles, “Wrong Way” and the other songs on the album were not made available for sale in America, which made them ineligible for the Hot 100 chart according to Billboard rules.

The surviving members of the band made a video for this song after Nowell’s death. Directed by Gregory Dark and Josh Fischel, Bijou Phillips stars as the girl in the song, Annie. [Bijou was 17 when she stared in this music video]

wrong way sublime bijou philips

“Wrong Way” is featured in the video game Aggressive Inline. (thanks, Conrad – Austin, TX)

The line, “big salty tears rolling down to her chin” is a reference to a song called “Big Salty Tears” by The Ziggens, a band that was signed to Sublime’s Skunk Records.


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