7. Rolling Stone

Dennis Edwards who was a former lead singer of the Motown group the Temptations died last Thursday. One of his most famous hits was “Papa was a Rolling Stone” The song was part of the group’s legacy in writing more political songs rather than the usual love songs.

He replaced David Ruffin with more grittier urgent soul voice better suited to the political agenda of the new songs.

The song is a lament from a son about his errant Father. The son keeps asking and asking to be told the truth about his Father, with the only retort being “Papa was a Rolling Stone” 

Dennis Edwards, singer and musician, born 3 February 1943; died 1 February 2018

Lyrics 

It was the third of September
That day I’ll always remember, yes I will
‘Cause that was the day that my daddy died
I never got a chance to see him
Never heard nothin’ but bad things about him
Momma I’m depending on you to tell me the truth
Momma just hung her head and said, son

Papa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
Papa was a rolling stone (my son, yeah)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone

Hey Momma!
Is it true what they say that Papa never worked a day in his life
And Momma, some bad talk goin’ round town sayin’ that
Papa had three outside children
And another wife, and that ain’t right
Heard some talk Papa doing some storefront preachin’
Talking about saving souls and all the time leechin’
Dealing in dirt, and stealing in the name of the Lord
Momma just hung her head and said

Papa was a rolling stone (my son)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
Hey Papa was a rolling stone (dad gumma it)
Where ever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone

Hey Momma
I heard Papa called himself a jack-of-all-trades
Tell me is that what sent Papa to an early grave
Folks say Papa would beg, borrow, steal
To pay his bills
Hey Momma
Folks say Papa never was much on thinking
Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking
Momma I’m depending on you to tell me the truth
Momma looked up with a tear in her eye and said, son

Papa was a rolling stone (well, well, well, well)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone (lone, lone, lone, alone)
Papa was a rolling stone
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone

(I said) Papa was a rolling stone (yes he was, my son)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
My daddy was
Papa was a rolling stone (yes he was, yeah)
Wherever he laid his hat was his home)

 

Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2018
All rights reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique

 



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