Lou Reed's album version
Waltzing Matilda whipped out her wallet
The sexy boy smiled in dismay
She took out four twenties 'cause she liked round figures
Everybody's 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, its 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, lets slip away
Luscious and gorgeous, oh what a humpin' muscle
Call out the national guard
She creamed in her jeans as he picked up her knees
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
(Slip away, Oooooh)
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 you know
They think they're just on TV
Why don't you just slip her away
You know, I'm glad that we met man
It really was 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 this all to a police officer
About how it was that your old lady got herself stiffed
And it's not like we could help
But there wasn't 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
And 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
Well hey, man, that's just a lie
It's a lie she tells her friends
'Cause the real song, the real song
Where 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
But life's full of sad songs
A penny for a wish
But wishin' won't make you a soldier
With a pretty kiss for a pretty face
Can't have its way
Y'know tramps like us, we were born to pay
Love has gone away
And there's no one here now
And there's nothing left to say
But, oh, how I miss him, baby
Oh, baby, come on and slip away
Come on, baby, why don't you slip away
Love is gone away
Took the rings off my fingers
And there's nothing left to say
But, oh how, oh how I need him, baby
Come on, baby, I need you, baby
Oh, please don't slip away
I need your loving so bad, babe
Please don't slip away
STREET HASSLE is a song written by Lou Reed who released it in March 1978 on his album Street Hassle. The song is 10 minutes and 56 seconds long and is divided into three distinct sections: "Waltzing Matilda" (3:20), "Street Hassle" (3:31), and "Slipaway" (4:02). The above lyrics are for the original Lou Reed version of STREET HASSLE as released in 1978.
Bruce Springsteen makes a guest appearance on this song, with a brief rap during the "Slipaway" section (from 9:02 to 9:39, lyrics above in bold). He is not credited for his performance in the liner notes to Street Hassle, possibly due to his ongoing legal battles with former manager Mike Appel at the time.
In an interview published in Rolling Stone magazine issue #551 (04 May 1989), journalist David Fricke asked Lou Reed how did Springsteen come to recite those lines on STREET HASSLE. Reed explained, "Because if I'd done them, they'd have come out funny. And when he did it, it sounded real. He was at the same studio, the Record Plant. It wasn't making it with me doing it. So the engineer said, 'Why don't you ask Bruce to do it? He could really do that.' So we asked Bruce to do it, and he rewrote it a little." STREET HASSLE, or at least Springsteen's part of the song, was recorded in October 1977 at The Record Plant in New York City, NY, when Springsteen was at the New York studio recording his Darkness On The Edge Of Town album.
In the last line of the rap, Springsteen states "tramps like us, baby we were born to pay", an altered quotation from his own song BORN TO RUN. As Reed explained to Fricke, it was him who wrote that part. "It had been written with him in mind, but he wasn't there. I was just playing off the title."
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band opened for headliner Lou Reed and his backing band The Tots on 23 Mar 1973 at Palace Theatre in Providence, RI.
In May 1978, Bruce Springsteen attended a Lou Reed concert at Bottom Line in New York City, NY. The show is officially released on Reed's live album Live: Take No Prisoners. Reed mentions and greets Springsteen during his lengthy monologue in WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (at 5:33), saying: "Hi Bruce. Springsteen is alright by the way. He gets my seal of approval, I think he's groovy. You notice the way the critics turned on him, like after they were on him, right?" It's hard to be certain, but Reed seems to invite Springsteen on stage to perform his spoken parts on STREET HASSLE, but Springsteen seems to turn down the invitation. An exchange in the audience during the song can be heard at 6:26, along with what sounds like Springsteen's voice.
In the 1989 Rolling Stone interview, Lou Reed said about Springsteen: "I like him in concert. He's a great live performer. What I really like is the little skits with Clarence and everything, these great spoken introductions."
In addition to its release on Street Hassle, Lou Reed's album version of STREET HASSLE was also included on several other official releases.
As far as it's known, Bruce Springsteen has never performed STREET HASSLE live.
Rock band Simple Minds covered STREET HASSLE in an abbreviated version on their 1984 album Sparkle In The Rain. Drone rock band Spacemen 3's song ODE TO STREET HASSLE employs similar music to STREET HASSLE. It was released on their 1987 album The Perfect Prescription.
STREET HASSLE is featured in the last scene of the 2005 film The Squid And The Whale, and also appears on the film's soundtrack album.
Thanks Jake (ol'catfishinthelake at BTX and Greasy Lake) for the lyrics help.
Some of the above info is taken from Brucebase.
Please contact me if you have scans for or info about any official release containing STREET HASSLE that's not mentioned on this page. I also need scans for the following releases:
On the cover of the Street Hassle album, the reflection of a man appears on Lou Reed's glasses. It is possible that this is none but Bruce Springsteen. Please contact me if you have any information.
Any additions, comments, or corrections to this page are welcome. You can contact me via the below form or by email: . You will be credited. Thanks in advance.
List of available versions of STREET HASSLE on this website:STREET HASSLE [Lou Reed's album version]