[ ]   [ ]   [ ]                        [ ]      [ ]   [ ]
The Temptations — Papa Was a Rolling Stone
Album: All Directions
Avg rating:
8.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2365









Released: 0
Length: 6:42
Plays (last 30 days): 1
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 nothing but bad things about him.
Mama, I'm depending on you, tell me the truth.

And Mama 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.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."

Well, well.

Hey Mama, is it true what they say,
That Papa never worked a day in his life?
And Mama, bad talk going around town
Saying that Papa had three outside children and another wife.
And that ain't right.
HEARD SOME talk about Papa doing some store front preaching.
TalkIN about saving souls and all the time leeching.
Dealing in debt and stealing in the name of the Lord.

Mama 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.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."

Uh!

Hey Mama, I heard Papa call himself a jack of all trade.
Tell me is that what sent Papa to an early grave?
Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill.
Hey Mama, folk say that Papa was never much on thinking.
Spent most of his time chasing women and drinking.
Mama, I'm depending on you to tell me the truth. Mama 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."
"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. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
(And when he died) All he left us was ALONE."
Comments (443)add comment
Funk at it’s best
Every thing is cool about this song
I always knew "chasing women and baking" didn't sound right.
A high-hat and two notes on the bass, the intro of this is unmistakable.
Like The Blues Breakers, Pink Floyd, Cream, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Revolution, Porcupine Tree...
Truly, one of the greatest bands performing one of the greatest tracks ever. Thanks, Bill.
If this isn't a classic by any standard, I truly do not know what is.
Long Live                                                                                                                                   Radio Paradise
Thank you Temptations for  Papa Was a Rolling Stone       to me                9-OUTSTANDING
A Loan makes more sense   robin_at_domani wrote:
I've always doubted what the right lyrics were:
all he left us was alone
or
all he left us was a loan

but now I know

Thanks RP 
 

Certainly a 10 .  I remember it on the radio.

I remember it in a different key.  In a less elaborate version.  Maybe a Top 40 version versus a live one?
You have me dancing early in the morning!

Rhythmically Speaking this Wah Wah good!
OUT-FREAKING-STANDING! A solid 9 in my books!
R.I.P. - Mr. Dennis Edwards.  This song is awesome and timeless.
 aspalathin wrote:

Even better than the theme from Shaft {#Cheesygrin}

 
well maybe....although that might be cuz I was Richard Roundtree in another life (or Isaac Hayes....can't remember which :-) )
You can Name That Tune in one note.
An awesome track. If ever a track deserved a 10, this is it. A total treat from beginning to end.
SPECTACULAR DADGUMMIT  (shake and slide with this people, cures all ills : )
10. Easy. Spectacular.
No brainer: When a song's opening lyric is your birthday, you give it a 10.
 Duc1098 wrote:
Best intro ever.

 
Even better than the theme from Shaft {#Cheesygrin}
Damn, I'll never make a DJ - too obvious...
I'm completely guessing here, but is the next track going to be Dylan's  'Like a Rolling Stone'?
Best intro ever.
обожаю слушать такой стиль...куда уходит детство
That wah-wah though......
"What a classic.

11 is correctomundo"

—-The Fonz—-
 Wilfrue wrote:
This one goes to 11! You know it's good when on the second bass note, you say, "ooooh", to no one, close the door to your office, put on the headphones and crank it!
{#Notworthy}
 


This one goes to 11! You know it's good when on the second bass note, you say, "ooooh", to no one, close the door to your office, put on the headphones and crank it!
Never get tired of this song.  And it always brings a smile because of the reference the MST3K guys gave it at the beginning of "Mitchell!'


"And that ain't right!"
Epic tune!
This is my JAM!

I love the super long intro. I crank up to tunes on the Harley (and some head bob'n starts) when this comes on.

Music from the days when Black Music was a rarity in the Dance Clubs. {#Dance}

 

One thought: When Papa was such a bad piece, why then has Mama popped him? {#Lol}


There's a number of legendary songs and this is most definitely one of them.
Such a great song!  
Was Not Was does an excellent version of this
one of the few times when a cover is better than the original
but RP has no Was Not Was in their vault
so i included this nifty little link,....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-ke0Cklp6A 
One of the simplest but most recognizable bass line in music history
hayduke2
(Southampton, NY)
Posted: Jun 08, 2012 - 15:41
 

I was compelled to follow the Temps choreography whenever I was lucky enough to see them on tv, Don Cornelius' train or wherever way back then, oh was that something powerful! My suburban white ass trying to follow the steps, and seeing the integrity and charm of these fantastic musicians, super excellent. 


Timeless Solid Gold from the Temps


In the 70s, Motown bands produced loads of 'social realism' songs like this, on top of popcorn pop. Nowadays, such tales would likely just appear on Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle :(

A true classic, which I remember dancing to as a callow adolescent. I hope that folk'll still be playing this a century hence. Pure class songwriting.
thats amazing - check out the LP it's from "All Directions"  if you can find it.
My first music growing up in the industrial heartland. Heaven. No town like Mo town.
Oh heck yes!
Sly Stone, War, Isley Brothers, Spinners, O'Jays, Al Greene. 

