Song of the Day #4,044: ‘Sweet Painted Lady’ – Elton John

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road landed seven songs on my personal playlist, including yesterday’s SOTD (‘Grey Seal’) and the expected hits: ‘Candle in the Wind,’ ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,’ ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ and ‘Harmony.’

The final track to make the cut was entirely new to me. ‘Sweet Painted Lady’ is a whimsical tune about prostitutes who sleep with sailors on shore leave.

John and Bernie Taupin conceived this song in the style of Noel Coward, and they delivered a wry, delightfully naughty gem.

I’m back on dry land once again
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We’re all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we’ve learned

If the boys all behave themselves here
Well there’s pretty young ladies and beer in the rear
You won’t need a gutter to sleep in tonight
Oh the prices I charge here will see you alright

So she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

Oh sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

Oh sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

Forget us we’ll have gone very soon
Just forget we ever slept in your rooms
And we’ll leave the smell of the sea in your beds
Where love’s just a job and nothing is said

So she lays down beside me again
My sweet painted lady, the one with no name
Many have used her and many still do
There’s a place in the world for a woman like you

Oh sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

Oh sweet painted lady
Seems it’s always been the same
Getting paid for being laid
Guess that’s the name of the game

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,044: ‘Sweet Painted Lady’ – Elton John

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I recall listening to this as a kid and not knowing at the time what “being laid” was or what the song was about, but I knew I liked the song.

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