I don't know just where I'm going
But I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
When I put a spike into my vein
And I tell you things aren't quite the same

When I'm rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus' son
And I guess that I just don't know
And I guess that I just don't know

I have made big decision
I'm gonna try to nullify my life
'Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper's neck
When I'm closing in on death

You can't help me now, you guys
And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk
And I guess I just don't know
And I guess that I just don't know

I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
On a sailor's suit and cap

Away from the big city
Where a man cannot be free
Of all the evils of this town
And of himself and those around
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know
Oh, and I guess that I just don't know

Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
Because a mainline into my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I'm better off than dead

Because when the smack begins to flow
I really don't care anymore
About all the Jim-Jims in this town
And all the politicians making crazy sounds
And everybody putting everybody else down
And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds

'Cause when the smack begins to flow
And I really don't care anymore
Ah, when that heroin is in my blood
And that blood is in my head
Then thank God that I'm as good as dead
And thank your God that I'm not aware
And thank God that I just don't care
And I guess I just don't know
Oh, and I guess I just don't know


Lyrics submitted by capitol76

"Heroin" as written by Lou Reed

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Heroin song meanings
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110 Comments

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  • +11
    General CommentAs Lou has said, the song is about heroin. Not for it, not against it, just about it. That's only one part of its brilliance (very few, if any, songwriters have had the courage to deal so head-on with drugs since); it's also brilliant musically, with everything so primal, from the simple guitars raving up and down, the screeching viola and perhaps most importantly, Moe's pounding drums. Just beautiful!
    leamancon December 27, 2010   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI don't know why, but to me this is a beautiful song. It almost makes me cry at times. The lyrics are kind of meaningful too. I'd say Lou isn't very fond of heroin.
    I And Ion August 06, 2002   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI love Lou Reed because he doesn't say something is good or bad he just goes, hey here it is, you decide. I think he is the most truthful song writer I've ever heard
    drgonzothxon August 27, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General CommentEver notice how on the first album, most of the instrumentation seem to try to metaphorically symbolize the theme/subject of the song? With heroin, with its the flow from the rush and the nod, slowly building up, and increasingly strung out (care of cale's screeching viola). I'm Waiting for the Man sounds angular and repetitive and full of motion, just like the city it describes. Venus in Furs sounds like some viking slave ship beat, perfect for its account depravity in antiquity. In There She Goes Again, at the end of the verse, when lou says, "you'd better hit her", the band answers back with a sharp "bum bum bum bum" in agreement. And then my all time favorite, The Black Angel's Death Song, has Cale's viola providing that eerie, ghostly shriek in perfect counterpoint to Reed's rambling lyrics about death and choice and fate. The whole album is completely sublime. If you yearn to start a band whose ideals are originality and expression, this album is almost a prerequisite.
    kamalmanzukieon December 06, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI like how the song progresses. It becomes more disorderly until it snaps. The style parallels a heroin trip.
    novadudeon December 05, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General CommentWhen I heard this song as a teenager I promised myself that I never ever would take drugs. The lyrics scared me. There was nothing romatic about taking heroin. It was just a sentence to slavery and death.
    I held that promise.
    Rebelcaton September 09, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI really don't care anymore
    About all the Jim-Jim's in this town
    And all the politicians makin' crazy sounds
    And everybody puttin' everybody else down
    And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds

    This song is about escape. Kind of like, "look what you guys made me do." The world is in turmoil and is crazy, but he finds his own craze and peace within himself and his drug.
    puzzudon July 31, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe Velvet Underground was amazing, and this is quite possibly their most amazing song. its so solid all the way through. and to comment back on someone saying that Lou doesn't like Heroin, i don't think the song reflects that. rather i think it's him telling his experience through metaphors and the works..
    ripped book pageon March 07, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentContrary to popular belief the focus of this song is not just another street drug, but a form of escape. When this "heroin" is injected into his veins he feels all mighty and forgets the ills of the world by going on his "trip" Lou Reed refers to the corruption in his world and clearly his world is New York city, "the big city". This song is more idealistic rather than drug induced, yes it does mention drugs and in fact the drugs are used but the central meaning is more of a physical and mental escape from his New York lifestyle. Even if you leave this "big city" you cannot escape the evils because you have already seen the corruption and destruction a big city such as New York breeds. This is just what I think... what do you think??... any queries just reply to my email and we shall have a minor philosophical discussion
    Bablurpon April 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe lyrics are amazing but in my opinion the violin at the end says it all. it's a complete chaotic train wreck on the surface but underneath, it has this stange beauty, like the lyrics are saying it's like he's happy to be this wrecked and disoriented, and he does'nt care. and I think that those 30 seconds of violent screeching are a metaphor for his view of heroin.
    Jessevetroneon April 19, 2008   Link

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