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Velvet Underground - I'm Waiting for the Man - Lyrics Meaning

American rock band The Velvet Underground released "I'm Waiting for the Man" in 1967 on their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico. Like many of the band's other songs, "I'm Waiting for the Man" focuses on the dark underbelly of life in New York City. The track, written by singer Lou Reed, tells the story of a man in New York traveling to Harlem to meet his drug dealer, who is never referred to as anything other than "the man" in the song. He brings $26 uptown, where he stops at a brownstone at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street, which is currently the home of a 4/5/6 subway station. ("Up to Lexington, 1-2-5"). The Velvet Underground were one of the first groups to openly write songs about drug use and its catastrophic consequences (heroin, in the case of "I'm Waiting for the Man"). The accounts often came from the personal experiences of the band members. Rolling Stone magazine placed "I'm Waiting for the Man" at number 159 on their list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. Reed has commented that "Everything about that song holds true, except the price." $26 in 1967 would be more than $166 today.

Meanings of other songs by Velvet Underground:
All Tomorrow's Parties

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May 23, 2022 @ 2:02 am
Please help me understand why the lyrics in the line "beat up shoes, and a big straw hat" Is not at all what Lou Reed sings here? I can't for the life of me find an accurate translation of this part is particular. It sounds alot more like he's saying "Pierre shoes, and a big straw hat" the brand Pierre in specific had a large collection of mod shoes in the 1960's, including ones that look like something a drug man would be wearing. This is the only thing that I've found as an applicable explanation to this lyric. Otherwise, I personally cannot make out "beat up shoes" Am I the only one here?
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Jul 13, 2022 @ 3:15 pm
Hey Turner - it’s “hee-haw” shoes, Google it and you’ll see what they are.

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