Album: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  • I don't know just where I'm going
    But I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
    'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
    When I put a spike into my vein
    And I tell you things aren't quite the same

    When I'm rushing on my run
    And I feel just like Jesus' son
    And I guess that I just don't know
    And I guess that I just don't know

    I have made big decision
    I'm gonna try to nullify my life
    'Cause when the blood begins to flow
    When it shoots up the dropper's neck
    When I'm closing in on death

    You can't help me now, you guys
    And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
    You can all go take a walk
    And I guess I just don't know
    And I guess that I just don't know

    I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
    I wish that I'd sailed the darkened seas
    On a great big clipper ship
    Going from this land here to that
    In a sailor's suit and cap

    Away from the big city
    Where a man cannot be free
    Of all the evils of this town
    And of himself and those around
    Oh, and I guess that I just don't know
    Oh, and I guess that I just don't know

    Heroin, be the death of me
    Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
    Because a mainline into my vein
    Leads to a center in my head
    And then I'm better off than dead

    Because when the smack begins to flow
    I really don't care anymore
    About all the Jim-Jims in this town
    And all the politicians making crazy sounds
    And everybody putting everybody else down
    And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds

    'Cause when the smack begins to flow
    And I really don't care anymore
    Ah, when that heroin is in my blood
    And that blood is in my head
    Then thank God that I'm as good as dead
    And thank your God that I'm not aware
    And thank God that I just don't care
    And I guess I just don't know
    Oh, and I guess I just don't know Writer/s: LEWIS ALLEN REED, LOU REED
    Publisher: SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 34

  • Brian from EnglandThis is just a song about heroin, a dramatic short story set to music, part of Reed's pen-portraits of life on the streets.
    As he once said, just because I write a song about heroin, doesn't mean I'm an addict, in the same way that a novelist would write about any subject without necessarily experiencing it first-hand.
    As far as I'm aware, Reed wasn't a heroin user; the song's pace more accurately reflects the effects of amphetamine, which Reed used in abundance (Remember "My day beats your year").
  • Thomas from New Zealand Jim-Jim’s are simply hustlers/con artists... dodgy street “vendors”.

