The mid twenty joys around a heart that's black and blue
Tattooed love boys
I tore my knees up getting to you
'Cause I needed
To find out what the thing was for
Been reading
But man the time came to explore

I went apewire 'cause I thought
Like I'd like it little tease
But I didn't mean it
But you mess with the goods doll, honey you gotta pay, yeah

A good time was guaranteed for one and all
The tattoos did target practice in the hall
While waiting for their number to get called out
I, I, I, I found out what the wait was about

I was a good time, yeah, I got pretty good
At changing tires upstairs bro
I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for

Now I see you
All impressed and half undressed
You got paint stick all over the scars and lumps and bumps
Tattooed love boys
Have got you where I used to lay
Well ha ha too bad, but you know what they say
"Stop snivellin', you're gonna make some plastic surgeon a rich man"

Oh, but the prestige and the glory
Another human interest story
You are that


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

Tattooed Love Boys Lyrics as written by Christine Hynde

Lyrics © Hipgnosis Songs Group

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Tattooed Love Boys song meanings
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19 Comments

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  • +3
    Song Meaning

    She was abducted in her early twenties by a biker gang of tattooed love boys, and forced to perform sex acts upon them. I think this is an autobiographical song. Read the lyrics again.

    Exiledonmainstreeton August 30, 2015   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    roxy102060on September 06, 2015   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    I don't think "you got paint stick all over the scars and lumps and bumps" means the guy has AIDS. It refers to the woman who is in the position Chrissie used to be in, being abused...I think you can figure the rest out.

    brigitte77on April 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation
    1. The song was written pre-AIDS so the reference to bandages has nothing to do with that.
    2. I really don't think this song has anything to do with prostitution at all. I would say that "sixedheart" above is closest to the interpretation. Being used, finding personal and sexual power, and then seeing the tables turn.
    3. My assumption was always that the "changing tires" had something to do with changing rubbers (she is from Ohio, after all), or condoms.
    4. "Stop snivelling... plastic surgeon" I believe refers to stop crying or someone will thump you (i.e. rearrange your face). It's a fairly common expression in the UK.

    If you ever get a chance to see her do this song live, it's insane. Chrissie Hynde is truly amazing.

    stacyloweon September 19, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    According to chapter 14 of her autobiography entitled "Reckless", this song is about a time in her youth when she was sexually assaulted by a group of Hells Angels in Cleveland.

    martin1990on March 13, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Hm. Not too difficult to get the message in this song, and Love it ain't. Using (oral) sex acts to achieve acceptance into a group/gang perhaps?

    Major Valoron August 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I wish these lyrics were spaced via tempo...oh well.

    I think it's about any sort of sexual/teasing act rather than just oral. It basically about those girls that do 'certain' things just to get attention but dee down they are just insecure with themselves. So she was one of them, but now she see's someone else in that position.

    sixedhearton March 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    It's a lot of rough sex imagery that pulls no punches, to me. "Changing tires" I found as interesting (I used to think it was "Chains and Tires? Upstairs, bro" meaning some real deviant strangeness, but I think I was off!) I think there's a story around it and a lot of the ideas that everyone's brought up are very good ones, but I don't think it gets nearly as specific as some of the ones I've read on here. "Stop sniveling - you're gonna make some plastic surgeon a rich man" just sounds like dominatrix threats as does references to "scars and the lumps and the bumps", though "Paint stick" isn't clear. Great song/lyrics!

    Swan.fred@hmail.comon August 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "Got paint stick" is the guys rod. Anyway, the song seems to be about Chrissie's rape experience. Chrissie implies in her book that she sort of induced the rape based on her behavior and clothing combined. She was with some wild dudes and got caught up in the roughness of it all. She was shown "what that hole was for".

    AJSteeleon September 22, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The lyric is not "I went apewire." That makes no sense.
    It's "I went afire."

    rockabiton April 23, 2021   Link

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