“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” is a song by the American soul group The Temptations. The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong and was released in 1972. It is one of the group’s most popular songs and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The song tells the story of a young man whose father was a rolling stone, constantly on the move and never settling down.
The lyrics to “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” are powerful and emotional. They tell the story of a father who was always on the move, never staying in one place for too long. The song begins with the lines “It was the third of September, that day I’ll always remember, yes I will. ‘Cause that was the day that my daddy died.” The lyrics go on to describe the young man’s father, who was always on the move and never seemed to care about his family.
The chorus of the song is perhaps the most famous part of the lyrics. It goes: “Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. And when he died, all he left us was alone.” These lines capture the essence of the song and the emotions that it evokes.
Meaning of the Song
“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” is a song about the impact that a father’s absence can have on a family. The young man in the song is left feeling alone and abandoned after his father dies. The lyrics suggest that the father was always on the move and never really cared about his family. The song speaks to the universal experience of losing a loved one and the emotions that come with it.
The song has also been interpreted as a commentary on the social and political climate of the time. The 1970s were a time of great upheaval in American society, with issues like the Vietnam War, civil rights, and gender equality at the forefront of public discourse. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” can be seen as a reflection of these issues and the impact they had on families and communities.
“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” has been covered by numerous artists over the years. Some of the most popular cover versions include those by George Michael, Seal, and Phil Collins. Each artist brings their own unique style and interpretation to the song, resulting in a diverse range of performances.
One of the most famous cover versions of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” was by the group Was (Not Was). Their version was released in 1990 and featured guest vocals from the former Temptations singer Dennis Edwards. The song was a hit and reached the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
“Papa Was a Rolling Stone” is a timeless song that continues to resonate with audiences today. Its powerful lyrics and emotional themes have made it a classic of the soul genre. Whether you’re listening to the original version by The Temptations or a cover version by another artist, the song’s message is clear: the impact of a father’s absence can be profound and long-lasting.