Sweet Sister Ray went to a movie
that had come around
It was the biggest movie
that had ever come to town

Why this is the weirdest movie
I've seen in my days
I've never seen a stranger film anywhere

Why I must be dead
'cause I never felt this way ailve
Oh I've never felt this way
since nineteen fifty-five
Just then Sister Ray
felt a hand on her knee
[I'm] a young crippled orphan
and I come here constantly

Why it's just like a mental hospital
those don't have any locks
Just then comes in the doctor
giving us electroshocks

All the vaseline on your forehead
makes you feel so nice
My hair stood up on end
and I thought I'd been froze(?) with a knife
Oh I'm so pretty
purple earrings and all
No one knew you were crazy
That you told 'em

Just then I saw
a hole in the ground
And I jumped right in
'cause there was no one around

[long instrumental break into "Sister Ray"]

(Transcribed from original recording; La Cave, Cleveland, 28 April, 1968)


Lyrics submitted by Cynothoglys

Sweet Sister Ray song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentbahbahmakr, as stated at the end of the lyrics, this is from a live performance in Cleveland, 1968. It is available on many bootlegs, including one that is also called "Sweet Sister Ray." I also have a multi-CD bootleg set that has it (it's either the Sarchin' For My Mainline bootleg, or Caught Between the Twisted Stars).
    leamancon July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentStream of consciousness intro to "Sister Ray". It's about the title character, I believe a crossdressing heroin dealer. Lou would just make it up as he went along. Similar lyrics appear on the lost song "Sweet Rock 'n' Roll", a.k.a. "Sister Ray Part 2". There was also a "Sister Ray Part 3". Both sounded totally different from the original, as does "Sweet Sister Ray". Part 2 was dolorous, kind of "Venus in Furs"-ish according to Lester Bangs, part 3 starting totally insane and slowing down slowly but surely until it started to sound like the original.
    Cynothoglyson July 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone know what album/recording this if from? I'd love to hear it.
    bahbahmakron September 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentis*

    not if
    bahbahmakron September 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd really like to hear this. These are honestly some of Lou Reed's most interesting lyrics, improvised though they may be. I've never heard him allude to his own electroshock treatment in a song before.
    timbrewolfon July 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI found this, but I can't find the sister ray that should go with it, it's a bit frustrating when it cuts off, anyone know where to find it?
    Luthanderon September 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI need to find this!
    othatzsokewlon October 08, 2009   Link

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