"30,000 Pounds of Bananas" as written by and Harry F. Chapin....
It was just after dark when the truck started down
The hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big John) of bananas.

He was a young driver,
Just out on his second job.
And he was carrying the next day's pasty fruits
For everyone in that coal-scarred city
Where children play without despair
In backyard slag-piles and folks manage to eat each day
Just about thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, just about thirty thousand pounds (scream it again, John) .

He passed a sign that he should have seen,
Saying "shift to low gear, a fifty dollar fine my friend."
He was thinking perhaps about the warm-breathed woman
Who was waiting at the journey's end.
He started down the two mile drop,
The curving road that wound from the top of the hill.
He was pushing on through the shortening miles that ran down to the depot.
Just a few more miles to go,
Then he'd go home and have her ease his long, cramped day away.
And the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

He was picking speed as the city spread its twinkling lights below him.
But he paid no heed as the shivering thoughts of the nights
Delights went through him.
His foot nudged the brakes to slow him down.
But the pedal floored easy without a sound.
He said "Christ!"
It was funny how he had named the only man who could save him now.
He was trapped inside a dead-end hellslide,
Riding on his fear-hunched back
Was every one of those yellow green
I'm telling you thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

He barely made the sweeping curve that led into the steepest grade.
And he missed the thankful passing bus at ninety miles an hour.
And he said "God, make it a dream!"
As he rode his last ride down.
And he said "God, make it a dream!"
As he rode his last ride down.
And he sideswiped nineteen neat parked cars,
Clipped off thirteen telephone poles,
Hit two houses, bruised eight trees,
And Blue-Crossed seven people.
It was then he lost his head,
Not to mention an arm or two before he stopped.
And he slid for four hundred yards
Along the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania.
All those thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

You know the man who told me about it on the bus,
As it went up the hill out of Scranton, Pennsylvania,
He shrugged his shoulders, he shook his head,
And he said (and this is exactly what he said)
"Boy that sure must've been something.
Just imagine thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of mashed bananas.
Of bananas. Just bananas. Thirty thousand pounds.
Of Bananas. not no driver now. Just bananas!"

From Greatest Stories Live: Ending number one

Yes, we have no bananas,
We have no bananas today
(Spoken: And if that wasn't enough)
Yes, we have no bananas,
Bananas in Scranton, P A

From Greatest Stories Live: Ending #2:

A woman walks into her room where her child lies sleeping,
And when she sees his eyes are closed,
She sits there, silently weeping,
And though she lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania
She never ever eats ... Bananas
Not one of thirty thousand pounds .... of bananas


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"30,000 Pounds of Bananas" as written by Harry F. Chapin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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30,000 Pounds of Bananas song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis is based on a real incident that happened in 1965. It happened on Moosic St hill in Scranton, Pa
    the driver was killed several people were injured I work on the bottom of the hill and there have several near misses with cars in the 10 years I've been there
    Theres a line in the song that says something about a sign at the top of the hill that says "shift to low gear...."
    Now, trucks over a certain weight are forbidden to go down that hill.
    wiclo6on January 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is indeed a true song, and to show you what sort of man Harry was, out of respect for the family of the truck driver, he wouldn't play this song in any of his concerts in Pennsylvania
    Binkyon April 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful poetry, for a funy song! The lines dreamily wisp into each other - It's wonderful! He even tells the story story of how he came up with the ending he did. In the greatest stories live version, he sings "he shrugged his head...he shrugged hs shoulders" in the last verse by accident, and everyone laughs and keeps laughing until the end of the song!
    Leanahton August 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the alternative endings...it is like one of those choose your own adventure books.
    popnoiron September 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is actually a true story. Chapin wrote it after being told about a truck transporting bannannas which crashed in Scranton, spilling bannannas everywhere.

    This next part I'm not 100% sure about, but I think that the woman who was the wife of the driver actually contacted Chapin about the song, and thats where the second live ending comes from.
    Twinb1983on March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes, this song is definitely true. my mother was born in scranton pennsylvania and she remembers the day when this happened.
    weezerific:cutleryon June 16, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is indeed a true song, and to show you what sort of man Harry was, out of respect for the family of the truck driver, he wouldn't play this song in any of his concerts in Pennsylvania
    Binkyon April 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first heard this with my Dad. It's a true song about an actually serious situation, but told in a rather clever and funny way. I could see them not wanting to play it there. He's sort of making light of someone's death.
    kmk_natashaon January 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's interesting on how this song was meant to be totally serious but fans & critics thought it was a joke song and thus Harry made subsequent live versions faster-paced with audience interactions/jokes.
    Armoon May 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought this song was about masturbation
    gaygaylovetonon April 24, 2008   Link

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