"Reeperbahn" as written by and Kathleen Brennan Tom Waits....
Around the curve of The Parrot Bar
A broken-down old movie star
Hustling and Easterner
Bringing out the beast in her
A high dive on a swimming pool
Filled with needles and with fools
The memories are short but the tales are long
When you're in the Reeperbahn

Oh, they called her Rosie when she was a girl
For her bright red cheeks and her strawberry curls
When she would laugh the river would run
She said she'd be a comedian
Oh what a pity, oh what a shame
When she said, ‘come calling’, nobody came
Now her bright red cheeks are painted on
And she's laughing her head off in the Reeperbahn

Now little Hans was always strange
Wearing womens underthings
His father beat him but he wouldn't change
He ran off with a man one day
Now his lingerie is all the rage
In the black on every page
His father proudly calls his name
Down there in the Reeperbahn

Now if you've lost your inheritance
And all you've left is common sense
And you're not too picky about the crowd you keep
Or the mattress where you sleep
Behind every window, behind every door
The apple has gone but there's always the core
And the seeds will sprout up right through the floor
Down there in the Reeperbahn

Down there in the Reeperbahn

Down there in the Reeperbahn


Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce

Reeperbahn song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentthe reeperbahn is the red light district in hamburg/germany. definetly a mythological thing...
    evilbooon March 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanyone knows if Reeperbahn is some kind of hell related to some kind of mythology? or he just made up the term?
    extremely cool song, though
    PiKueloon March 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the best line in this whole song is "the apple's gone, but there's always the core." If I had to condense the song to one line, that would be it. It says it all.
    Yaggaion April 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hadn't heard this song in a while and one day, it just kinda struck me to listen to it for some unknown reason.

    It frightened me.

    I never got that sensation before, but the more I think about it, the more downright scary this song is. Everything about it, all the stories of strange people living in the Reeperbahn, the delivery, the arrangement, the chords... it's assembled so well that it sends shivers down my spine in a way that few (if any) other songs have.
    el_admanon February 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hadn't heard this song in a while and one day, it just kinda struck me to listen to it for some unknown reason.

    It frightened me.

    I never got that sensation before, but the more I think about it, the more downright scary this song is. Everything about it, all the stories of strange people living in the Reeperbahn, the delivery, the arrangement, the chords... it's assembled so well that it sends shivers down my spine in a way that few (if any) other songs have.
    el_admanon February 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe first girl had been a movie star that started taking drugs, and lost everything. She could now only get money by hustling unsuspecting tourists and visitors. Based on drug induced trips she could not remember very much, but she could always describe what she though she experienced. The next girl was born with a bright future. She was very pretty and very funny. All she wanted was to become a comedian, but when no one wanted her in the act or ever gave her any call backs for spots in a show, she simply gave up and went mad. The last boy was gay. He made his own line of lingerie because he enjoyed it, but his dad did not want a gay child and beat him. His boy then found another boy who loved him so they ran away from his abusive father to a nicer place. When he grew up his lingerie became famous and the dad now recognized the boys greatness, but far to late because the boy had no intention of going back for him. The last bit is trying to say that if your bad in life, life will be bad to you and stick you with all the others because just like them, your not worth it.
    Landesson February 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's a song about aspiration and how success is largely governed by luck.
    BarnabyHugheson October 13, 2015   Link

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