"Sally" as written by Stuart Matthewman and Helen Adu....
Sally, you opened out your arms to all those young men.
And girl you had room,
For every one of them.

You're the only girl.
Who are the only girl on Barry and Third
Sure as hell,
You're the only one who cares.

So put your hands together for Sally.
She saved all those young men.
Put your hands together for Sally.
She's the one who cared for them.

She's doing our dirty work.
She's the only one who can.
Doing our dirty work, thirsty world,
One angry day in New York.

Take a look at Dave he was once seventeen,
Zoot suit and shiny shoes.
He ran around town and threw his mentholated laughter.
Most of his memories drowned.

But he remembers what his mother used to shout.
She used to shout,
"One day, surely son,
The streets are gonna tire you out."

So put your hands together for Sally.
She's the one who cared for him.
Put your hands together for Sally.
She was there when his luck was running thin.

She's doing our dirty work.
She's the only one who can.
Doing our dirty work, thirsty world,
One angry day in New York.

Tommy had a wife and family,
But the needle came between the love and the hard times.
Thank God for Sally,
She was there through the misery.

Just a place to lay his head.
Just about better off than dead.

She's doing our dirty work.
She's the only one who can.
Doing our dirty work, thirsty world,
One angry day

Vince, came up from the country.
Couldn't even find himself a room.
Thinking about his babies.
They're further away than the moon.

With no money but his pride in his pocket.
There's really no way he can go home.
There's a picture of his woman in his locket.
Most of all he doesn't want to be alone.

So put your hands together for Sally.
She's the one who cared for him.
Put your hands together for Sally.
She was there when his luck was running thin.

She's doing our dirty work.
She's the only one who can.
Doing our dirty work, thirsty world,
One angry day in New York.


Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by 173234

"Sally" as written by Stuart Matthewman Helen Adu

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Sally song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI came to this site looking for opinions on this specific song by Sade - and it's the only one of hers that has zero opinions so far.

    I find it interesting that she chose the name 'Sally' - an appropriate name for a lady of easy virtue, but also the nickname of the Salvation Army. So you can read the song two ways - as a paean to a heart of gold, or as praise for all those who take light into dark places.

    Interesting.
    Cinnamonbrandyon July 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou are correct, the song is referring to the salvation army otherwise known as "Sally Anne". The idea materialized when Sade saw a salvation army truck in New York according to Spin magazine. Robin Millar also confirmed this.

    The lyrics require a little thinking as it seems to be about a woman, when infact it is about a collective entity completing the selfless task of taking care of those who have been abandoned. Wonderfully written.
    alex889on April 17, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDrummer Paul Cooke was from a Salvationist family, and the song is a tribute to their work with those down on their luck - 'Doing our dirty work'.
    Dr Fauston May 11, 2016   Link

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