For some reason I can’t get this song out of my head today:

A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a a streetsuss serenade.
Laying everybody low, with the lovesong that he made.
Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade
Says something like “You and me babe, how ’bout it?”

Juliet says “Hey it’s Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack!
He’s underneath the window.” She sings “Hey la, my boyfriend’s back.
You shouldn’t come around here singing up at people like that.
And anyway, what ya gonna do about it?”

Juliet, the dice were was loaded from the start.
And I bet, and you exploded in my heart.
And I forget, I forget, the movie song
When ya gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong?

Come up on different streets, they both were streets of shame.
Both dirty, both mean, yes and the dream was just the same.
And I dreamed your dream for you, and now your dream is real.
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

Well, you can fall for chains of silver, you can fall for chains of gold.
You can fall for pretty strangers, and the promises they hold.
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin.
Now you just say “Oh Romeo, yeah, I used to have a scene with him.”

Juliet, when we made love you used to cry.
You said “I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you ’til I die.”
There’s a place for us, you know, the movie song.
When you gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong?

I can’t do the talk, like they talk on the TV.
I can’t do a love song, like the way it’s meant to be.
I can’t do everything, but I’d do anything for you.
I can’t do anything ‘cept be in love with you.

All I do is miss you, and the way we used to be.
All I do is keep… bad company.
All I do is kiss you, through the bars of a rhyme.
Juliet I’d do the stars with you anytime.

Juliet when we made love you used to cry.
You said “I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you ’til I die.”
There’s a place for us, you know, the movie song.
When ya gonna realize, it was just that the time was wrong?

A lovestruck Romeo sings the streets a a streetsuss serenade.
Laying everybody low, with the lovesong that he made.
Finds a convenient streetlight, steps outta the shade
Says something like “You and me babe, how ’bout it?”

This was the first Dire Straits song that I remember hearing on MTV. Then, as now, I didn’t watch much TV and I was between relationships. Since I didn’t own a TV at that time of my life (speaking of dire straits… that was when I lived as a college student and didn’t even have a car) I saw the video at the house of a girl I had a desperate crush on, but who had no reciprocal feelings. As such I was frequently in a melancholy mood in those days, and this song really got down into my gut and settled there.

I’m not much of a “favorites” sort of person, I tend to be more of a “threshold” person, meaning that there are certain levels of quality that things reach and it’s really rather pointless to discuss which things above the threshold are “better” than the others. At some point it becomes merely a matter of taste. So I just can’t say that this song is “better” than John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” or the Beatles “Something” or any of a host of love songs that all have passed the threshold of the sublime.

The lyrics above are as I hear them when the song is sung. They may not be totally accurate. As much as I love this song, and as much as I love Dire Straits (one of the very, very, very few performers in the 80s that I found worth listening to) Mark Knopfler can be very hard to understand at times.

For example, where I have “All I do is kiss you, through the bars of a rhyme” I just as easily and frequently hear that verse as “All I do is kiss you, through the bars of Orion” which I find more poetic and which ties into the whole “stars above” theme going in the song, but it seems more likely that a songwriter would use “bars of a rhyme” to me, so that’s how I wrote it.

Similarly I hear the first line as “… sings a streetside serenade…” as often as I hear it as written above. The line “All I do is keep… bad company” is probably the line I have the worst trouble with. It sounds like he adds something about a “beat” where I have the ellipsis… like “All I do is keep the beat… bad company” but that doesn’t make sense. Not that song lyrics have to make sense.

Anyway, the video of this is done in black and white mostly, and has some remarkable imagery. “Juliet” in the video is portrayed as a gum-popping frivolous teenager, which is probably pretty close to Shakespeare’s vision of Juliet in the play “Romeo and Juliet” itself.

There aren’t a lot of songs that I can truly say my life would have been less enriched if I hadn’t heard them, but Dire Straits is one of the extremely rare bands that have more than one song I would put in that category. Another one is “Sultans of Swing.”

Any discussion of greatest bands ever should include Dire Straits. Besides the awesome lyrics, Mark Knopfler is one of the best guitarists ever. The lead guitar on “Sultans of Swing” is inhumanly powerful and evocative.