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 Comment
    Everyone'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
  • +3
    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 Comment
    You probably know it but Springsteen does vocals on the "Believe me, that's just a lie" verse.
    johnnymacon October 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    so 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 Comment
    The 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
  • +1
    General Comment
    "Slipaway" Well, hey, man, that's just a lie That's a lie she tells her friends There's a real song, the real song She won't even admit to herself The beatin' in her heart, it's a song lots of people know It's a painful song A little sad truth Life's full of sad songs A penny for a wish Wishin' won't make you a soldier Or a pretty kiss or a pretty face Can't have it's way There're tramps like us who were born to pay Love has gone away And there's no one here now And there's nothing left to way But, oh, how I miss him, baby Oh, baby, come on and slip away Come on, baby, why don't you slip away Love has gone away Took the rings off my fingers And there's nothing left to say But, oh how, oh how I need you, baby Come on, baby, I need you baby Oh, please don't slip away I need your loving so bad, baby, please don't slip away
    acafaroon July 01, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    so good
    Philly21on July 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Ulitmate song about death.
    zosokingon October 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    It'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 Comment
    great 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

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