There's an angel on the stairs
(as if you'd even care)
When the lights go up,
and the sun has nearly gone down.

Did you see him on the street?
Did you pass him at your feet?
Did you think aloud,"how dare they
even look me in the eye'?

And he loves the girls.
And he loves the boys.
Going to make twenty dollars
before the weekends over.

So set him up,
Let him fall.
Turn him over in your hands.
God save the King of New Orleans.

Got a ticket to a show.
Going to see him take a blow.
When the drunk one said,
"Cat Sssstevens was the greatest singer!"

And did you kick him in the head?
Did you see the blood run down? Did you laugh at all when the
people walked right by and said aloud,
"You gutter punks are all the same.
" Probably make twenty dollars 'fore the weekends over."?

So set him up,
Then let him fall.
Turn him over in your hands.
God save the King of New Orleans.

Radio in my head.
Radio in that car.
Going down again,
he's going down again....

Anyway you look, anyway you talk it over.
It's easier to let it slip out of your mind.
But it rips your heart out.

Then it kicks your head in.
Just give him one more chance,
try to see the beauty in his world.
All the way in on my hands, in on my feet,
and shoulders. Going to make twenty dollars
before the weekends over.

So set him up,
Then let him fall.
Turn him over in your hands.
God save the King of New Orleans.

God save the King of New Orleans.


Lyrics submitted by oofus

King of New Orleans song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is New Orleans through and through. Anyone who lives in the Big Easy (such as myself) will be able to tell you that "gutter punks" are the homeless or runaway or otherwise rebellious teenagers who live on the streets of the French Quarter. Seen as a blight on the city by its more well-to-do residents, they are a true subculture in themselves. They roam the streets at night, panhandling ("gonna make $20 before the weekend'd over) and hte disdain of other inhabitants of the city can be seen throughout the song ("Did you kick him in the face? Did you see the blood run down?", "Did you think aloud, 'How dare they even look me in the eye?'", one of the punks is even punched when he opines that Cat Stevens was the greatest singer). Of course, this is brought symbolically to a head in the song with the quip of a passerby, "You gutter punks are all the same." Kevin Griffin, however, sees them in a softer light and implores, "Just give him one more chance, try to see the beauty in his world," this entailing that the gutter punks see the good in their own existence. The "King" is a personification of all the gutter punks, for they truly do see themselves collectively as the "Kings of New Orleans," and Kevin declares "God save the King!"
    diggit18on July 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is actually a really good song... When it first came out in the 90s way long ago, I didn't like it, it didn't sink in. Then just recently it came up on my playlist, and I can't get enough of it, and I play it over and over. Weird.
    allen314159on September 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey! I feel you about your whole comment. I don't live in New Orleans, but I do live in Louisiana. I understand completely what you are saying. This is one of my personal favorites, b/c it shows true heart and opinion. KEEP ROCKIN-rockstar
    wmrockstar05on October 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this song makes me think about post-hurricane New Orleans. God save New Orleans!
    magoosh008on November 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI live in Oxford, MS and I have a lot of friends from New Orleans. And I cried with them when the levees broke during the hurricane. This song lets me know that NO will come back better than ever, even without the Saints.
    jbmarxon December 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYa. Wow. It's been a while since I made that comment...like 3 years lol. Luckly my apartment was fine, no flooding and no wind damage, and the looters didn't get to it. But I am still living in New York City until New Years, when I'm moving back and getting on with my life. Thanks for the concern and warm messages and Ill see you on the other side, form back in the Big Sleazy lol... LONG LIVE BETTER THAN EZRA and LONG LIVE NEW ORLEANS!!!
    diggit18on December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYa. Wow. It's been a while since I made that comment...like 3 years lol. Luckly my apartment was fine, no flooding and no wind damage, and the looters didn't get to it. But I am still living in New York City until New Years, when I'm moving back and getting on with my life. Thanks for the concern and warm messages and Ill see you on the other side, form back in the Big Sleazy lol... LONG LIVE BETTER THAN EZRA and LONG LIVE NEW ORLEANS!!!
    diggit18on December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYa. Wow. It's been a while since I made that comment...like 3 years lol. Luckly my apartment was fine, no flooding and no wind damage, and the looters didn't get to it. But I am still living in New York City until New Years, when I'm moving back and getting on with my life. Thanks for the concern and warm messages and Ill see you on the other side, form back in the Big Sleazy lol... LONG LIVE BETTER THAN EZRA and LONG LIVE NEW ORLEANS!!!
    diggit18on December 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove new orleans...was born there....i saw them at mardi gras at the endymioum extravaganza it was great!!
    Annie3421319on July 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI picture a vampire....I don't know. He larks in the shadows rolling quarters acrossed his knuckles stalking his victims. Everyone knows vampires don't have souls. God save the king of New Orleans. Just a thought. LOL.
    NutzyPixeon October 02, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top