In the vast landscape of soul and R&B music, The Temptations stand tall as architects of timeless melodies. Among their masterpieces lies the enigmatic saga of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” Released in 1972, this song not only captivates with its musical richness but also tells a compelling narrative of familial complexity and the pursuit of identity. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the layers of emotion and musical brilliance within this iconic track.

Did You Know?

“Papa Was A Rolling Stone” emerged as a collaborative effort between The Temptations and the songwriting team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. The opulent instrumentation, featuring a distinctive bassline, contributes to the song’s immersive sound. Awarded three Grammy Awards in 1973, this track solidified The Temptations’ status as pioneers of soul. Join us as we delve into the soul-stirring world of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.”


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, (my son)
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 them talking Papa doing some store front preachin’
Talked about saving souls and all the time reaching
Dealing in debt, and stealing in the name of the law
Momma just hung her head and said…

[Chorus 2x]

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…

[Chorus 4x]

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