Lady Godiva here dressed so demurely
Pats the head of another curly haired boy, just another toy
Sick with silence she weeps sincerely
Saying word that have oh so clearly been said
So long ago
Draperies wrapped gently 'round her shoulder
Life has made her that much bolder now
That she's found out how
Dressed in silk, Latin lace and envy
Pride and joy of the latest penny faire
Pretty passing care
Hair today now dipped in the water
Making love to every poor daughter's son
Isn't it fun
Now today propping grace with envy
Lady Godiva peers to see if anyone's there
And hasn't a care
Doctor is coming the nurse thinks sweetly
Turning on the machines that neatly pump air
The body lies bare
Shaved and hairless what once was screaming
Now lies silent and almost sleeping
The brain must have gone away
Strapped securely to the white table
Ether caused the body to wither and writhe
Underneath the white light
Doctor arrives with knife and baggage
Sees the growth as just so much cabbage
That now
Must be cut away
Now come the moment of Great! Great! Decision!
The doctor is making his first incision
One goes here - one goes there
The ether tube's leaking says someone who's sloppy
The patient it seems is not so well sleeping
The screams echo up the hall
Don't panic someone give him pentathol instantly
Doctor removes his blade
Cagily slow from the brain
By my count of ten
The head won't move


Lyrics submitted by capitol76

Lady Godiva's Operation Lyrics as written by Lou Reed

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Lady Godiva's Operation song meanings
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38 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    I love how the song starts out very sweet and gentle, and then suddenly Lou comes in with his loud, half-sung words ruining the whole mood of the song. Haha, that cracks me up every time.

    Eatcarpeton October 11, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This is what the song means. The dude wants a sex-change operation. But his parents really hate him, they think he's crazy to want that. So they slyly pay the doctor to give him a LOBOTOMY instead. Imagine his chagrin! The climate was extremely hostile to such operations in the Sixties, not at all like now.

    kassie1124on September 28, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Interesting song. It does sound like a lobotomy. Pentathol (sodium pentathol, actually) is also used as a thruth serum, as its a fast acting barbiturate.

    brian_won January 12, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Lady godiva was censored heavily by her husband and to protest, rode the streets of her city naked on horseback. This could be what she was penalized with; a labotomy, or a murder.

    squeeze my lemonon February 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Drag Queen gets a lobotomy, simple as that. The screaming definitely makes it sound like an involuntary operation.

    personmanthingguyon February 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Familial betrayal and hatred of the different. Your family is angry that that the neighbors are laughing about their son who wants his stuff cut off. So they tell the Doctor to chop up his brain too, so he won't date men after the operation. But they don't know that the Doctor secretly hates gays with a livid fury, and they wouldn't have much cared if they had known. The Doctor spitefully paralyzes his neck as well. He is sued for malpractice, but he is happy. The creature in the wheelchair says nothing any more, but it's face is a frozen rictus of fury over its Betrayal!

    kassie1124on September 28, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The journey of a strange operation.

    BlandestTestMeaton June 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    sounds like a lobotomy

    mrs-mojo-risinon November 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Hmm. The VU mostly wrote about people they knew. Could this be an abortion? is it about an operation at all?

    I can't say why, particularly, but this has to be one of my Favorite VU songs.

    Greyshoeson December 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    A great song, easily the most underrated and lesser known of the VU. Not totally sure what the operation being referred to is though...

    Putingradon February 02, 2005   Link

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