"Shakedown Street" as written by Jerome J. Garcia and Robert C. Hunter....
You tell me this town ain't got no heart (well, well, well, you can never tell)
The sunny side of the street is dark (well, well, well, you can never tell)
Maybe that's cause it's midnight, in the dark of the moon besides

Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
You know you got such dark eyes!

Nothin' shakin' on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around

You think you've seen this town clear through (well, well, well, you can never tell)
Nothin' here that could int'rest you (well, well, well, you can never tell)
It's not because you missed out on the thing that we had to start

Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Or just over played your part

Nothin' shakin' on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town.
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around.

Since I'm passing your way today (well, well, well, you can never tell)
I just stopped in 'cause I want to say (well, well, well, you can never tell)
I recall your darkness when it crackled like a thundercloud

Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart (don't tell me this town ain't got no heart)
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart (don't tell me this town ain't got no heart)
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart (don't tell me this town ain't got no heart)
When I can hear it beat out loud!

Nothin' shakin' on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around


Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind

"Shakedown Street" as written by Robert C. Hunter Jerome J. Garcia

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Shakedown Street song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment"Disco Dead" That's perfect, I've been looking for a way to describe this song.
    This song reminds me of my town, "Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart. You just gotta poke around. " my town is mostly projects (ghettos, kinda) and there's all sorts of killing and gang violence and needles and pollution and everyone's sorta poor, but there's a really rich art and music culture, which you really can't find unless you already know where it is or where to look for it. Despite that, the city has really truly died down since the like the start of the 1970s, like this place had people and culture everywhere and now it's hidden.
    Thegodofhatson February 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningIn the '70's there were some people who were disappointed in the "new Dead" and criticized them that they weren't as good as they were in the 60's and early 70's. This song is clearly a response to that.
    "Town" and "Shakedown Street" = Grateful Dead
    "You tell me this town ain't got no heart."
    Then: "Maybe the dark is from your eyes", meaning maybe it's your stupid fault that you don't like the new stuff. The hate is coming from inside you, you are projecting that onto the Dead.

    "Nothin' shakin' on Shakedown Street. Used to be the heart of town.
    Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart. You just gotta poke around."
    Meaning nothing good coming from the Dead these days, whereas they used to be the greatest, the "heart of town". But don't give me that crap, just open your mind and listen! Just because it's different, doesn't mean it's no good.

    "It's not because you missed out on the thing that we had to start."
    This addresses the very often heard refrain from people that were upset they weren't around for the early hay days of the Dead.

    Then there is the piece de resistance: it's a disco song! I think they must have did that on purpose as well. Of course they are going to get criticized for doing disco! So they write a song about being unduly and unfairly criticized and they put it to a disco song! FANTASTIC! These boys sure are creative! You gotta love it!

    Obvious, isn't it?
    rbmunkinon September 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song has an awsome beat! i love it!

    peace
    TakeMeAway109on May 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShakedown Street was the nickname the band and crew gave to their studio. They called it shakedown street because the studio was located in a kind of seedy neighborhood. The studio was directly across from run down motel. I like this song because its a mellow song. Unlike most of the music played today this song doesn't need someone screaming in your ear. It's a great song.
    sunshinedaydream12on March 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe Disco Dead at their best lol good tune.
    BazBearon March 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby far one of the best grateful dead songs.
    shakedownstreeton April 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Maybe the dark is from your eyes.." seems to say that the way we see a city (or a person) has a lot to do with what's inside of us.
    myfriendvladon June 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionsick beat
    elsaheaton January 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOnce you've spent some time on Shakedown Street, it all becomes clear.
    jaxie2662on February 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentApparently shakedown street is the colloquial term for the area outside a concert or gig where merchandise is sold. I don't know if this could have anything to do with the meaning. But anyways I love this song :)
    buzasion October 30, 2009   Link

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