"Papa Hobo" as written by and Paul Simon....
It's carbon and monoxide
The ole Detroit perfume
It hangs on the highways
In the morning
And it lays you down by noon
Oh Papa Hobo
You can see that I'm dressed like a schoolboy
But I feel like a clown
It's a natural reaction I learned
In this basketball town

Sweep up
I been sweeping up the tips I've made
I been living on Gatorade
Planning my getaway
Detroit, Detroit
Got a hell of a hockey team
Got a left-handed way
Of making a man sign up on that
Automotive dream, oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh Papa Papa Hobo
Could you slip me a ride?
Well, it's just after breakfast
I'm in the road
And the weatherman lied

Lyrics submitted by Janson

"Papa Hobo" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Papa Hobo song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commenttruly a great song with a rather hidden melody.
    Farnsworthon July 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamazing song here
    ronaldo6on May 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"...Got a left-handed way of making a man sign on to that automotive dream." I love the way this line is sung, and I get the automotive/detroit connection, but what does this mean? Left-handed way?
    justinobody22on July 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLeft-handed=Left Winged perspective. He's saying that they have a charming non-republican way of making people join the automotive industry. Great tune!
    Kid Bon August 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't believe 'left handed way' has any political implications. Left handed would be something that sounds good, but really isn't. Something that sneaks up on you. Similar to a left handed compliment. The word 'left' has negative connotations throughout our language.


    Ah yes, spoken like a true right-hander.
    WadePooleon December 18, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI love how Paul Simon paints these pictures with just the right amount of detail that you feel like you've lived through something real.

    In this song, a hobo (a homeless traveler) is making small talk, mostly about the city he finds himself in (Detroit). He's on the street, embarrassed about how he's underdressed ("feel like a clown"), with vague plans to "get away". In the end he asks for a ride because the weather has gotten bad.
    jcovarruon October 09, 2019   Link

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