Lady Stilleto

Album: Night Lights (1975)
Play Video


  • A stiletto, correctly spelled, is a short dagger or a woman's shoe with a long, high tapering heel.

    The "stilleto" in the song's title is intentionally misspelled to be an anagram for "St. Elliott," and thereby a play on the songwriter's own name ("Not that I'm a saint by any means," Murphy was quick to add in his Songfacts interview).

    The song wasn't only about himself, though. It was also about Patti Smith.
    Murphy watched Smith coming up on the music scene and always admired her performances and her writing. He offered to produce her first album, but she wasn't interested.

    "I have never really had any relationship with Patti Smith on a personal level," Murphy told Songfacts. "In fact, she never seems to acknowledge me when we are in the same room together. Not sure why."
  • In "Lady Stilleto," Murphy sings about "this little girl dressed in black" who is "spitting on the stage" and "leading the anarchist parade." He also sings that she "writes with a stiletto in mind," using here the correct spelling of the term. It's most likely referring to a dagger, but it could mean both the dagger and the shoe simultaneously, as stiletto heels are generally associated with tough, powerful women.
  • In the song Murphy mentions "Bonaparte," surely a reference to Napoleon Bonaparte.

    He also says she's "Jack the Ripper's kind," referring to the British serial killer from the late 1800s.
  • Murphy describes the song's subject's mind as being "raped by the Rolling Stones" and her body being kept thin by "fasting on Jim Morrison's bones."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jon Anderson

Jon AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Jon Anderson breaks down the Yes classic "Seen All Good People" and talks about his 1000 Hands album, which features Chick Corea, Rick Derringer, Ian Anderson, and many other luminaries.

Janet Jackson

Janet JacksonFact or Fiction

Was Janet secretly married at 18? Did she gain 60 pounds for a movie role that went to Mariah Carey? See what you know about Ms. Jackson.

Maria Muldaur

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.

Little Big Town

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."

Rick Springfield

Rick SpringfieldSongwriter Interviews

Rick has a surprising dark side, a strong feminine side and, in a certain TV show, a naked backside. But he still hasn't found Jessie's Girl.

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.