R&B was hot for a awhile, eh?  
Have to agree it is a classic.  I thoroughly enjoyed it 
Great Song - The album gets overlooked - but also {#Bounce}is awesome.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Directions


 rjewyo wrote:
Classic....and yes, a 10 {#Cool}
 
Tragic song but, yes, a classic.
 oldsaxon wrote:

You're thinking too modern middle class. He'd never get a loan, but when he died he left them alone, poor and struggling.
 
Before there were payday lenders there were loan sharks. He could get a loan.
Classic....and yes, a 10 {#Cool}
 mrtuba9 wrote:
The line "Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill" always makes me think all he left them was a loan.

 
I believe the actual lyric is "all he left us was alone", but I always thought there was some sort of deliberate wordplay there - either word works. Anyhow, great tune.
 Johnny-smooth wrote:
Follow this with some War will ya Bill
Cisco Kid would do the trick
And if you're feeling really in the groove, some Sly 

 
Sly would make my day right now.
Sublime
Don't vote many 10s... {#Roflol}
 mrtuba9 wrote:
The line "Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill" always makes me think all he left them was a loan.

 
I used to think the same thing when hearing this when I was a kid —- I would always add - for two thousand dollars.
 mrtuba9 wrote:
The line "Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill" always makes me think all he left them was a loan.

 
You're thinking too modern middle class. He'd never get a loan, but when he died he left them alone, poor and struggling.
 ojibwe wrote:
So some of youse might not be old enough to have experienced this in real-time, when the radio was full of Motown and Philly soul (in and amongst all the usual dreck, of course). This one is fabulous though, and its long intro provides a great talk-up to read the weather, traffic, and any short PSAs you had to catch up on. 
 
10.

 
Yes, it absolutely was amazingly fresh and cool beyond anything else. 1972...wow.
The line "Folk say Papa would beg, borrow, steal to pay his bill" always makes me think all he left them was a loan.
 ziakut wrote:
The beginning of this always make me think of the stereotypical 70s porn music...with the crybaby wah chords strumming away. Ok...now I'm dating myself here. Oops.

 
Ye...ess...hmm...  {#Think}

I had a similar comment about Vetiver's "You May Be Blue" and the comments following are going off into strange places. 

Could we have tumbled upon a sub-genre of music, 70s porn background music? Perhaps a band could form and find success?

Many great non-porn comments here about this classic. Egrey is right: the lyrics (and music) paint a bleak, intense picture. Reminds me right now of Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street" which Tarantino used in "Jackie Brown" as a nod to the '72 movie "Across 110th Street" with Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto. 
 
{#Bananasplit}
 DaMoGan wrote:

Not that difficult now with the numerous multi-effects boxes that are available now (and which are affordable by even the relatively poor amateur player), but back then they must have cost some serious cash.
 
It sounds primarily like a wah-wah pedal and probably some vibrato through the amp or with a pedal.  They were somewhat expensive, but not prohibitively so, especially for a renowned session guitarist like Melvin Ragin.
{#Bananasplit}Waca waca waca
I've always doubted what the right lyrics were:
all he left us was alone
or
all he left us was a loan

but now I know

Thanks RP 
Could be the coolest song of all time...instantly recongizable from the first note
 idiot_wind wrote:
Cool song. Still don't get how they make the guitar sound like that. 

 
Not that difficult now with the numerous multi-effects boxes that are available now (and which are affordable by even the relatively poor amateur player), but back then they must have cost some serious cash.

The whack-a-doo guitar is giving my ears whiplash.  Soulful and psychedelic at the same time.
Cool song. Still don't get how they make the guitar sound like that. 
So some of youse might not be old enough to have experienced this in real-time, when the radio was full of Motown and Philly soul (in and amongst all the usual dreck, of course). This one is fabulous though, and its long intro provides a great talk-up to read the weather, traffic, and any short PSAs you had to catch up on. 
 
10.
The 70s live… Amazed my teenage kids love this music like I did when I was their age… 

Early 70's soul still sounds pretty cool, while today's hip-hop BLOWS!!

Now GET OFF MY LAWN!


 Aud wrote:


You are a member of a small minority with that opinion. Rated 8.5

 
YEAH... 8.5, man! Even deserves better!
 kurt_from_kanada wrote:
PSD doesn't seem to be working.

 
I think there is a limit to the number of PSDs you are allowed each hour.  Pandora has a similar feature with the skips.
 KevinM wrote:
This is why the mute button was invented

 
friggin heathen.....{#Beat}


 KevinM wrote:
This is why the mute button was invented

 
No.  The Avett Brothers are why the mute button was invented.
 Egrey wrote:
The lyrics paint a sad and vivid picture.

However, I must say when I was little, I always thought the chorus was "And when he died, all he left us was a bone."

 
I always thought it was "all he left us was a loan."
The lyrics paint a sad and vivid picture.

