"Sister Ray" as written by and John Cale Lou Reed....
Doc and Sally inside
They're cooking for the down five
Who's staring at Miss Rayon
Who's busy licking up her pig pen
I'm searching for my mainline
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
Oh, just like Sister Ray said
Whip it on

Rosie and Miss Rayon
They're busy waiting for her booster
Who just got back from Carolina
She said she didn't like the weather
They're busy waiting for her sailor
Who's big and dressed in pink and leather
He's just here from Alabama
He wants to know a way to earn a dollar
I'm searching for my mainer
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
I couldn't hit it sideways
Oh, just like Sister Ray said
Play it on

Cecil's got his new piece
He cocks and shoots it between three and four
He aims it at the sailor
Shoots him down dead on the floor
Oh, you shouldn't do that
Don't you know you'll stain the carpet?
Now don't you know you'll stain the carpet
And by the way, have you got a dollar?
Oh, no, man, I haven't got the time-time
Too busy sucking on a ding-dong
She's busy sucking on my ding-dong
Oh, she does just like Sister Ray said
I'm searching for my mainline
I said I c-c-c-ouldn't hit it sideways
I c-c-c-c-c-c-couldn't hit it sideways
Oh do it, do it, oh just, just, just do it, bless Sister Ray sir, go on!
Oh

Now, who is that knocking?
Who's knocking at my chamber door?
Now could it be the police?
They come and take me for a ride-ride
Oh, but I haven't got the time-time
Hey, hey, hey, she's busy sucking on my ding-dong
She's busy sucking on my ding-dong
Oh, now, do it just like Sister Ray said
I'm searching for my mainline
I couldn't hit it sideways
I couldn't hit it sideways
Oh, now, just like
Oh, just like
Oh, just like
Oh, just like
Oh, just like
Oh, just like

Doc and sally inside, now move it along!
Cooking for the down five
Who's staring at Miss Rayon, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it!
licking up pig pen
I've been s-s-s-s-searching for my mainline
I couldn't hit it sideways
I couldn't hit it sideways
Just like
Oh, just like, do it, do it, do it!
Just like
Just like that
Just like

Now Rosie and Miss Rayon
They're busy waiting for her booster
She's just back from Carolina
She says she's bound to meet a sailor
I said you haven't got the time-time
You're busy sucking on my ding-dong
You're busy sucking on my ding-dong
Now, just like Sister Ray said
I'm searching for my mainline
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
Whip it on me Jim, whip it on me Jim
Whip it on me Jim, whip it on me Jim
Said I couldn't hit it sideways, oh, do it!
Yeah, just like, yeah just like Sister Ray said
I said now Cecil's got his new piece
He cocks and shoots it, bang! between three and four
He aims it at the sailor
He shoots him down dead on the floor
Oh, you shouldn't do that, don't you know you'll hit the carper, don't you know you'll mess the carpet

Oh, she hasn't got the time-time
Busy sucking on his ding-dong
She's busy sucking on his ding-dong
Yeah, just like Sister Ray said
I'm searching for my mainline
Couldn't hit it sideways
Couldn't hit it sideways
Now just like
Now just like
Now just like, like Sister Ray said, now do it to him!

Doc and Sally inside
They're busy cooking for the down five, oh
Who's staring at Miss Rayon
Busy licking up her pig pen
I'm busy searching for my mainline
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
Now just like
Now just like
I said oh, oh, just like
Am-ph-ph-ph-ph-phetamine


Lyrics submitted by capitol76, edited by minuette, TimeTime

"Sister Ray" as written by Maureen Tucker Sterling Morrison

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, GARNANT MUSIC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Sister Ray song meanings
Add your thoughts

51 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +8
    General CommentAmphe-phe-phe-phe-phe-phetemine

    Seventeen violent, drug fueled, sleazy, sex crazed minutes of fractured guitars screaming in glorious extacy.
    Wow.

