The Temptations Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone

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Friday Night Long Songs 1
May 19, 2017
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Classical Gas by Mason Williams
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The Temptations Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone

The Temptations Papa Was a Rolling' Stone

Psychedelic Soul Music

This song was written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.  It was first recorded by The Undisputed Truth in 1971. Whitefield then made an extended version with The Temptations. In 1972, it went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the U.S. Hot R&B Singles. Lead and background vocals are by Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, and Damon Harris. Otis Williams provided background vocals as well. Instrumentation was by the fabulous Motown session musicians The Funk Brothers and The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

The Temptations are one of the most successful groups in music history, which isn’t surprising since they have great songs, great harmonies, and great performances. There have been many personnel changes over the years, of course, and they still tour live.

Here are the lyrics to “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations:

“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

[Chorus]
Papa was a rolling stone,
Where ever 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)
Where ever 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 about doing some store front 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)
Where ever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
Hey Papa was a rolling stone, (dad gummit)
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, or 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)
Where ever 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,
Where ever 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)
Where ever he laid his hat was his home
And when he died, all he left us was alone
(My daddy was, yes he was, yeah he was)
(Papa was a rolling stone,
Where ever he laid his hat was his home)…”

For more songs by The Temptations: “My Girl,” “Ball of Confusion,” and “The Way You Do The Things You Do.”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations

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