Title: Streets of London
Artist(Band): Dana Winner
Have you seen the old man
In the closed down market
Kicking up the papers,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
AND held loosely AT his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news
Chorus: So how can you tell me you're lonely,
and say for you that the sun don't shine,
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I'll show you something to make you change your mind.
Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags
She's no time for talking
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.
In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
each tea lasts an hour,
And he wanders home alone
Have you seen the old man
Outside the Seamen's Mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn't care
"Streets of London" is a song written by Ralph McTell. It was first recorded for McTell's 1969 album Spiral Staircase but was not released in the United Kingdom as a single until 1974. It was his greatest commercial success, reaching number two in the UK singles chart, at one point selling 90,000 copies a day and winning him the Ivor Novello Award and a Silver disc for record sales.
The song was inspired by McTell's experiences busking and hitchhiking throughout Europe, especially in Paris and the individual stories are taken from Parisians - McTell was originally going to the call the song Streets of Paris; eventually London is chosen for its arguably more sonorous name. The song contrasts the common problems of everyday people with those of the homeless, lonely, elderly, ignored and forgotten members of society.
McTell left the song off his debut album, Eight Frames a Second, since he regarded it as too depressing, and did not record it until persuaded by his producer Gus Dudgeon, for his second album in 1969. A re-recorded version charted in the Netherlands in April 1972, notching up to #9 the next month. McTell re-recorded it again for the UK single release in 1974.
McTell played the song in a fingerpicking style with an AABA chord progression. Over two hundred artists have made covers of this song including Cliff Richard, Blackmore's Night, Mary Hopkin, Raffi, Sam Hui, Sinéad O'Connor, Schooner Fare, Anti-Nowhere League, Roger Whittaker, Cleo Laine and Liam Clancy.