    During the song, (and you can hear it quite clearly) Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison actually had to turn up their guitars because John Cale was intentionally trying to drown out everybody with his organ (that was routed though a distorted guitar amplifier).

    Tom Wilson, the producer of the album, was so frustrated by the way they were playing and walked out in the middle of the song. "I don't have to listen to this, come and get me when your done." he told them.

    Just one question...what the heck does "I couldn't hit it sideways" mean???
    Sleepyon April 16, 2008   Link
  • +7
    General Comment"'Sister Ray' was done as a joke - no, not as a joke, but it has eight characters in it and this guy gets killed and nobody does anything. It was built around this story that I wrote about this scene of total debauchery and decay. I like to think of 'Sister Ray' as a transvestite smack dealer. The situation is a bunch of drag queens taking some sailors home with them, shooting up on smack and having this orgy when the police appear." - Lou Reed
    angelicmobster8on July 20, 2007   Link
  • +5
    Lyric CorrectionThese are the full, correct lyrics as I hear them:

    Doug and Sally inside
    They're cooking for the downpipe
    Who's staring at Miss Rayon
    Who's busy licking off her pig pen
    I'm searching for my mainline
    I said I couldn't hit it sideways
    I said I couldn't hit it sideways
    Oh, just like Sister Ray said
    Whip it on 'em

    Rosie and Miss Rayon
    They're busy waiting for her booster
    Who just got back from Carolina
    She said she didn't like the weather
    They're busy waiting for her sailor
    Who's big and dressed in pink and leather
    He's just here from Alabama
    He wants to know a way to earn a dollar
    I'm searching for my mainer
    I said I couldn't hit it sideways
    I couldn't hit it sideways
    Oh, just like Sister Ray said
    Lay it on 'em

    Cecil's got his new piece
    He cocks it, shoots it between three and four
    He aims it at the sailor
    Shoots him down dead on the floor
    Oh, you shouldn't do that
    Don't you know you'll stain the carpet?
    Now don't you know you'll stain the carpet
    And by the way, have you got a dollar
    Oh, no, man, I haven't got the time time
    Too busy sucking on a ding-dong
    She's busy sucking on my ding-dong
    Oh, she does just like Sister Ray said
    I'm searching for my mainline
    I said I c-c-c-c-couldn't hit it sideways
    I c-c-c-c--c-couldn't, couldn't hit it sideways
    Oh do it do it, just j-j-j-just do it do it, just like Sister Ray said, oh!

    Now, who is that knocking
    Who's knocking at my chamber door?
    Now could it be the police
    They come and take me for a ride ride
    Oh, but I haven't got the time time
    Hey, hey, hey, she's busy sucking on my ding-dong
    She's busy sucking on my ding-dong
    Oh, now, do it just like Sister Ray said
    I'm searching for my mainline
    I couldn't hit it sideways
    I couldn't hit it sideways
    Oh, now just like
    Oh, just like
    Oh, just like
    Oh, just like
    Oh, just like
    Oh, just like...

    Now Rosie and Miss Rayon
    They're busy waiting for her booster
    She's just back from Carolina
    She said she's bound to beat her sailor
    I said she hasn't got the time time
    Too busy sucking on my ding dong
    Too busy sucking on my ding dong
    Now, just like Sister Ray said
    I'm searching for my mainline
    I said I couldn't hit it sideways
    Whip it on me Jim, whip it on me Jim, whip it on me Jim
    Said I couldn't hit it sideways
    Oh, do it
    Now just like... just like Sister Ray said

    I said now Cecil's got his new piece
    He cocks it, shoots it bang between three and four
    He aims it at the sailor
    He shoots him down dead on the floor
    Oh, you shouldn't do that
    Don't you know you'll hit the carpet, don't you know you'll mess the carpet?

    Oh, she hasn't got the time time
    Busy sucking on his ding dong
    She's busy sucking on his ding dong
    Now just like Sister Ray said
    I'm searching for my mainline
    Couldn't hit it sideways
    Couldn't hit it sideways
    Now just like, now just like, now just like
    Like Sister Ray said, now do it to him!

