Streets of London – Ralph McTell

It seems that the late 1960s and early 1970s was a rich time for singer/songwriters, especially accompanied by guitar. Here is Ralph McTell singing “Streets of London”. It is almost a folk song with his gentle finger-picking accompaniment.  In a later article I will write about another Ralph McTell song, The Ferryman.

Watch the video and follow the lyrics.

Streets of London

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday’s paper telling yesterday’s news

So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She’s no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.


In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea last an hour
Then he wanders home alone


And have you seen the old man
Outside the seaman’s mission
Memory fading with
The medal ribbons that he wears.
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn’t care



The song has been covered by dozens of artists. Here is a version by Sam Hui (許冠傑)


Author: charuzu

I live in Sydney and interests include music, piano playing, technology, cooking, English language, public speaking, Toastmasters, Asian culture (especially Japan and Korea), cinema, personal development, productivity and making friends with people from around the world.

3 thoughts on “Streets of London – Ralph McTell”

  1. Great to see any mention of Ralph [soon touring in OZ] I look forward to reading your blog on The Ferryman. With a back catologue of over 300 and added to regularly,this most acomplished Singer/Songwriter is largely ignored in his beloved England [I would add a link to that excelent song by Ralph were I able]

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