    Part of the heroin dive is picking up, navigating the underbelly, and it’s dishonest creatures.
  • Derek from Pittsburgh, PaThe live versions of these songs are amazing. Check out the two on 1969: Live, the one on Bataclan 72, the one on the Bootleg Series, the two on Caught Between the Twisted Stars, the one at La Cave 1968, and the one on Live MCMXCIII, as well as the one at the Springfield concert (pardon the quality), and of course both the mono and stereo versions of the studio recording.
  • Rick from Brooklyn, Ny, NyJim jims in this town might/might not be a reference to African Americans. Lou had some problems there.
  • Jim from Long Beach, Cathis sog is so ahead of it's time. The subject matter for one..
  • Mike from Matawan, NjThere's no contest. The version Lou Reed does on Rock and Roll Animal s--ttes all over this version. AMAZING guitar work.
  • Sam from Chicago, IlRinging in your ears? Are you thinking of Nitris? And, to me when he is singing Heroin will be the death of me.... it would mean that when you get done shooting up you don't have a care in the world and the noise to me relates to the chase to get the drug notice how the tempo of the song changes once it mentions that its been consumed.
  • Isaac from Denver, CoIf you're a Velvet Underground fan, you should know that Lou Reed writes about "dark" things, and never seems to mention whether he is for or against it.
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaWhen he talks about "all the Jim-Jim's in this town" what des he mean??? As in Jim Morrison or what???
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaThis song makes me cry. It's very intense I love it
  • Kellen from Chicago, Ilthis song is amazing, so much feeling-it's absolutely phenomenal.
  • Francia from Caracas, --Heroin is one of my favorite songs of all times... It's so amazing, the feelings that you get while hearing this,just a wonderful piece of art by the even more amazing Velvet Underground
  • Paige from Houston, TxHey, I agree with Sheeberson -- this song doesn't condemn the use of heroin at all. When Reed sings "heroin... be the death of me", he doesn't sound bitter or angry; honestly, his tone feels almost accepting, as if that's just another part of being a heroin user. Plus, he mentions a lot of the highs (feeling "just like jesus' son" while he's "rushing on his run"). It's not PRO-heroin, but it's not against it AT ALL.
  • Nathan from From The Country Of, Canadato maybe answer paul in Cinci...one theory that applies is the chalkboard theory, that many milenia ago we were hunters of and hunted by baboons and the chalkboard is very close to their screech calls, and has been passed down most likely by RNA, just a thought. Anyways phenomenal song from a rediculously underappreciated 60's band.
  • Sheeberson from Wrightsville Beach, Ncnow wait wait wait, this song doesnt talk about the EVILS of heroin usage. it may not support it, but it certainly does not condemn it
  • Melissa from Newtown, Pasuch a meloncholy song
  • Joe from Perth, Australiai feel just like jesus'son, what a line
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhUm, I somewhat take that back...I listened to it again and enjoyed it more. The noise on this song is actually used constructively as opposed to the noise on "Run Run Run" on the same album. On that song, you'd be advised to put your fingers in your ears to avoid the abuse from the feedback.
  • Paul from Cincinnati, OhThis song is too noisy for me to enjoy it, but the combination of the words, the tempo changes and the noise do paint a vivid picture...you do kind of wish that it could stay as pretty as it is at the beginning though. Or I do anyway...I'm very sensitive and obsessive about hearing damage. Question: Do you think that noisy or abrasive sounds at the same volume as other more pleasant sounds actually cause more hearing damage or do you think theyre simply unpleasant but ultimately harmless?
  • Tom from Dublin, IrelandThe premiere theme of this song is not heroin but escapism of the city & all the "evils of this town" when he takes heroin he's not aware or doesn't care about all the "politicians making crazy sounds,and everybody putting everybody else down,all the dead bodies lying up on mounds"...He wishes "that he was born a 1000 years ago" away from the dump the city of new york is...
  • Patrick from Pittsburgh, PaThis song has yet to bore me
  • Michael from Oakville, Canada...when the smack begins to flow... and now we are increasing the tempo... and I'm closing in on death... faster and faster... YEAH.... better than orgasmic in nature, just when, 7 or 8 seconds after you press the syringe down, the smack hits the brain and you feel that you are better off than death...

    Reed describes the feeling perfectly, in a way that only those who have done it can understand. The not caring about death... the not caring about the politicans' crazy sounds... the rush... It's my wife and it's my life... and then I am better off then death. This song really is a classic. It may be 25 years ago that I last shot up smack but this brings is back like it was yesterday.


  • Michael from Oakville, CanadaThis is one of the greatest drug songs of all time. And the bonus is that listening to "Heroin" is much better than taking it. Healthier, too.
  • Ric from Baltimore, MdActually Opiate use can cause a constant ringing in the ears. You may have hear Rush Limbaugh having this problem.

    Also, whenever you are in heavy Opiates your ears are really sensitive to noise. Someone talking at a normal tone can seem very loud.
  • Ruben Rodriguez from Miami, FlI'm pretty sure it's a viola not a violin
  • Someone from SomewhereNo, you don't hear a ringing noise when you're high on heroin or other opiates, but many people say that they hear a "metallic" sound when they smoke crack or inject cocaine...

    Great song, by the way!
  • Cameron from Irvine, CaI've heard alot of versions of this song, but the original takes the cake.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScIf the ringing noise is a violin, then i'm not surprised.
  • Rudi from Uk, Englandheroin that gives you a constant ringing sound? do you have different heroin in rome??!?!?!?!?
  • Victoria from Gaithersburg, MdHope Sandoval from Mazzy Star redid this song. In somes ways, I like her version somewhat even better--but V.U.'s is the orginal of course and should be treated superior. Good song
  • Warrinder from A Town, CanadaThat constant ringing and the loud, crazy, horrible noise at the end is a violan played by John Cale.
  • Commie from Rome, GaThe constant ringing noise that is heard throughout the song is heard while high on the drug.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI like this song too Iara. I like the tempo changes.
  • Orangebeaker from Edinburgh, ScotlandThis song describes the feeling a heroin addict gets when he gets another hit. The tempo of the song changes as the heroin is injected and starts to circulate the body.
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