Billy he's down by the railroad tracks
Sittin' low in the back seat of his Cadillac
Diamond Jackie, she's so intact
As she falls so softly beneath him
Jackie's heels are stacked
Billy's got cleats on his boots
Together they're gonna boogaloo down Broadway and come back home with the loot
It's midnight in Manhattan, this is no time to get cute
It's a mad dog's promenade
So walk tall or baby don't walk at all
Fish lady, oh fish lady
She baits them tenement walls
She won't take corner boys
They ain't got no money
And they're so easy
I said "Hey, baby
Won't you take my hand
Walk with me down Broadway
Well mama take my arm and move with me down Broadway"
I'm a young man, I talk it real loud
Yeah babe I walk it real proud for you
Ah so shake it away
So shake away your street life
Shake away your city life
Hook up to the train
And hook up to the night train
Hook it up
Hook up to the train
But I know that she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
Oh she won't take the train, no she won't take the train
She's afraid them tracks are gonna slow her down
And when she turns this boy'll be gone
So long, sometimes you just gotta walk on, walk on

Hey vibes man, hey jazz man, play me your serenade
Any deeper blue and you're playin' in your grave
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the blues boy
Save your notes, don't spend 'em on the darlin' yearlin' sharp boy
Straight for the church note ringin', vibes man sting a trash can
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
Listen to your junk man
He's singin', he's singin', he's singin'
All dressed up in satin, walkin' past the alley
He's singin', singin', singin', singin'


Lyrics submitted by sugaredreams

New York City Serenade song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentRegardless of what history claims to be his best, this is my favorite Springsteen album. This song is in my top 3 of his songs, and only recently did I figure out what it was about: The lady in the song is living a wild life thinking she'll attract guys with money. She has no desire to live a normal life with normal guys, but in the end she finds that she's lonely, and that her "junk man" might not be poor, as the guys she needs might not be rich. The narrator can relate to her story, and is reminding her of this.
    (A song that helped me figure just what this masterpiece is trying to say: "Queen Jane Approximately" by Bob Dylan. Pretty much the same message.)
    Bruce mentions Billy (usually "wild billy" a lot in his first couple albums.) From what he tells us, wild billy is also a crazy cat. Is he the same guy in this song?
    Portofinoon January 22, 2014   Link

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