Kim Kizyma
Graphic Designer + Creative Technologist

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SOTD: Dark lady

[Verse 1]
The fortune queen of New Orleans
Was brushing her cat in her black limousine

On the back seat were scratches from
The marks of men, her fortune she had won
I couldn't see through the tinted glass;
She said, "Home, James" and he hit the gas
I followed her to some darkened room
She took my money, she said, "I'll be with you soon"

[Chorus]
Dark lady laughed and danced
And lit the candles one by one;
Danced to her gypsy music
'Till her brew was done...
Dark lady played black magic
'Till the clock struck on the twelve

She told me more about me
Than I knew myself...


[Verse 2]
She dealt two cardsa queen and a three
And mumbled some words that were so strange to me
And then she turned up a two-eyed jack
My eyes saw red but the card still stayed black

She said, "The man you love is secretly true
To someone else who is very close to you!
My advice is that you leave this place
Never come back, and forget you ever saw my face!"

[Chorus]
Dark lady laughed and danced
And lit the candles one by one;
Danced to her gypsy music
Till her brew was done...
Dark lady played black magic
Till the clock struck on the twelve

She told me more about me
Than I knew myself...


[Verse 3]
So I ran home and crawled in my bed
I couldn't sleep because of all the things she said
Then I remembered her strange perfume
And how I smelled it once in my own room

So I snuck back and caught her with my man;
Laughing and kissing til they saw the gun in my hand...
The next thing I knew they were dead on the floor--
Dark Lady would never turn a card up anymore!


[Chorus fades out]
Dark lady laughed and danced
And lit the candles one by one;
Danced to her gypsy music
Til her brew was done...
Dark lady played black magic
Till the clock struck on the twelve

She told me more about me
Than I knew myself...

Dark Lady” is the title song to Cher’s 11th album.

It was written by Johnny Durrill (who was a keyboard player for instrumental rock band The Ventures) & produced by Snuff Garrett.

The song is about a fortune teller who tells the narrator of the song that her lover’s been unfaithful to her. The narrator ends up catching her lover with the fortune teller & she kills both of them in a rage.

According to Johnny Durrill about the song:

“I spent a week in his [Snuff Garrett’s] office playing him songs, one of which Cher recorded. Later, when I was on tour with in Japan with the Ventures, I was writing an interesting song. I telegraphed the unfinished lyrics to Garrett. He said to ‘make sure the bitch kills him.’ Hence, in the song, both the lover and fortune killer were killed.”

Dark Lady” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a week in March of 1974 and peaked at #3 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA.

This chorus suggests the fortune queen is more than she seems; candles, “gypsy” music, a magic brew, and midnight (“the clock struck on the twelve”) are all typically associated with witchcraft and sorcery.

Witches are also frequently said to have cats as companions or “familiars”, which may be why the Dark Lady had a cat in her limousine.

kk