"Black Market Baby" as written by and Kathleen Brennan Tom Waits....
She lives in a house
That's way back off the road
There's a man with a lantern
And he carries her soul
A coal stove and a bed
A skillet and a hound
She drove a camel through a needle
In this sinking boardwalk town

She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

I swang out wide with her
On hell's iron gate
Anything that you wanted
You could have
My eyes say their prayers to her
Sailors ring her bell
The way a moth mistakes a light bulb
For the moon and goes to hell

She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

There's no prayer like desire
There's amnesia in her kiss
She's a swan and a pistol
And she will follow you like this
In Moberly, Missouri
At the Iroquois Hotel
She checked in with the President
And she ran up quite a Bill

She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal
Wants to stay coal

Well, she's whiskey in a teacup
She gives blondes a lousy name
She's a Bonzai Aphrodite
And a ticket back to Spain
She's a hard way to go
And there ain't no way to stop
Everytime you play the red the black is coming up

She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's my black-market baby (she's my baby)
She's a diamond who wants to stay coal (she's my baby)
She wants to stay coal (she's my baby)
My baby wants to stay coal, coal, coal
My baby wants to stay coal


Lyrics submitted by Dr_Colossus

"Black Market Baby" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Black Market Baby song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAnother creepy song.
    gweepson December 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning My 2 cents: "She's a black-market baby; she's a diamond that wants to stay coal" references something that could be brilliant if only it were given time and/or refinement, but is bound and determined to remain dark and dirty. Diamonds and coal are carbon. Diamond comes from coal put under extreme pressure.
    You imagine this woman in the song as a woman who could that be classy, intelligent, and beautiful, but insists on being a sort of a dangerous, unwholesome, low-level prostitute. She does "check in with the president" but she does it at the "Iroquois Hotel" in "Moberly, Missouri." Moberly, MO is not the kind of place classy hookers hang out. It is not the kind of place a president would be allowed to stay in. I actually WORK in Moberly, Missouri and can tell you that it is itself a "black market baby - A diamond that wants to stay coal." Any resident there can tell you that many people have tried to improve the community, the school system etc..., but the mindset of the place aims at mediocrity. If Tom Waits chose this town simply because it had the right poetic sound, he also lucked out by choosing a town that reinforced his metaphor.
    undergroundhoundon March 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds like he recorded it in a haunted house.
    HatFullaRainon June 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI haven't really thought about any deeper meaning of the lyrics, but this song always sends chills down my spine.
    GriZzmoon April 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^^^That's funny. I'd never thought about that. I DID, however, think of the supposed Marilyn Monroe/JFK link and its alleged possible involvement in her Death.
    SocietysPlierson August 19, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General CommentIt's probably my filthy mind, but I still think that when Waits sings "She checked in with the President/& she ran up quite a bill" he's making an unspeakably lewd reference to Mr Clinton.
    morbid moragon May 17, 2008   Link

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