Your favorite descriptions of a character in a song

Not sure if this has been done before, but what are some of your favorite lyrical descriptions of a character in a song, either real or fictional? It doesn’t have to be poetic, or beautifully written - you just have to like it.

I’ll start with one I’ve always loved from the song “Kate” by Ben Folds Five. It’s very simple, but paints a pretty good picture of what kind of girl Kate is:

“Every day she wears the same thing, I think she smokes pot.”

What are some favorites of yours?

I knew a man Bojangles and he’d dance for you
In worn out shoes
With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants

The old soft shoe

And on a related note:

I came just to post the “.32 gun in his pocket…” lines. Beaten to it but I love the lyrical flow and imagery.

Curtis Loew:

Dylan has plenty, such as this one (quoted from memory, hope I’m not too far off):

Now Ophelia, she’s 'neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
Now to her death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession is her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her spare time peeking into
Desolation Row.

Here’s one from Brian Eno:

The Fat Lady of Limbourg
Looked at the samples that we sent
And furrowed her brow.
You would never believe that
She’d tasted royalty and fame
If you saw her now.
But her sense of taste is such that she’ll distinguish with her tongue
The subtleties a spectrograph would miss,
And announce her decision,
While demanding her reward –
The jellyfish kiss.


The entirety of CNR.

It’s simple, but I love Hot Chocolate’s description of Emma: “And when she said she’d be a movie queen / Nobody laughed.”

Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” has some nice lines. “Kind of broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip / and everybody knew you didn’t give no lip / to Big John.”

She was just seventeen - you know what I mean.

“like lady’s stacked and that’s a fact…36-24-36 , oh, what a winning hand”

Brick House - Lionel Ritchie (or is it the Commodores)

Golden words he will pour in your ear
But his lies can’t disguise what you fear
For a golden girl knows when he’s kissed her
It’s the kiss of death from Mister

The Diary of Horace Wimp, by Electric Light Orchestra. Love this song.

Tom Waits- Ghosts of Saturday Night
“As he dreams of a waitress with Maxwell House eyes
And marmalade thighs with scrambled yellow hair.”

Another Jim Croce:

She was five foot six and two fifteen
A bleached-blonde mama
With a streak of mean
She knew how to knuckle
And she knew how to scuffle and fight

And the roller derby program said
That she was built like a 'fridgerator with a head
Her fans call her “Tuffy”
But all her buddies called her “Spike”

And another great 70s song:

She was black as the night
Louie was whiter than white
Danger, danger when you taste brown sugar
Louie fell in love overnight

Nothing bad, it was good
Louie had the best girl he could
When he took her home
To meet his mama and papa
Louie knew just where he stood

She’s a very kinky girl
The kind you don’t take home to mother
She will never let your spirits down
Once you get her off the street

A couple from Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat”:

*She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolour in the rain…

Well, she looks at you so cooly,
And her eyes shine, like the moon on the sea;
She comes in incense and patchouli…

Desolation Row and The Fat Lady of Limbourg? I honestly had to check your name and the date of the post because I thought I had posted that.

Another Dylan:

Louise she’s all right she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like a mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place.

Joni Mitchell:

Coyote’s in the coffee shop
He’s staring a hole in his scrambled eggs
He picks up my scent on his fingers
While he’s watching the waitresses’ legs

Billy was a Mountain
Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder
Billy had two big caves for eyes
With a cliff for a jaw that would go up or down
And whenever it did
He’d puff out some dust
And hack up a boulder.