STREETS OF LONDON - chords and comments
At the age of 22, Ralph McTell wrote this busker's standard, and has always refused to make any change to it. But in 2020, facing the Covid19 pandemic turning the world upside down and homeless fellow citizens hiding to avoid isolation, he found it appropriate to add a verse, on request by close friends. And NOW, with this aftermath included, *I* found it appropriate to play this song, which I haven't done before ... because everybody else did.
The song had a narrow birth and slow progress, as well as nor McTell's career was explosive. He first recorded it for his second album "Spiral Staircase" (Transatlantic 1968) with only himself on guitar and vocals. A new take was released as a single in the Netherlands - from the US release "Well-Meaning Brought Me Here"(Reprise 1972) - gaining some interest.
THEN, in 1974, he recorded it with Rod Clements on bass and Prelude on backing vocals. Released as a single 7th of December, it became a worldwide million-seller, won McTell the "Ivor Novello Award" and gave him a shelf in the folk music history. Lifelong achievement has given him a rack on his own. The song has been covered by more than 200 artists, in several languages.
The scene and characters were originally from Paris, and McTell's working title was "Streets of Paris". Realizing that ANY huge town shows up the same, he finally put it all into his home town London. Pretty good choise.
NOTE: I usually don't let the downpage info icon peak to Wikipedia if anything else is possible, but McTell's own site is some unnavigable WordPress junk, and HIMSELF links to Wiki for biography ...
A E F#m C#m
have you seen the old man in the closed down market
D A B7 E ...E7
picking up the papers with his worn out shoes
A E F#m C#m
in his eyes you see no pride and hanging loosely at his side
D A E7 A
yesterdays paper telling yesterdays news
D C#m E E7 A
so how can you tell me you're lonely
B7 E ...E7
and say for you that the sun don't shine
A C#m A7 D C#m A7
let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
D A E E7 A
I'll show you something to make you change your mind