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It's The Hard-Knock Life is the second song sung in Annie. It was composed by Charles Strouse, and the lyrics were written by Martin Charnin. It's the Hard-Knock Life is one of the most famous songs from the musical Annie, it was first sung on Broadway in 1977. It is sung by the orphans under the care of Agatha Hannigan.

Plot

As punishment for trying to escape the orphanage in the middle of the night, Miss Hannigan has Annie, and the orphans, clean their room all night. While they clean, the girls sing of the injustices they suffered while living in an orphanage. Such injustices include being "kicked" instead of being "kissed," and never celebrating holidays such as Christmas and Halloween.

The scene includes a lot of choreography. During the musical number one of the orphans sticks a pillow up her shirt and pretends to be Miss Hannigan. The other orphans throw her into a gigantic hamper filled with dirty sheets. The large hamper plays an important role in allowing Annie to escape successfully out of the orphanage shortly after the song.

Lyrics

The Orphans:
It's a hard knock life for us!
It's a hard knock life for us!

Annie:
'Stead of treated

The Orphans:
we get tricked!

Annie:
'Stead of kisses

The Orphans:
We get kicked!
Got no folks to speak of, so
It's the hard knock row we hoe

Annie:
Cotton blankets

The Orphans:
'''
Stead of wool!

Annie:
Empty bellies

The Orphans:
'''
Stead of full!
It's a hard knock life!

Annie:
Don't it feel like the wind is always howlin'?

The Orphans:
Don't it feel like there's never any light?
What's a day you don't wanna throw the towel in?
It's easier than putting up a fight.

Annie:
No one's there when your dreams at night are creepy!
No one cares if you grow or if you shrink!
No one dries when your eyes get wet and weepy

The Orphans:
From the crying you would think this place would sink!
Ohhhh!!!!!!!
Empty belly life!
Rotten smelly life!
Full of sorrow life!
No tomorrow life!

Molly:
Santa Claus we never see.

Annie:
Santa Claus, what's that? Who's he?

The Orphans:
No one cares for you a smidge,
When you're in an orphanage!
It's the hard knock life!

Molly (imitating Miss Hannigan):
You're gonna clean this up, 'till it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!

The Orphans (except Molly):
Yank the whiskers from her chin
Jab her with a safety Pin
Make her drink a mickey finn!
I love you Miss Hannigan!

Molly (imitating Miss Hannigan):
Get to work!
Now!
Strip that bed!
I said get to work!

The Orphans (except Molly):
It's the hard-knock life for us
It's the hard-knock life for us
No one cares for you a smidge
When you're in an orphanage
It's the hard knock life!
It's the hard knock life!
It's the hard knock life!

Cultural references

  • The Chrysler Building, constructed in 1928 (a few years before the musical is set), is a building on Lexington Ave, New York, New York.
  • A Mickey Finn is a drink given to an unsuspecting individual, to make them drunk or unconscious. Ironically, the name originated in Chicago, not New York City.

Cover versions

  • Jay-Z sampled the song in his song "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)"
  • Cher Lloyd sang the song during the seventh series of the British X factor in 2010.
  • Play covered the song for their third studio album Don't Stop the Music in 2004.

Trivia

Many of the lyrics sung by Annie were originally sung by the other orphan girls in the stage musical.


v - e - d
Disney's Annie - 1999 - Transparent Logo
Media
AnnieSoundtrack
Characters
AnnieDuffyJulyKateMollyPepperTessieAgatha HanniganMr. BundlesSandyGrace FarrellOliver WarbucksDrakeBert HealyRooster HanniganLily St. RegisThe Orphans
Locations
New YorkThe OrphanageWarbucks Mansion
Songs
MaybeIt's the Hard Knock LifeTomorrowLittle GirlsI Think I'm Gonna Like It HereNYCEasy StreetYou're Never Fully Dressed Without a SmileSomething Was MissingI Don't Need Anything But You