City, frequently called City Song is a song by Jane’s Addiction written in 1987.

Recording Story

The most common version of this song, as found on Kettle Whistle and Soul Kiss was recorded in November of 1988.  It features just Dave Navarro on guitar and Perry Farrell on vocals.  Due to a scheduling mishap, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins never made it to the studio.   Stephen Perkins described the goof in the press release for the Kettle Whistle album:

“The version of ‘City Song’ is just Dave and Perry recording in a studio –neither Eric or I were on it. Someone gave me directions to a Sherman Oaks recording studio and then they changed the studio at the last minute and didn’t let me know. I got all dressed up, had my bongos, but spent hours driving around looking for this studio while Dave and Perry were recording the song. Eric didn’t find the right studio either. It’s a great song, though, about living in the city using what’s around you as your life support. The lyrics are ‘There’s a trash can, you can eat. There’s a park bench, you can sleep, in the city.'”


In the city there is something to see
In the city there is nothing to breathe
I’m going about my business
I’m wondering what I’m missing

And on my way home, I hid in my coat
I wrote my name on the city wall
Being famous

In the city there is a park bench you can sleep out on
The city there is a trash can you can eat out of
I’m going about my business
I’m wondering what I’m missing

And on my way home a cop said “No!”
I said, “There is a man with a stick and a gun in his hand”
Being famous

Red man in the city
Poor man in the city
Black man in the city
Fat man in the city
Red man, black man
Fat man, blue man
I don’t know the rest of the words
‘Cause I made it up just for you, oh…
Just for you

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