Sometimes you're better off dead
There's a gun in your hand it's pointing at your head
You think you're mad, too unstable
Kicking in chairs and knocking down tables
In a restaurant in a West End town
Call the police, there's a mad man around
Running down underground
To a dive bar in a West End town

In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
West End girls

Too many shadows, whispering voices
Faces on posters, too many choices
If, when, why, what? How much have you got?
Have you got it, do you get it
If so, how often?
Which do you choose
A hard or soft option?
(How much do you need?)

In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
West End girls
West End girls

(How much do you need?)

In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
Ooh, West End town, a dead end world
East End boys, West End girls
West End girls

You got a heart of glass or a heart of stone
Just you wait 'til I get you home
We've got no future
We've got no past
Here today, built to last
In every city, in every nation
From Lake Geneva to the Finland station
(How far have you been?)

In a West End town, a dead end world
The East End boys and West End girls
A West End town, a dead end world
East End boys, West End girls
West End girls

West End girls
West End girls
(How far have you been?)
Girls


Lyrics submitted by antispork

West End Girls Lyrics as written by Christopher Lowe Neil Tennant

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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West End Girls song meanings
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45 Comments

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  • +8
    General Comment

    Look, the PSBs are from London. London famously has an East End and West End. The West End is high-rent, full of theatre, tourist attractions, and businesses. The East End is working-class, the home of cockney and most of London's most famous gangsters. Hence, the famous show "EastEnders."

    This song is nothing more than the old tale of lovers (or potential lovers) from different sides of the tracks, inner-city pressure,* and alienation of being young in a modern world.

    PSBs themselves used this phrase, and it's funny that Flight of the Conchords' "Inner City Pressure" is a clear homage to "West End Girls."

    JimmyCarlBlackon August 14, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    if you grew up understanding the east end/ west end conundrum.... trust me, the song is not about drugs or homosexuality, though both are prevelent in the culture. it is about a culture itself and the times growing up there. no future explaining the way it felt to be in the middle of nowhere, no past meaning many did not know their own family history...who's your daddy.....?

    a place where you fall asleep to the lull of sirens every night... and when one day... you journey to the other end... you meet the other world. like boy meets girl...and you dream of nothing but getting out....

    Brezyon August 27, 2008   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    I think it's about class issues. East End tends to be Cockney, and "lower" class. West End has more money. So maybe it's about the rich girls who go after the poorer and lower class boys. Kind of a UK "Uptown Girl."

    sangsueon January 05, 2006   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    CharmingMan is right.

    Quote from Neil Tennant:

    "We arrived in the studio and Bobby O had programmed Michael Jackson's Billie Jean drum pattern. Chris started to play along and I started playing chords. In terms of the lyrics, the inspiration for West End Girls came from The Message by Grandmaster Flash. I remember once staying at my cousin's house in Nottingham and we were watching some kind of gangster film with James Cagney, and just as I was dropping off to sleep, the lines 'sometimes you're better off dead, there's a gun in your hand and it's pointing to your head' came into my head and I thought 'that's quite good' so I went off to find a pen."

    Onlineon December 20, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I always thought this song had a cold war context to it...east germany, west germany...east berlin, west berlin...

    mightymouseon January 12, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I like the way there are about three or four different meanings that people find here. The Neil Tennant quote says a lot: he heard a cool line in a film and put it in a song that was written very quickly. Thinking of Phil Collins's answer to what In the Air Tonight, I can't imagine many songwriters throwing something together in a hurry and there NOT being more than one meaning, especially here where it may have come out in somethng of a stream-of-conciousness.

    That is to say: the obvious meaning of rich girls from up west looking for guys from the rough east end. But the gay thing was probably in mind as well. In Neil's native Newcastle, the west end is where the gay pubs are rather than the well-to-do. Neil Tennant didn't write anything specifically openly gay back then, so it would have to be somewhat hidden between the lines. Holding all of this kind of imagery in mind and it's easy to see how the rest of the lyrics fall into place, not about one specific subject, but about the loose concept of east meets west, but in the rougher east side.

    It is a very good song which has stood time very well, considering the ephemeral nature of so much music that is firmly within the pop category.

    light vesselon August 06, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    It's about being "gay" and "classless/marginalized" in and by "history" - the "west" is "Greenwich "West" Village" in New York and London's "West End"...2 neighbourhoods linked specifically with "gay culture"...the "girls" is a gender-bender as term applied to "gay men" in gay culture and Neil does a "macrocosm" by stating "built to last in every city and every nation from Lake Geneva to the Finland Station"...reference to Edmund Wilson's history of socialism in Europe...if you listen to the 12-inch version on the cd "DISCO" there is very interesting line: "if they speak they break the law...and no one knows your name no one knows your name"...this is the "marginalization" of gays in history..."turn the pages and watch them play a different game". It's definetly about the "Cold War" as perceived in the '80s.

    hemlockroadon March 24, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song was inspired by gangster films and a TS Elliot's poem, "The Waste Land". The poem speaks of "unreal" cities. I don't think you can get more "unreal" than post war Berlin. But, I think the song may be relating to all cities where there is a division. Dickins', who is quoted in "The Waste Land", wrote extensively about class structure, so it may be a division of class, ideology or something else. It is just an exploration in social and economic differences.

    jsbst18on November 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    The song on my phone is Rent not West End Girls. Why did this app show me the lyrics of the song West End Girls and even go so far as to say the name of the song is Rent?!?!

    bretleducon December 31, 2015   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    This is about the "clip joints" in Soho London during the 80's/90's.

    The West End Girls are the hostesses.

    The East End boys are most of the Barmen, many of whom lived in the East End.

    You think you're mad, too unstable kicking in chairs and knocking down tables in a restaurant in a West End town Call the police! There's a madman around Running down underground to a dive bar in a West End town

    When trying to get the bill paid (sometimes 100's or 1000's of Pounds), kicking in chairs and knocking down tables would often be an intimidation technique (particularly in the more unscrupulous establishments).

    Once the bill had been collected, common practice was to go to another club (usually owned by the same people), and hide there; so the Police, if/when called would find nobody there, or even a whole different staff

    Too many shadows, whispering voices faces on posters, too many choices If? When? Why? What? How much have you got? Have you got it? Do you get it? If so, how often? Which do you choose a hard or soft option? (How much do you need?)

    Again this refers to collecting bills.

    We've got no future, we've got no past Here today, built to last

    Most people were working here "on the black" - hence admitted no past.

    In every city, in every nation from Lake Geneva to the Finland station (How far have you been?)

    Most cities have similar clubs, and many of the girls were from other countries.

    stuartindigoon March 29, 2016   Link

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