"Streets Of London" as written by and Ralph Mc Tell....
Have you seen the old man in the closed down market
Picking up the papers with his worn out shoes
In his eyes you see no pride and hanging loosely at his side
Yesterdays paper, telling yesterdays news
So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old dear who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags
She's no time for talking, she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home, in two carrier bags
So how can you tell me you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

And in the all night cafe at a quarter past eleven
Same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world over the rim of his teacup
And each tea lasts an hour and he wanders home alone
So how can you tell me that you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old man outside the seaman's mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
And in the winter city, the rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero, and a World that doesn't care
So how can you tell me that you're lonely
And say for you that the sun don't shine
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Streets of London" as written by Ralph Mc Tell

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Streets Of London song meanings
Add your thoughts

16 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentI think the 2 previous people misunderstand the lyrics to this song. The song isn't expressing how wonderful London is to cheer you up but instead that London (or in fact any large City) provides you with all that is best and worst. In this case it highlights the downtrodden, the tramps, the vagabonds.
    It is a another song that reflects that however bad your life is - your delf-loathing, or feeling of worthlessness (whether it be following the loss of a loved one or just feeling pity for yourself) there is always someone worse of than you, and as such you should pick yourself up, find the hope to carry-on. A traditional folk song that is very much still relevant today as it was 100 years ago.
    CharmingManon February 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto me it sounds as if the singer is talking to someone spoilt, they dont realise how good their life is, so they assume its bad. the singer could be saying, hey look around you, almost saying grow up. look how much worse it can be. this is particularly illustrated in the chorus, with the let me take you by the hadn and lead you through the streets of london... etc

    i doubt it would be aimed at a poor or struggling person, as it would illustrate that their lives are hopeless.

    just my ten cents, but it makes sense
    aidan1233on July 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationEveryone is interpreting this song wrong. Yes its about the homeless, but its not about seeing how much better our lives are than the homeless. The last stanza truly explains what this song is about:

    And have you seen the old man - An aged man.

    Outside the seaman's mission - He's by the water or the port

    His memory is fading, - He's old

    With those metal ribbons he wears (its METAL ribbons , not medal) - Wait... he's by the port and seaman's mission, and has fading metal ribbons? Seems as if he was a sea captain at one point! You can tell he was of high stature, because the lyrics say RIBBONS, not RIBBON (meaning he had more than one). And in the navy, aren't ribbons awards? Could he have been famous?

    And in our winter city, - Filler text, just to give a more gloomy atmosphere

    the rain cries a little pity - Symbolizes that people feel pity to this man (or if people don't then the rain does!)

    For one more forgotten hero - FORGOTTEN HERO!?!? I think that cemented the fact that he was at one point a navy captain or something like that! He was a hero, someone who changed lives and maybe even fought in wars! But he was forgotten??? Well, maybe the last line will help us.

    And a world that doesn't care - Ahhh... see? Even though he did so much, everyone just took him for granted and doesn't care about him anymore, he's just another old man, homeless, and forgotten.

    I hope you understood what I wrote here!
    bowiz2on January 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeautiful.
    makes me want to live a better life.
    moomoosnakeon December 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song says so much in one go. I love it, it makes me feel so much better about life. Strange for an 18 year old, but true. Never lived in London, but I sure as hell would love to.
    shaffywaffyon January 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a sad, sad song about oppression, and the lost of individuality that one has when in the big city, but at the same time there is a tiny ray of sunshine, because when u hear it, you almost feel better because your life, no matter how shit it is, has something that the people in this song don't have
    Pixie_dust_tton May 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this song alot but somhgow it doesn't quite fit like all the verses have totally different guitar rythems
    indeedon June 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment..I think although setting the song in London, Ralph based the song from his experiences in Paris.
    CharmingManon November 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really despise this song. First of all, they made us sing it in school over and over again, but first and foremost because of the lyrics. If I interpret it right, this guy is basically saying "Quit complaining about your life, these people suffer more than you do!", which is such a massive demonstration of stupidity and lack of psychological understanding. If you think a beggar necessarily suffers more than anyone in the world, you are pretty close-minded in my opinion.
    Stormalvon December 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really despise this song. First of all, they made us sing it in school over and over again, but first and foremost because of the lyrics. If I interpret it right, this guy is basically saying "Quit complaining about your life, these people suffer more than you do!", which is such a massive demonstration of stupidity and lack of psychological understanding. If you think a beggar necessarily suffers more than anyone in the world, you are pretty close-minded in my opinion.
    Stormalvon December 04, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain