"Walking Down Madison" as written by and Johnny Marr Kirsty Maccoll....
Walking down madison - I swear I never had a gun
No I never shot no-one - I was only having fun
Walking down madison - swear I never had a gun
I was philosophizing some
Checking out the bums

See you give 'em your nickels, your pennies and dimes
But you can't give 'em hope in these mercenary times, oh no
And you feel real guilty about the coat on your back
And the sandwich you had, oh no

From an uptown apartment to a knife on the a train
It's not that far
From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement
It's not that far
To the bag lady frozen asleep in the park
Oh no it's not that far
Would you like to see some more?
I can show you if you'd like to

Walking down madison - I swear I never had a gun
No I never shot no-one - wouldn't do it just for fun
Walking down madison - trying to keep my head screwed on
I was philosophizing some
Checking out the nuns

When you get to the corner don't look at those freaks
Keep your head down low and stay quick on your feet, oh yeah
The beaming boy from harlem with the airforce coat
The ones who died
The ones who tried
The ones that sit and gloat

From an uptown apartment to a knife on the a train
It's not that far
From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement
It's not that far
To the bag lady frozen asleep on the church steps
It's not that far
Would you like to see some more?
I can show you if you'd like to

Within every city and town there's a madison
Frozen lives for whom nothing's happening
Hungry children is a mother's dilemma
Dumpster diving to feed her baby emma
So you walk on by like it doesn't affect you
The held out hand that you pay no respect to
Nickels and dimes won't even buy your guilt
Another wino burnt to death in his quilt
It's a cardboard city, newspaper metropolis
The system can't cope or keep on top of this
The authorities come as you're not for display
Do they solve the problem no they move him away
They're in a vicious circle of no fixed abode
The social won't pay 'em the money they're owed
When you've got no money you can't pay rent
Hypothermia kills ''cause the system is bent

From an uptown apartment to a knife on the a train
It's not that far
From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement
It's not that far
To the bag lady frozen asleep in the park
Oh no it's not that far
Would you like to see some more?
I can show you if you'd like to

From an uptown apartment to a knife on the a train
It's not that far
From the sharks in the penthouse to the rats in the basement
It's not that far
To the bag lady frozen asleep on the church steps
It's not that far
Would you like to see some more?
I can show you if you'd like to

In the subway sits a vacuous man
His grip on life is a bent tin can
It's a holy shrine where he burns his light
It makes things easy and removes his plight
For an hour or two but he can't escape
They're all penned in with government tape
There are good samaritans who bring the soup
The sally army with their bibles and boots
You can see yourself as it's not too far
One short trip you don't who they are
Till the night comes then it all comes back
Like the smell of patchouli and the armies of rats
It's a shame to be human it's a human shame
It seems we've forgotten we're one and the same


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"Walking Down Madison" as written by Kirsty Maccoll Johnny Marr

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Walking Down Madison song meanings
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2 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is riveting view of life in the city, which I have always assumed to use New York City as the model. I think the lyrics can be taken literally for this song which I take to be presenting the dichotomy of the economic spectrum of those living in the city. That schism is emphasized by the juxtaposition of the musical styles switching from Kristy’s mellow vocal to the haunting rap segments. When Kristy sings, “it’s not too far”, I think she is speaking both to physical location and to the change economic status.

    This song’s guitar riffs and groove can rattle and shake into your brain and is a great example of how music be affecting at many levels.
    grogleyon January 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Where I am from most people treat our homeless people like trash, and then they go buy their $5 lattes. I slept in an alleyway in Toronto for 11 days when I was a teenager after I was kicked out of my parent's house - it was clearly a short time so my view of homelessness is minor and somewhat insignificant. But, unlike most people in my city, I have a big place in my heart for the homeless souls and I will defend them, always. This song is a reminder to me that there are others out there who actually care.
    brokentelephone78on November 28, 2010   Link

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