    Doug and Sally inside
    They're busy cooking for the downpipe
    Who's busy staring at Miss Rayon
    Who's busy licking off her pigpen
    I'm busy searching for the mainline
    I couldn't hit it sideways
    I said I couldn't hit it sideways
    Now just like, now just like, I said aw, just like
    Amph-ph-ph-ph-ph-ph-phetamine
    minuetteon October 07, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Commentcouldnt hit it sideways is just lou reed rambling about how he cant find a vein. because of this damn song i cant stop saying time time or ride ride. sorely underappreciated song, album, and band.
    scottjefferieson May 01, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentEven if it is about drugs and oral sex with a transexual, it just might be the greatest song ever.
    louisisgrateron April 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIf you want to read a literary inspiration for this song, check out "Last Exit to Brooklyn" by Hubert Selby, Jr. There's a chapter that describes a similar, sleazy situation...
    Boskoon September 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDing dongs will live forever thanks to Lou Reed.
    casketteon November 16, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe line about knocking on the chamber door is an Edgar Allan Poe reference.

    The live Joy Division version of this song is great, but not as good as the original, which is the greatest song ever precisely because it's about drugs and sexual deviancy.
    ntwjoneson June 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought the opening line was "fucking sally inside." I actually prefer to think of it that way.
    w124rdon March 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song FactDRUG HIT SALLY INSIDE... possibly the coolest line to open a provocative song. Theres a VU bootleg of a 68 gig called that. So imagine my utter disappointment when, 20 years after first hearing Sister Ray and mishearing it's opening, when I read a Reed interview (Mojo interview: Overloaded) where he states the 1st line is Duck and Sally inside. What a weak line. Mine is much better. My friends and I would spend hours discussing coolest lyrics etc, and we all thought DRUG HIT SALLY INSIDE was the greatest opener for the coolest sleaziest grunge rock freak out ever. What a disappointment. Reed, I want u to come back and acknowledge that my line is better!
    The Overloaded interview says this:
    There was a real Sister Ray. "This black Queen," Reed says, "John and I were uptown, and up comes this person, very nice - but flaming." Reed wrote the words, a set of incidents and character studies, on a train ride from Conneticut after a bad Velvets show there. "It was a propos of nothing: 'duck and sally inside' - it was Selby, uptown. And the music was just a jam we had been working on" The provisional title was SEARCHING. Selby was an NY novelist /poet.
    As to the debate about the meaning of I Couldn't Hit It Sideways: I have personal experience of injecting, and I never ever saw nor heard of anyone injecting a vein sideways. The proper way is in the direction of the flow of the blood, follow the line of the vein. A reason for this is that veins are elasticky, rubbery, and they can be moved about. So as you dig a spike into a vein, the first pressure just pushes the vein away from the spike, so u have to sort of pop the spike thru the rubbery vein wall. The most successful method to do this is to enter along, parallel to the vein, then it doesn't recoil left and right. 'Hitting it sideways' would be much trickier, as the vein would try to roll out of the way. It maybe possible for someone with fresh veins, that are easily pierced, to hit sideways, but why bother when u can hit it more easily/safely in line. Another fact about injecting is that it damages the vein, whose walls harden and the vein sinks deeper under the surface. By the time you've screwed your mainline (the big vein in the inside elbow) so bad that you can't successfully hit it normally, in line, then your chances of hitting from the side are much reduced. Trying to navigate directing a spike at an angle (down and sideways) to hit a buried vein that you can't see on the surface is a spatial nightmare, and that's before you encounter a hardened vein-wall that will prefer to move aside rather than pop.
    So, in my humble opinion, the Hit it Sideways reference might be akin to 'I couldn't hit a barn door'... I so smashed that I can't hit a bloody thing.. I think.
    Bamsteron March 19, 2015   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