Dire Straits – Lions – Lyrics

Dire Straits – Lions – Lyrics

Dire Straits – Lions – LyricsDire Straits – Lions – Lyrics

“Lions” is the last song on the Dire Straits debut album from 1978. This song was inspired by Mark Knopfler’s nocturnal wanderings about the “Wild West End.”

There are some speculations about the meaning of the song. Mark has moved to London after he completed his English degree at Leeds University.

Some people said that this song is about Trafalgar Square in London, and some said that it is all about the nostalgia that Mark had for his old town, Leeds. Here are some of the facts about why some people thinking that this song is about Leeds.

Firstly, the lions in Trafalgar Square are from bronze, and the lions outside Leeds Town Hall are made of stone. Secondly, London back at the time had a pigeon problem, famous for it, and Leeds had a huge starling problem.

Thirdly, London is famous for its underground, odd then he mentions the overground if it’s London, Leeds only has over ground railways. And fourthly Leeds only has one railway station in the center, not really a strong point but of course, London has plenty.

So, those are some of the facts. But, Mark had an interview back in July 2017, and he said the following: “I wrote this just off Trafalgar Square in London. I also think of Ted Hughes’s poem comparing the idea of “Where are the lions?” as opposed to these starlings, in terms of contemporary figures of strength who aren’t there, who used to be there.”

To sum up, it’s up to you to decide which version is more accurate. Let’s back on the lyric of the song. The song begins with one evening rush hour in London, and Knopfler in the first verse has also mentioned the famous and small type of birds called starlings.

As the lyric goes on, the song takes place in Trafalgar Square in London. It must be Autumn, because Knopfler describes “flagpole days,” apart from the wind mentioned in the first verse, maybe a rumination on Winter coming.

And just at the end of the second verse, Knopfler mentioned the drunk old soldier who was also a “lion” back in the past to the glory of the British Empire.

“The lions are made of stone,” this part of the lyric is as we already wrote about Trafalgar Square lions sculpted by Sir Edward Landseer. Those massive statues were erected in 1868 and have been a tourist attraction ever since.


Red sun going down, way over dirty town
Starlings they’re sweeping around, crazy shoals
Yes, and a girl is there, high heeling across the square
The wind, it blows around in her hair and the flags upon the poles
Waiting in the crowd to cross at the light
She looks around to find a face she can like

Church bell clinging on distant, trying to get a crowd for Evensong
Nobody cares to depend upon the chimes it plays
They’re all in the station praying for trains
Congregation’s late again
It’s getting darker all the time, these flagpole days
Drunk old soldier he gives her a fright
He’s a crazy lion, he’s a-howling for a fight

Strap hanging, gunshots sound
Doors slamming on the Overground
Starlings are tough but the lions are made of stone
Her evening paper is horror torn
But there’s hope for later, Capricorn
Her lucky stars give her just enough to get her home
Then she’ll read about a swing to the right
But she’s been thinking about a stranger in the night

I’m thinking about the lions
Thinking about the lions
What happened to the lions
Tonight, tonight, tonight

Thinking about the lions
Thinking about the lions

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