"Tattoo" as written by David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen....
Tattoo, tattoo

I got Elvis on my elbow.
When I flex, Elvis talks.
I got hula girls on the back of my leg.
And she hulas when I walk.

Screaching cherry red
Screamin' electric green
Purple mountain's majesty
Really talk to me. Talk to me, babe.

Swap meet Sally, tramp stamp Kat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo.
Tattoo, tattoo

(Tattoo, tattoo) Show me your dragon magic.
(Tattoo, tattoo) So autobiographic.

Best believe that needle won't hurt you.
Best to see these true colors, than to follow one of your false virtues.

Here's a secret to make you think:
Why is the crazy stuff we never say, poetry in ink?
Speaking dayglow red,
Explode-o pink, purple mountain's majesty
Show me you, I'll show you me.

Swap meet Sally
Tramp stamp Kat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo.
Tattoo, tattoo.

(Tattoo, tattoo) Sexy dragon magic.
(Tattoo, tattoo) So very autobiographic.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Got a hold on me.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Put a spell on me.

Uncle Danny, had a coal tattoo
He fought for the unions
Some of us still do.
On my shoulder is the number
Of the chapter he was in.
That number is forever
Like the struggle here to win.

(Everybody!) Swap meet Sally
Tramp stamp Kat
Mousewife to momshell in the time it takes to get that new tattoo.
Tattoo, tattoo.

(Tattoo, tattoo) Sexy dragon magic.
(Tattoo, tattoo) So very autobiographic.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Got a hold on me.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Put a spell on me.
(Tattoo, tattoo) I'm in love with you.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Show me me, show me you.
(Tattoo, tattoo) Look at me, look at you (Tattoo, tattoo)


Lyrics submitted by sepultura1987, edited by Joe Momma

"Tattoo" as written by David Lee Roth Alex Van Halen

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Tattoo song meanings
Add your thoughts

3 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Commentnot a bad song but nothing like their old stuff, but what I really want to know is what the hell "mousewife to momshell" means. Anyone got any guesses?
    SpunkySkunk347on February 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like old DLR-era Van Halen to me, without the long, tapping solo. Fat, crunchy guitars. Its a funny song ("housewife to bombshell in the time it took to get a new tattoo") with a serious turn at the end.
    franklintitanon February 12, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think there's a lot more to this songs lyrics than first meet the eye.

    The first stanza really just kind of sets the scene, from the point of view of DLR who grew up listening to old rock 'n' roll, making Elvis and Hula Girls personally relevant enough to him to get a tattoo. Being able to make your ink move is a conversation starter.

    First pre-chorus is again pretty simple. Just different ways of describing bright colours like "Screaching cherry red" or "Purple mountain's majesty". He closes it by saying "Really talk to me. Talk to me, babe." The verse and pre-chorus are him trying to start a conversation. I think DLR is playing the part of the tattoo artist who loves his job. His customer is a shy and reserved woman, thinking about getting a tattoo to help express herself, and he wants to help bring her out of her shell.

    The chorus is a little more cryptic, but it's probably my favourite part. "Swamp meet Sally" and "Tramp stamp Kat" are the sort of hurtful nicknames used to ridicule women with tattoos, which are still often seen as unladylike. "Mousewife to momshell in the time it took to get that new tattoo." That's my favourite line in the song. "Mousewife" refers to being timid and obedient, combining the words 'mouse' and 'housewife'. "Momshell" explores the concept of a settled woman retaining both her femininity and independence, as well as her self-respect, and that these things aren't mutually exclusive (combining the words 'mom' and 'bombshell'). By getting the tattoo she wants she is breaking down a barrier that society and outdated expectations put in front of her.

    The next lines lead into the next verse. "Show me your dragon magic. So autobiographic." Again, showing DLR's interest in tattoos and what they mean to their owners, autobiographic meaning a story centred around the life of the author.

    "Best believe that needle won't hurt you. Best to see these true colors, than to follow one of your false virtues."
    If something is personal to you and you want to get a tattoo to remind you of it, then do it. That's DLR's message. Ignore the stigma perpetuated by snobs.

    "Here's a secret to make you think: Why is the crazy stuff we never say, poetry in ink?" A picture tells a thousand words, as they say. A tattoo can be a way of saying the things we can't put into words.

    "Uncle Danny, had a coal tattoo
    He fought for the unions
    Some of us still do.
    On my shoulder is the number
    Of the chapter he was in.
    That number is forever
    Like the struggle here to win."
    DLR narrating what a very specific tattoo meant to someone close to him. Perhaps fictional (honestly not sure), but at least important to the character he's playing. Coal mining was an industry that really suffered in the western world during the 80s, and governments like Margaret Thatcher's (albeit that was Britain, not the U.S) really hit the workers unions hard. He has a tattoo to remind him of his uncle's tattoo, keeping that message alive, so that his efforts weren't in vain.
    aleksiempainenon July 04, 2016   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