"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" as written by Norman J. Whitfield and Barrett Strong....
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 had a chance to see him
Never heard nothin' but bad things about him
Mama I'm depending on you to tell me the truth
Mama looked up 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

Where the hell are you daddy, that's what I'm sayin'
Down on my knees and tears and I'm prayin'
Wishing and hoping my dreams could come true
So I could feel like the other kids do
A young child but not complete as a whole
Before I was born you up and strolled
Mama was there but you was up in the wind
You never even knew my name and then
You never wrote, called, let alone came by
As a youth it was hard to wonder why
But now I'm older and I don't dwell on self pity
Thinking about the life you didn't give me
I remember when I used to tell lies
When people would ask I'd just fantasize
Thinking of stories to make you look good
But the real truth was you was never no good
People would say I looked just like you
But rest assured I don't act like you
I'm more than that, my mama raised me better
And you can best believe I'm much more together
So belive that

Mama is it true what they say
That papa never worked a day in his life?
And mama there's some bad talk goin' round town
That papa had three out-side children
And another wife, and that ain't right

Heard some talk about papa
Doin' some store-front prechin'
Talking about saving souls and all the time leaching
Dealin' in dirt and stealing in the name of the Lord
Mama looked up and said son


It's been said you gave me something you never had
But that's not always true and it's sad
To find myself missing you when I did
But who knows the reasons why you did what you did
I can't help but wonder why
You lived your life as a big fat lie
You act like you had no responsibilities
Cause if you did it's a bet that you wouldn't be
Stealin' beggin' hustlin' and schemin'
You could'a got a job
But did you know the meaning of work
I'm talking about an honest day's pay
But you was too lazy to be that way
Always trying to take the easy route
That's what they tell me, so I don't doubt
It for a moment, not for a sec
Because you lacked all your self respect
But it's too late for you that is
Tomorrow I'll be going on about my biz
And so it's time to put the past behind
Erase the anger and clear my mind
I want to forget the little bit I know
And make sure that I never sink so low
Cause I want my kids to grow up and know
That I was always there because I loved them so
And that's the least thing that I can do
But that's a lot more than I got from you

I heard papa call himself a jack of all trades
Tell me is that what sent papa to an early grave?
Folks say papa would beg, borrow or steal
To pay his bills
Hey mama, folks say papa wasn't much on thinkin'
Spent most of his time chasing women and drinkin'
Mama I'm depending on you to tell me the truth


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"Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" as written by Norman Whitfield Barrett Strong

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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