However, I must say when I was little, I always thought the chorus was "And when he died, all he left us was a bone."
 KevinM wrote:
This is why the mute button was invented

 

You are a member of a small minority with that opinion. Rated 8.5
This is why the mute button was invented
the year I was born...72  what a year ;)
yes. yes. yes...{#Dance}    {#Bananasplit}     {#Sunny} funk da woild   .....{#Yes}
most excellent classic!{#Dancingbanana_2}
Follow this with some War will ya Bill
Cisco Kid would do the trick
And if you're feeling really in the groove, some Sly 
Incredibly great.
If wah-wah pedals were outlawed, then only outlaws would have wah-wah pedals!
My first 10. It is actually 9.75 as nothing is a 10. Except my wife! {#Heartkiss}
Awesome song, excellent start, middle and finish. Both my wife and the song that is. {#Angel}
The Temps don't do for you, and you're not worried?  Fool, you are more than half in the grave, you poor thing, now scuse me while I clap and slide along with The Temptations
Didn't like it way back when and time has wrought no change.
These guys are utterly amazing. SOLID GOLD
And when he died, all he left us was a loan: seems I am not the only one that made that mistake.

https://www.kissthisguy.com/and-when-he-died-all-he-left-us-was-a-l-misheard-136.htm
 kurt_from_kanada wrote:
PSD doesn't seem to be working.

 
Bill turned it off on purpose. Would be blasphemy to use it while this is playing.
9 ---> 10!

Great song to bee bop around in the drivers seat while cruising down PCH (Hwy 1 in CA).
 Orodrigues wrote:
Nothing less than a huge Godlike!

 
There is abslutely no alternative to 'godlike'.

Thank you.  That was incredible and It made my day.


Nothing less than a huge Godlike!
no seriously??
this is why we need a PSD-like button for listeners ....perhaps a GSED button?


kurt_from_kanada wrote:
PSD doesn't seem to be working.

 



The beginning of this always make me think of the stereotypical 70s porn music...with the crybaby wah chords strumming away. Ok...now I'm dating myself here. Oops.
 coy wrote:
chuka ah chuka ah chuka ah
 
Exactly.  Why don't these young whippersnappers know how to play guitar like that?
 MojoJojo wrote:
In this case there is no need for it.  
 
You got that right, Jojo!
 kurt_from_kanada wrote:
PSD doesn't seem to be working.
 
In this case there is no need for it.  
PSD doesn't seem to be working.
chuka ah chuka ah chuka ah
 
My fav Temptations song!!
A perfect song to test the limits of a once promising vocal career...used to be able to hit all of those notes (as if...)

12!

But I LOVE the version of "WAS NOT WAS" nearly as much!

By the way - why is this GORGEOUS band never played here?


 plaice3 wrote:
hmmm ... now that I think about it, my papa was a rolling stone, too.  {#Rolleyes}
 
still all too common
It was the eleventh of September
That day I'll always remember
 plaice3 wrote:
hmmm ... now that I think about it, my papa was a rolling stone, too.  {#Rolleyes}
 
Same boat here. You're not alone.
 blackjackshellac wrote:
When disco (before it was disco) was still cool, and black hair was big.
 
BIG black hair was big, too {#Angel}
A healthy reminder that the 70s weren't all that bad, big bells not withstanding. Excellent song.
Absolutely sublime intro.
When disco (before it was disco) was still cool, and black hair was big.
 johnjconn wrote:
It is un-American , to not like this song.
 
No. It would be un-American to not be able to express your dislike. I share your sentiment...perhaps we should defect.
hmmm ... now that I think about it, my papa was a rolling stone, too.  {#Rolleyes}
It is un-American , to not like this song.
I was compelled to follow the Temps choreography whenever I was lucky enough to see them on tv, Don Cornelius' train or wherever way back then, or was that something powerful! My suburban white ass trying to follow the steps, and seeing the integrity and charm of these fantastic musicians, super excellent. 
 ronniegirl wrote:
Skipped my senior prom to see them.   WOW.
 
You made the right choice.
 WayUpNorth wrote:
Ok, so I know I'm an old fart, but I'm going to say it anyway ... "they just don't make 'em like this anymore."   But I'd be interested to hear Diddy, Jay-Z and Usher cover this ...
 
For a whole different vibe, check out David Lindley and El Rayo-X's cover on Very Greasy.
 Roguewarer wrote:
So.... he was a Rolling Stone? Or a rolling stone...?

Did he leave them a loan? or alone?

These are good reasons for spelling every word while you sing.
 
Raffi - is that you?
So.... he was a Rolling Stone? Or a rolling stone...?

Did he leave them a loan? or alone?

These are good reasons for spelling every word while you sing.
Incredibly this song won the first Grammy for Motown Records.
Great music.  
 sirdroseph wrote:
Porn movie whacka on the guitar!{#Bananajam}
 
Brown chicken brown cow brown chicken brown cow brown chicken brown cow...
 sirdroseph wrote:
Porn movie whacka on the guitar!{#Bananajam}
 
Who ever he is, he's good!