Desolation Row

Album: Watchmen: Music From the Motion Picture (2009)
Charted: 52
Play Video
  • 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

    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 comes 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 that's left
    After the ambulances go
    Is Cinderella sweeping up
    On Desolation Row

    Now the moon is almost hidden
    The stars are beginning to hide
    The fortunetelling lady
    Has even taken
    All her things inside
    All except for Cain and Abel
    And the hunchback of Notre Dame
    Everybody is making love
    Or else expecting rain
    And the Good Samaritan
    He's dressing
    He's getting ready
    For the show
    He's going
    To the carnival tonight
    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 eyes
    Are fixed upon
    Noah's great rainbow
    She spends her time peeking
    Into Desolation Row

    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
    Then he went off
    Sniffing drainpipes
    And reciting the alphabet
    Now 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 penny whistles
    You can hear them blow
    If you lean
    Your head out far enough
    From Desolation Row

    Across the street
    They've nailed the curtains
    They're getting ready
    For the feast
    The Phantom of the Opera
    A perfect image of a priest
    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
    Come out and round up everyone
    That knows more than they do
    Then they bring 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
    Check to see
    That nobody is escaping
    To Desolation Row

    Praise be to Nero's Neptune
    The Titanic sails at dawn
    And everybody's shouting
    "Which Side Are You On?"
    And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
    Fighting in the captain's tower
    While calypso singers laugh at them
    And fishermen hold flowers
    Between the windows of the sea
    Where lovely mermaids flow
    And nobody has to think too much
    About Desolation Row

    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 too good
    Don't send me no more letters no
    Not unless you mail them
    From Desolation Row Writer/s: Bob Dylan
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 12

  • Renee from Jonesville VaI freaking love this song! i really dont care for bob dylans version, no offence to anyone but im a head banger type of girl so this got me rocking!
  • Emile from Carlsbad, CaIt's not supposed to be upbeat it is about death and racism.
  • Joe from Union, KyGag me with a pitchfork. This is worse than any of Dave Matthew's covers he destroyed.
  • Rae from Buxton, NcBen, leave mcr alone just because you have nothing better to do. This is a good song no matter what anyone says
  • M from Asdfjkl;, Ilwell Ben your opinion of MCR is horrible if you want to go bash someone let it be yourself because My Chemical Romance is and always will be the best band ever!
  • Vicky from Chesapeake, Vathe bob dylan version is horrible no offense to anyone....mcrs is much faster and upbeat to me , like it a lot!
  • Logan from Indianapolis, Inlol i love this version~ jst cuzz its mcr~!!!
  • Indigo from Adelaide, Australiathe bob dylan one is obviously going to be better, as it was the original. this is just a cover, and i think it is really good, it could have been done a lot worse. nice videoclip as well.
  • Billy from Perris, CaAww.. does the loud music hurt your bloody ears? If you don't like MCR, don't comment and rate their songs, nitwit. If you cannot enjoy this song, your not paying attention to the raw energy that it brings. Find a new hobby.
  • Ben from Lexington, VaThis cover is awful. It has such a generic sound and it does not do the original genious song by Bob Dylan justice. Then again I was not expecting anything good to come from My Chemical Romance they have always been awful and always will. But then again thats just my opinion.
  • Rose from Dumfries, United Kingdomthis would be an awesome song on it's own but it doesn't really do the lyrics justice. Great song though. LoVe U mCr!!!!!!!
  • Brian from Alluhrst, Nji was afraid that this was gonna kill the original bob dylan song but i was plesantly suprised this is a really good song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Dave Mason

Dave MasonSongwriter Interviews

Dave reveals the inspiration for "Feelin' Alright" and explains how the first song he ever wrote became the biggest hit for his band Traffic.

80s Video Director Jay Dubin

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Francesca Battistelli

Francesca BattistelliSongwriter Interviews

The 2011 Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards isn't your typical gospel diva, and she thinks that's a good thing.

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.