“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” Performed by The Temptations (1972)

June 30, 2011


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#1 Pop #5 R&B

Eddie Kendricks had left the uber-successful Temptin’ Temptations and I, like many others, figured the group was through.

Eddie was replaced by Damon Harris and the group continued on with the release of the smash LP “All Directions.” The LP charted #1 R&B #2 Pop.

At 11 minutes and 45 minutes, “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” was one of five hits from the “All Directions” set that let the world know that the Temptations were still at the top of their game!

The musical masterpiece, composed by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield, won three Grammys in 1972; Best Rhythm and Blues Song (went to the songwriters), Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (went to the Tempts),  and Best R&B Instrumental Performance (went to Conductor and Arranger Paul Riser).

Arranged and conducted by Paul Riser, this version of  “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” was a cover version of a single performed and released on  “The Undisputed Truth” earlier in the year that charted 24 R&B but only #63 Pop.

Here are the lyrics to the Papa of all “Daddy Songs” to conclude the month of June!

“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” Composed by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield

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.”

Have a musical summer readers,

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Filed under:All About Daddy,Barrett Stong & Norman Whitfield,Covers That Hit!,Grammy Gold,Guy Groups,Motown/Gordy,Number Ones,Papa Was A Rollin' Stone,Pop/R&B,R&B/Motown,Seventies,The Temptations

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emin3nt July 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Great song….ifyou want a link with “FOLLOW ” atribute?….go to my website, (click on my name to do that)…register and you can put a maxim of 5 links with FOLLOW atribute

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2 Supastarry July 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Nothing to add. its The Tempts and Papa Was A Rolling Stone = Classic!!

P.S- there was an argument on a Tempts YT video on whether Papa left them “alone” or “a loan” LOL…i didnt even think of that!

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3 SonDan July 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Hi lady.

I hope you are having a great summer so far. Glad to see your smiling face in the place :-)

Lawdy Miss Clawdy … I never heard anyone who even thunk the lyric was about Papa leaving the family with a loan to pay (ROTFLOL)
Thanks for sharing that. tidbit Supa. After a rough day at work I needed that awesome belly laugh.

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4 Supastarry July 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Hey SonDan,
my summer is alright so far. how about you?? my b-day just passed! and i thought it was weird. “a loan”. LOL. never wouldve crossed my mind.

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