It's a mystery to me
The game commences
For the usual fee
Plus expenses
Confidential information
It's in a diary
This is my investigation
It's not a public inquiry

I go checking out the reports
Digging up the dirt
You get to meet all sorts
In this line of work
Treachery and treason
There's always an excuse for it
And when I find the reason
I still can't get used to it

And what have you got
At the end of the day?
What have you got
To take away?
A bottle of whisky
And a new set of lies
Blinds on a window
And a pain behind the eyes

Scarred for life
No compensation
Private investigations

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Private Investigations Lyrics as written by Mark Knopfler

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Private Investigations song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    i heard this song going to sleep last night and thought it was beautiful!

    i thought it was about a private investiagtor who was trying to find out whether his wife was having an affair.

    zodinon March 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Guitar on this is great. Even without the lyrics it would be good enough to listen to. Add the lyrics and this is one of my favorite Dire Straits songs.

    The song has always seemed simple enough to me. It's about the difficult life of a PI. Though it can go deeper symbolizing how sometimes the truth is too dirty to deal with.

    I am surprised it has no comments yet.

    LPon August 06, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    It might be personal. Knopfler used to be a journalist, you know.

    In any case, it's grown on me quite a bit. Interesting, especially to listen to late at night.

    T_D_Phoenixon September 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    To me this song is about a PI that finds out that his girlfriend/wife is having an affair while he is going about his business investigating another case. He's staked out in front of a suspects house, maybe, and he sees the suspect come out of the front door with the PI's girlfriend.

    But that's just me.

    bars.of.a.rhymeon May 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The meaning to this song is quite evident from the lyrics. There may be an allegorical meaning, talking about the music industry instead of a PI but that may be a stretch. This track is a real favorite of mine because of the really cool musical vibe it has. The ethereal atmosphere of this song sucks the listener into the story. Mark does have a way of creating an interesting story in many of his songs.

    This is another great song to test the Hi-Fi with. Listen for the breaking glass towards the end. To me it sounds like a wine glass shattering. I never heard/noticed this on my original vinyl copy but shows up nicely on CD. Crank this one up too!

    grogleyon December 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Everybody needs to check out the "On the Night" live recording of this song... absolutely amazing; better than the original in my opinion.

    Speak Eazyon November 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I read that Knopfler was inspired by Raymond Chandler criminal novels about private investigator,Philip Marlowe.Great novels.

    The_Corneliuson July 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I feel it's really about someone who has gotten a bit warped, who has lost out on really trusting people. He follows their tracks, observes them, checks them like insects on a table, but never really comfortable with the others. mark Knopfler has always liked writing in roles - many of the songs on their first two albums are more or less like that, and so is "Private Dancer" which he wrote during the Love Over Gold sessions but shelved up and then offered Tina Turner.

    tinderboxon August 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    You should see the MTB video for this song. May favorite song video of all time.

    xfireon April 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    this is probably way off but to me this song is about searching through your dark past to make sense of it, and not getting anything good out of it except some art that you dont want to share with others because its so personal.

    myimaginarybandon June 16, 2006   Link

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