Waltzing Matilda whipped out her wallet
The sexy boy smiled in dismay
She took out four twenties 'cause she liked round figures
Everybody's a queen for a day
Oh, babe, I'm on fire and you know how I admire your
Body why don't we slip away
Although I'm sure you're certain, it's a rarity me flirtin'
Sha-la-la-la, this way

Oh, sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
Hey, baby, come on, let's slip away

Luscious and gorgeous, oh what a hunk of muscle
Call out the national guard
She creamed in her jeans as he picked up her means
From off of the formica topped bar
And cascading slowly, he lifted her wholly
And boldly out of this world
And despite people's derision
Proved to be more than diversion
Sha-la-la-la, later on

And then sha-la-la-la-la, he entered her slowly
And showed her where he was coming from
And then sha-la-la-la-la, he made love to her gently
It was like she'd never ever come
And then sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
When the sun rose and he made to leave
You know, sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
Neither one regretted a thing

Street hassle
Hey, that cunt's not breathing
I think she's had too much
Of something or other, hey, man, you know what I mean
I don't mean to scare you
But you're the one who came here
And you're the one who's gotta take her when you leave
I'm not being smart
Or trying to be cold on my part
And I'm not gonna wear my heart on my sleeve
But you know people get all emotional
And sometimes, man, they just don't act rational
They think they're just on TV

Sha-la-la-la, man
Why don't you just slip

Lyrics submitted by spliphstar, edited by half_duprass, JMLiles, upTehPunx, mateusdv, Wulm, doctorthefonz

Street Hassle Lyrics as written by Lou Reed

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Street Hassle song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentEveryone's got their own idea as to who is the prostitute, or if sex or drugs were being bought, or if the chick in part two is Waltzing Matilda. I don't think the details matter as much as the message. Part 1 is a story of transcendent love in the midst of and in spite of the gutters of human life. Part 2 shows how things get real in this same seedy setting, when the 'heroine' dies of an overdose. Even though the characters are all portrayed as sort of low lifes, the sense of loss is still gutting. The feeling washes over you as if it were you hearing the news of your lover's death, as your new buddy casually says, 'hey, that cunt's not moving.. lay her out in the darkened street'. You feel reality hit you, that strange mix of dread and shock.

    It's like Reed is making a case for life not being meaningless. It is brutal and unforgiving, but there is hope for transcendence whoever you are, and however you live your life. Everything can be lost in the blink of an eye for no reason at all, but that doesn't make the best things in life any less real or meaningful. Part 3 illustrates just how deeply the loss is felt.

    It seems to be a hallmark of Reed's career to humanize characters that society generally condemns. Also, it's strange to find such a masterpiece on an album where on all other tracks Reed seems high and belligerent. It makes you wonder how he's even capable of writing, or even comprehending, the beautiful message of this song.
    kamalmanzukieon December 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Street Hassle"

    You know, I'm glad that we met man
    It was really nice talking
    And I really wish that there was a little more time to speak
    But you know it could be a hassle
    Trying to explain myself to a police officer
    About how it was your old lady got herself stiffed

    And it's not like we could help
    But there's nothing no one could do
    And if there was, man, you know I would have been the first
    But when someone turns that blue
    Well, it's a universal truth
    Then you just know that bitch will never fuck again

    By the way, that's really some bad shit
    That you came to our place with
    But you ought to be more careful around the little girls
    It's either the best or it's the worst
    And since I don't have to choose, I guess I won't
    And I know this ain't no way to treat a guest
    But why don't you grab your old lady by the feet
    And just lay her out in the darkest street
    And by morning, she's just another hit and run

    You know, some people got no choice, and they can never find a voice, to talk with that they can even call their own. So the first thing that they see, that allows them the right to be, why they follow it, you know, it’s called bad luck.
    acafaroon July 01, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou probably know it but Springsteen does vocals on the "Believe me, that's just a lie" verse.
    johnnymacon October 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentso incredibly complex. yet lou reed presents it all in such a casual tone in the spoken word sections. love this
    songwriter91on August 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Lyrics are wrong. It should be; The sexy boy smiled in dismay
    She took out 4 twenties 'cause she liked ROUND figures
    Everybody's QUEEN for a day

    Luscious and gorgeous, oh what HUMPING muscle

    From off of a formica top BAR
    robsunon June 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso good
    Philly21on July 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUlitmate song about death.
    zosokingon October 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's one of a collection of Reed songs connected with a party atmosphere... about those who walk the streets when it gets dark. Well not particularly in this song, but it all kinda is connected in different ways, if examine them all.
    lou_reedon May 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat song. kind of weird meaning to be at the end of the squid and the wheel. the cello works nicely for a film ending which probably what randall poster and noah baumbach liked.

    but the song has such a cheerful mood with the flowing back music but the meaning is so much darker.
    bottlerocket88on September 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti cant believe there heasnt been more comments.
    this song is amazing.
    its so dark and sad, but not until you really listen to it.
    for somereason i think its about a kind of "pimp" guy, who brings round some ladies and some skunk and they get a party going, fuck and whatever, then coming down realise one of the hookers has od'd and they're telling him to get her body out of there and be more careful with the drugs he gives them.
    AladdinInsaneon July 16, 2008   Link

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