"I'm Waiting for the Man" as written by Paolo Giovanni Nutini and Matt Benbrook....
I'm waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, one, two, five
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I'm waiting for my man

Hey, white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh pardon me sir, it's the furthest from my mind
I'm just lookin' for a dear, dear friend of mine
I'm waiting for my man

Here he comes, he's all dressed in black
Beat up shoes and a big straw hat
He's never early, he's always late
First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait
I'm waiting for my man, ah work it now

Up to a brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody body's pinned you, but nobody cares
He's got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I'm waiting for my man

Baby don't you holler, darlin' don't you bawl and shout
I'm feeling good, you know I'm gonna work it on out
I'm feeling good, I feel oh so fine
Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time
I'm waiting for my man, walk it home


Lyrics submitted by capitol76

"Im Waiting For the Man" as written by Lou Reed

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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I'm Waiting for the Man song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentI feel a bit guilty (and stupid) by pointing out all the really, really obvious ones, but... another Lou Reed song about heroin. I'm Lou Reed, I'm standing on Lexington 125, waiting for my dealer. People pester me, but I'm only here for one reason. He arrives eventually, fixes me up and I return home. My girlfriend is upset that I'm all loaded, but what the hell, I feel good.
    Rich_Mon May 27, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General CommentPunk rock, 11 years ahead of its time.
    MamboManon April 09, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI thought the lyric in the second verse was:

    Oh pardon me, sir
    It's furthest from my mind
    I'm just looking for a "tinted" friend of mine

    It didn't make sense at first but then I realized (at least I thought) that since he wants to avoid trouble, he doesn't even say, "I'm just looking for a colored friend of mine". He uses a synonym for "colored" which would be "tainted". A subtle nod to race in the 60s? Maybe. I listen to this song so much but I could've just heard a mondegreen.

    And the lyric "It's furthest from my mind" kills two birds with one stone. It shows how he's just really wants to buy smack. But Lou Reed's homosexual proclivities are pretty well known. I thought of it like he's saying, "I'm just here to get drugs. And I actually have sex with dudes so stealing your woman is the *last* thing on my mind right now".

    VU 4 LYFE.
    CheddarBiscuitson March 12, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe song is incredibly straight-forward, but its self-aware of how limiting and pathetic the junkie's experience is. It's conscious of how depressing his lifestyle is in a "black humor" sorta way. The entire song describes what he has to do for his fix, then it ends with the lines:

    "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine
    Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time"

    It even ends with one more repetition of "I'm Waiting For My Man", as if its the beginning of another instance where he once more, has to get his fix.

    Amazing song.
    AndrewVSon June 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentListen to Live at Max's: in the beginning, Lou Reed says exactly what it is: "love on a subway".
    feel me loudon August 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe only thing I would add is I never thought any of the characters were black, from the defensively machismo barrio street thugs who accost him to his straw hat wearing, Puerto Rican style shoe wearing Spanish Harlem dealer.
    jlibon October 06, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's actually "P.R.shoes..." - these were pointed-toed boots known by the racist term "Puerto Rican fence-climbers".
    butterfingersbeckon October 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes the person in the song (we can safely assume Lou writes from personal experiene) is going to the corner of Lexington and 125th to score heroin. You can get the subway up there (4,5,6 I believe) which is part of its appeal as a drug dealing area. It's uptown (as the 2nd verse points out) in Harlem hence the African-American men questioning why a white man would be so far uptown and obviously not a resident. Eventually "the man" (i.e. the dealer) shows and he shoots up at which point in spite of his woman yelling at him he doesn't care. At least until he comes down again.
    John_Caleon October 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha-the Mysterons. Is that from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons? I always thought the Mysterons would be a wicked name for a band.

    From Rolling Stone magazine-"Everything about that song holds true," said Reed, "except the price."
    Zoltan Pandemoniumon November 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentButterfingersbeck is right.... It's "P.R. shoes"

    Also, hey 'feel me loud' what is the old Motown song you're talking about? I've never heard of that story...
    lmeskon April 18, 2007   Link

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