Desolation Row Lyrics by Grateful Dead


Grateful Dead Lyrics

Desolation Row Lyrics
They're selling postcards of the hanging
They're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

[Verse 2]
Now Cinderella, she seems so easy
"It takes one to know one," she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in walks Romeo, he's moaning
"You belong to me I believe"
And someone says, "You're in the wrong place, my friend
You Better leave"
And the only sound you can hear
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now Ophelia, she's 'neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday, she already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession's her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
And though her gaze is gazed upon Noah's great rainbow
She spend her time peeking in from
Desolation Row

Now, Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
As he went off sniffing drainpipes and reciting the alphabet
Oh, you would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients they're trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser she's in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read "Have mercy on his soul"
They all play on the penny whistles, yes, you can hear then blow
If you lean your head out far enough from
Desolation Row


[Instrumental]

[Verse 6]
Across the street they've nailed the curtains
They're getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
In a perfect image of a priest
Now they're spoon-feeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they'll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom's shouting to skinny girls
"Get outta here if you don't know"
Casanova is just being punished for going to
Desolation Row

Now, at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
They'll round up everyone
That knows more than they do
They take them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Make sure nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Bob praise be to Nero's Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody's shouting
"Which side are you on?"
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
They're fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them, yes
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And no one has to think too much about
Desolation Row

[Instrumental break]

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
About the time the door knob broke
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can't read so good
Don't send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from
Desolation Row


Soundtracks / Top Hits / One Hit Wonders / TV Themes / Song Quotes / Miscellaneous