Song Lyrics

Raised On Robbery

by Joni Mitchell

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He was sitting in the lounge of the Empire Hotel
He was drinking for diversion
He was thinking for himself
A little money riding on the Maple Leafs
Along comes a lady in lacy sleeves
She says let me sit down
You know, drinkin' alone's a shame
It's a shame it's a crying shame
Look at those jokers
Glued to that damn hockey game
Hey honey-you've got lots of cash
Bring us round a bottle
And we'll have some laughs
Gin's what I'm drinking
I was raised on robbery

I'm a pretty good cook
Sitting on my groceries
Come up to my kitchen
I'll show you my best recipe
I try and I try but I can't save a cent
I'm up after midnight cooking
Trying to make my rent
I'm rough but I'm pleasin'
I was raised on robbery

We had a little money once
They were pushing through a four lane highway
Government gave us three thousand dollars
You should have seen it fly away
First he bought a '57 Biscayne *
He put it in the ditch
He drunk up all the rest
That son of a bitch
His blood's bad whiskey
I was raised on robbery

You know you ain't bad looking
I like the way you hold your drinks
Come home with me honey
I ain't asking for no full length mink
Hey, where you going
Don't go yet
Your glass ain't empty and we just met
You're mean when you're loaded
I was raised on robbery

© November 28, 1973; Crazy Crow Music


"57 Biscayne"
Is Joni using an artistic license here? Chevrolet didn't even debut the Biscayne until 1958 (shown here), probably due to the success of the previous year's overall car sales. With 1,522,536 units sold in 1957, Chevy beat out Ford by 136 cars. Although their eventual popularity was certainly not predicted when they were first introduced, 1957 Chevrolet vehicles have become one of the most sought after model years of all vehicles.

Transcriptions of Raised On Robbery

Piano Transcriptions of Raised On Robbery

Raised On Robbery has been recorded by 36 other artists

  • Aces & Eights (from "unreleased live recording" - )
  • Adams, Bryan & Wynonna Judd (from "An All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell (TV Broadcast)" - 2000)
  • Baker, Cheryl  (from "Cheryl Sings Joni" - 2017)
  • Blue Shadows (from "On The Floor Of Heaven" - 2010)
  • Blue Tapestry (from "Blue Tapestry" - 2002)
  • Canadian Suite (from "Coast to Coast" - 2002)
  • Court And Spark Band (- )
  • Dirty Dishes (from "In Sink" - 2019)
  • Easton, Sheena (from "Live At The Palace, Hollywood (Video)" - 1982)
  • Eden, Joanna (from "Joni & Me" - 2016)
  • Guitar Trek (from "On Song" - 2023)
  • Heidi Martin, Janet Garbe, Esther Haynes, Diane Rosenthal & Steuart Smith (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2008)
  • Jim Stringer & The Am Band (from "In My Hand" - 2004)
  • Kai, Carole (from "Let Me Love You" - 1978)
  • Kennedy, Sherry (from "Don't Wait" - 1996)
  • Matthew's Minstrels (from "Traditional Fare" - 1994)
  • Medley, Sue (from "(unreleased live performance)" - 1990)
  • Mesibov, Paul (- )
  • Miller, Betsy  (from "Becology" - 2013)
  • Molaskey, Jessica (from "Portraits of Joni" - 2017)
  • Moxie (from "It Takes Moxie" - 2003)
  • Nuclear Spaceship (from "Four Thousand" - 2019)
  • Piano Project (from "Piano Tribute to Joni Mitchell" - 2021)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue & Court And Spark - Live At Dizzy's" - 2011)
  • Sally Barker - Joni Mitchell Project (from "Conversation: The Joni Tapes" - 2010)
  • Smith, Sara (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 1974)
  • The Bucknell Jazz & Rock Ensemble (from "Warm Winter Winds" - )
  • The Sheepdogs (from "Covered in Gold 5.0, Side B" - 2017)
  • The Whims (from "Tuxedo Junction" - 1980)
  • Tincher, Jeff (from "All I Want" - 2015)
  • Todd, Kate (- )
  • Trans-Canada Highwaymen (from "Explosive Hits Vol. 1" - 2023)
  • TRAP (from "45 single" - 1976)
  • Twisted Pine (from "Dreams" - 2018)
  • Weiner (from "This Strange Town" - 2022)
  • Winter, Bia (from "Long Time Comin'" - 2023)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]


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barbel on

Hi! I'm somewhat of a newbie to Joni's music, so it's extra-cheeky of me to quibble with the official site. But I am inclined to agree with other dissenters, not just about the "s", but about " game" (what I hear is "losing AT THAT hockey game"), AND I swear I hear "BLUE money riding on...." Even playing the intro provided on this site, several times. Ah well... one of those things for music nerds to discuss endlessly.

Margie on

S or no s it's good poetry and the"jokers glued to that damn hockey game" are patrons of the hotel lounge, including the man the hooker is talking to

bobconstans on

Not to quibble with Joni's official site, but since you can hear her clearly deviate from what is here at least once (an 's' on 'best recipe'S to rhyme with groceries), and since Joni is such a consummate song crafter, I just wonder is all.
Plus I always thought it was (appropriately enough) 'LOSING that damn hockey game' LOL