Reed, Lou - Leave Her Johnny Lyrics

O the times are hard and the wages low
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
I guess it's time for us to go!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

O I thought I heard the old man say
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Tomorrow you will get your pay!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

Liverpool Pat with his tarpaulin hat
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
It's Yankee John the packet rat
An' it's time for us to leave her!

It's rotten beef an' weev'ly bread
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
It's pump or drown the old man said
An' it's time for us to leave her!

We'd be better off in a nice clean jail
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
With all night in an' plenty o' ale!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

The mate was a bucko an' the old man a turk
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
The bosun was a beggar with the middle name o' work!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

Cook's a drunk, he likes to booze
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Between him an' the mate there's little to choose!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

I hate to sail on this rotten tub
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
No grog allowed and rotten grub!
An' it's time for us to leave her!

No Liverpool bread, nor rotten crackerhash
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
No dandyfunk, nor cold an' sloppy hash
An' it's time for us to leave her!

The old man shouts, the pumps stand by
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Oh, we can never suck her dry
An' it's time for us to leave her!

Now I thought I heard the old man say
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Just one more pull an' then belay
An' it's time for us to leave her!

For the voyage is done an' the winds don't blow
An' it's time for us to leave her!

Other Lyrics by Artist

Rand Lyrics

Reed, Lou Leave Her Johnny Comments
  1. Nabucodonosor II

    Never heard this song before. I thought he was talking about leaving drugs.

  2. Keanu Charles Reeves

    Loved this version

  3. Carlin Wilkinson

    This is the worst cover of any song done ever .... I could do this and I can't sing for fuck

  4. Pauline6247

    I really don’t like this one little bit...

  5. Ross Wilson

    This is Lou's version of a traditional shanty, obviously, but he brings a wonderful 'end-of-voyage' and sailor's weariness to it...its not meant to be just another shanty...we are meant to see the dockside at the end of a long and exhausting journey...,and i think we can glimpse it. Wonderful. RIP Lou

  6. shuchang guo


  7. kasgo

    I have heard classic interpretations so many times that I'm tired of them. I love this one and what gives me goosebumps is the voice of Anthony in the background. The Rough and the Lyrical.

    Rocket Chips

    I agree, I like the whole anthony thing in the background. but I feel like this version lacks solid flow

  8. Nicholas Stafford

    downvote for bad version and clickbait

  9. Micah Hill

    this is very intriguing. not great, necessarily, but a very visionary interpretation. and still very much alive artistically for a man of that age. kind of an inside out, surreal version. very off kilter

  10. Steven Simmons

    wow...this is a terrible version of this great shanty. :( I typically only dislike some versions but I can say I hate this one, lol.

  11. Sean Stewart

    Love lou reed but he brings nothing but desolation to this great shanty.

    Caleb Woods

    Sean Stewart Is that what Lou does though?

    Keanu Charles Reeves

    That's the idea

  12. Jeroen de Vries

    god fucking damnit you ruined it

  13. Rosa Blackstar

    I think it's also worthy of mention the collaboration of Antony (Hegarty) on backing vocals. 

  14. Ethan Ray

    If anyone actually knew anything about Lou Reed, they would know that this is his version of the song. It's got Lou written all over it. If you don't get what's going on in this song, then you're missing out on something pretty important.

  15. Bydbayj2265

    Wtf is this shit?

  16. Krock

    R.I.P. Lou

  17. Michael Malone

    this is the great lou reed interpreting a pirate song, which obviously none of you toolboxes can comprehend. ye shall be bungtargets tonight for the crew.

  18. Dan9545

    The only good song out of the album is my son john. The others aren't that great.

  19. Carlibengarli

    Anally raped it! :O

  20. Beemerboy324

    Jesus Lou! If you don't want to do the song, just say so!

  21. Jon McLurg

    drugs is the only explanation.

  22. Beemerboy324

    Yep, some artists, when asked if they would some songs - should say no. This is proof of that.

  23. John McLinton

    this is worse than any drunk singing it!!!

  24. shantyman101

    @rouseg54 -- how well i remember the Arethusa sitting off Upnor.
    Thanks for the memory.

  25. shantyman101

    I hate to be negative, but this is shit.
    He has taken a piece of history and raped it

  26. Daniel Cochrane

    I am huge Lou Reed fan but this a very poor attempt at this classic remake
    . This song should be recorded with feeling. Some musicians just like to hear the sound of their voice no matter what the cost. I'm sure he would have done a much better job of this tune if he had put his heart into it. It's what most song writers achieve to do.

  27. B. Vint

    Fantastic. Lou Reed made something new of this, both here and in his original song, "CREMATION: Ashes to Ashes", from his album Magic and Loss. To all ye nay-sayers: music is alive, as long as we give it life.

  28. geoff rouse

    @ScottAln05 Very true. I`ve been listening to Lou for decades. My point was his style not his manner. The song isnt meant to be `happy go lucky`. It`s a sad song about leaving a ship but sung with the lilt of a shanty.

    Trevor Layhe

    It is supposed to be a happy song, because they are finally leaving the shitty ship with the mean captain, rotten food, hard work, and abysmal pay.

  29. ScottAln05

    @rouseg54, I'm cool with your comment, but Lou isn't exactly a happy guy. Most of his songs are expressions of aggression or sadness. So an expectation of a happy-go-lucky interpretation by Lou is unrealistic.

    Rocket Chips

    The shanty is supposed to be sad as it is.

  30. geoff rouse

    Your absolutely right. Many years ago when I was in my early teens I was sent onto a four masted brig called the Arethusa. It was more like a floating borstal and we learned to take harsh treatment and give it out. They wouldnt allow it today. But looking back I wouldnt have missed it for the world and I first heard this song there. The modern Arethusa is a sea cadet ship but if you watch the first Rocky film you can see my Arethusa . He runs past it. It was sold to the USA in the 1970s.

  31. thirteenfingers

    @rouseg54 Got to agree with you there. He's really not done this any justice at all.
    From the wrench of leaving your ship and home of months or years embodied in a shanty to something so tuneless and hard to listen to.
    Not good.

  32. geoff rouse

    sorry to all lou fans but this is awful! A wonderful shanty made to sound like a dirge.