Song Lyric Sunday — Midnight Rambler

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams gave us “Dawn, Noon, Dusk, Midnight, Nocturnal, and Diurnal.” My first thought was to go with Chicago’s “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” But then the The Rolling Stones’ song “Midnight Rambler” popped into my head. It was a tough choice because I really like both songs, but finally decided to go with the Stones.

“Midnight Rambler is a blues/rock song written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. The song was released on The Rolling Stones’ 1969 album Let It Bleed, which happens to be my favorite Stones album.

The inspiration for the song is thought to be the case of the Boston Strangler. Thirteen women were found dead in and around Boston from 1962-1964. Most of the victims had been sexually assaulted, strangled, and were found with their nylon stockings tied in a bow around their necks.

While the lyrics do not directly relate to the specifics of the case, Jagger implies it when he sings, “Well you heard about the Boston…” before an instrumental stab cuts him off. The singer in the song calls himself the “midnight rambler,” and he seems to relish his notoriety in the same way that many real-life serial killers seem to.

When performing the song, Jagger takes on the persona of a killer who is stalking his victim. He would create a morbid atmosphere when he takes on the role of the killer, spastically whipping the floor toward the end of the song as the audience would scream along.

Here are the lyrics to “Midnight Rambler.”

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
The one that shut the kitchen door
He don’t give a hoot of warning
Wrapped up in a black cat cloak
He don’t go in the light of the morning
He split the time the cock’rel crows

Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Did you see him jump the garden wall
Sighin’ down the wind so sadly
Listen and you’ll hear him moan
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Everybody got to go

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Well, honey, it’s no rock ‘n’ roll show
Well, I’m talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Yeah, the one you never seen before

(Don’t you do that)

Well you heard about the Boston,
It’s not one of those
Well, talkin’ ’bout the midnight, sh,
The one that closed the bedroom door
I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger
The knife-sharpened tippie-toe…
Or just the shoot ’em dead, brainbell jangler
You know, the one you never seen before

So if you ever meet the midnight rambler
Coming down your marble hall
Well he’s pouncing like a proud black panther
Well, you can say I, I told you so
Well, don’t you listen for the midnight rambler
Play it easy, as you go
I’m gonna smash down all your plate glass windows
Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
He’ll leave his footprints up and down your hall
And did you hear about the midnight gambler
And did you see me make my midnight call

And if you ever catch the midnight rambler
I’ll steal your mistress from under your nose
I’ll go easy with your cold fanged anger
I’ll stick my knife right down your throat, baby and it hurts!

17 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Midnight Rambler

  1. newepicauthor May 19, 2019 / 6:11 am

    The Stones clearly went to the dark side on this song, although probably not as dark as Sympathy For The Devil, but more dark than Paint It Black. Good one Dango.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. msjadeli May 19, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    It’s got that upbeat tempo, with the dark lyrics, yes, it is a monster reveling in the thrill of murder and the glory of being in the headlines. The parts about he’ll break through your steel door sounds like he thinks he’s invincible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marleen May 19, 2019 / 9:02 pm

    Too creepy (to say the least); I’m not a fan of such a thing. Glad to know the background, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ghostmmnc May 20, 2019 / 1:40 pm

    Haven’t ever heard this one, but I sure like the blusey sound of it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 20, 2019 / 2:40 pm

      It’s really good music if you don’t think to hard about the lyrics.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Woodstock July 2, 2019 / 11:35 am

    Supposedly some of the lyrics to this song are taken from things Albert DeSalvo actually said but I’ve never been able to confirm that or track down exactly which lines where his. Probably just an urban myth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango July 2, 2019 / 2:23 pm

      Yes, as I wrote in the post, some believe that the inspiration for the song is the case of the Boston Strangler. But I hadn’t heard about lyrics coming from DeSalvo. Interesting.


  6. jim444 November 23, 2019 / 10:52 am

    Interesting, your name being Fandango, for I have always taken the next to last line of the song to be “Go easy with your cold fandango.” Meaning, perhaps, that one should not have a too complex an idea what the Rambler is all about. He’s out to get you, period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango November 23, 2019 / 11:03 am

      Ha! As I listen to the song again, that is what it sounds like he’s singing!


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