"Lady Day" as written by and Lou Reed....
When she walked on down the street
She was like a child staring at her feet
But when she passed the bar
And she heard the music play
She had to go in and sing
It had to be that way
She had to go in and sing
It had to be that way

And I said no, no, no
Oh, Lady Day
And I said no, no, no
Oh, Lady Day

After the applause had died down
And the people drifted away
She climbed down the bar
And went out the door
To the hotel
That she called home
It had greenish walls
A bathroom in the hall

And I said no, no, no
Oh, Lady Day
And I said no, no, no
Oh, Lady Day


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar, edited by warpigscliff

"Lady Day" as written by Lou Reed

Lyrics © SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC

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Lady Day song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentThis is my favorite track from Berlin, and one of the most telling. The song is told from the perspective of Jim, one of the three characters in Berlin (the others being Caroline, and The Waterboy, who is probably an alter ego of Jim), and it describes the downfall of Caroline. "thebodiesobtained"'s analysis was good: the song does indeed describe how Caroline is sucked in to the downward spiral that is the album's central focus. Throughout the album, Reed asserts that Caroline is insecure and damaged, seeking out external validation, first from Jim, and later from her "two-bit friends," as Jim calls them. Here, she walks down the street, meekly ("a child starin' at her feet"). The warm allure of a bar, which Reed sets up in the noisy and tragic opening sequence "Berlin", draws her in. It starts out innocently enough, as she goes in merely to sing, but by the second stanza, we see her exhibitionist side coming out, as "she climbed down off the bar". This is the side that Jim objects to: that Caroline finds affirmation in people other than himself. While he correctly identifies and is rightly concerned by Caroline's problems, it is not her that he is truly concerned about, but rather him losing control over her. The song ends with one of the most brief and yet affecting four lines in the album: "...to the hotel that she called home. It had greenish walls, a bathroom in the hall." In less than twenty lines, Reed has painted an indelible and perfect image of the squalor that Caroline lives in. One of the great songs in the album, by how much it conveys versus how much is actually says. Songwriters should study the paucity of words here in comparison to the richness in images. Perfect.
    landfillpoeton November 24, 2009   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningLady Day was the nickname for Billie Holiday back in the day
    aadolphyon January 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt gives me this feeling that life is this pathetic drama that we are inevitably sucked into. Lady Day is like innocence (she was like a child staring at her feet) and he is mourning the loss of innocence and the fact that things start out good but then they are corrupted and perverted.
    thebodiesobtainedon April 18, 2008   Link

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