Dire Straits: On Every Street Meaning
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On Every Street Lyrics
You gotta be on somebody's books
The lowdown - a picture of your face
Your injured looks
The sacred and profane
The pleasure and the pain
Somewhere your fingerprints remain concrete
anonymous Oct 17th report
It’s about a guy who can get any woman he wants (every victory is bittersweet) other than the one he really wants....!
anonymous May 29th 2019 report
About a missing woman, and the pain of those who keep on looking and trying... despite the odds being against them. It's about the sad reality that even if not here anymore, this lady is NEVER forgotten. And we will keep looking, on every street.
anonymous Apr 8th 2019 report
To me this song is about an tough, experienced but frustrated police detective investigating a hit and run road accident on a National holiday. The victim was stunningly beautiful. This case is different. He’s drawn to her, somehow. She reminds him of an ex-lover, or maybe his daughter. She had no ID. No cards. No phone. Nothing. Who is she? It haunts him?
The witnesses heard the tires squeal but did not see the impact itself. They were watching the fireworks. They saw the driver get out and crouch by the victim. Did he take her ID, cell phone, credit cards? Not sure. When he fled the scene they got his plate number & car details so they tracked him down & the cop questioned him. The “ladykiller” is a biker low life known to police as having low level criminal connections (regulation tattoo). He says she just walked out in front of the car; he crouched over her to see if she was okay but she was dead. So he took off. He already had a rap sheet and didn’t want any more trouble with cops. “Hey, what can I tell you, as I'm standing next to you, she threw herself under my wheels”. Is he lying? The cop can’t prove it. He needs to ID her.
Is this some innocent (sacred) kid out for a (pleasure) walk distracted by the fireworks on a hot night who just walked out onto a busy dangerous street right in front of the low life’s car? If so, where’s her ID, her phone? And there’s no missing person report. Maybe it’s a darker scenario (profane): a deliberate suicide of a tortured soul (in pain)? Or worse: an ex of the jilted ladykiller, or of one of his biker buddies, or of a crime boss who paid the biker to find & kill her and take her out-of-state ID? Was she a frightened witness to an unreported crime who needed to be silenced? Maybe she’s a runaway prostitute whose murder was intended as a chilling message to the other girls? The cop has run down every possible lead, gone down every street to figure out who she is. He’s interviewed the local prostitutes and the ladykiller’s neighbours and buddies. No-one admits even knowing her. He’s gone down every other available avenue, but again, there’s no record of her fingerprints or her face on any database, including missing persons. She was so young and beautiful he really wants to figure it out, but now weeks later the case is getting cold. He’ll have to move on. He’s gone down every street, turned over every rock. No clue. Such a waste.
Now the clever musical metaphor: Knopfler writes music and can use three chord progressions like in a symphony and bury a pre-conceived melody in the various disparate and/or harmonizing chords. Those chords & the progression itself (the way the chords come together) will eventually reveal the melody. But in this story, the cop has no chords, no facts, just silence, dead space, so the cop’s dedication and disciplined methodology can’t reveal the melody, the solution, and crack the case. The three chord symphony has crashed into empty space. And the world is upside down. She is dead real but the detective can’t find who she is. He’s failed her. It weighs on him.
What is worse, there is no good ending to this. This is police work after all and he knows that even if he does crack the case, she’s still dead (!): either a victim of senseless stupid distraction like too many pedestrians today; a tormented suicide victim; a frightened witness or ex lover or runaway call girl fearful of being found and killed by criminals; or another random victim of the underbelly of this ravenous town. At best it would be a bittersweet victory as the beautiful, silent innocence that has so intrigued and driven him, would stripped away by the cruel, unforgiving, seedy reality of who she really was and what happened here. Yet… he still wants to know.
Of course this is not a dry report, but a song that evokes a strong emotional response. The guitar riff, like the cold case, meanders but goes nowhere; and like the lovely dead girl, it’s haunting, beautiful, woeful. You just can’t get it out of your head. Like the cop. Deeply powerful, haunting & sad.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Sep 9th 2018 report
Adopted child looking for her birth Mother.
anonymous Mar 27th 2018 report
It’s about a criminal. A killer. And the detective who has spent his career hunting him down.
anonymous Nov 14th 2017 report
It’s about a girl running away from home and her father spends the rest of his life looking for her and he never found her.
anonymous May 18th 2017 report
A lost lover that he can't replace.
anonymous Sep 8th 2014 report
It's about trying to find Elvis, what inspired him, clutching on to everything that could possibly remain and coming up with just shadows of an enigma
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