M.T.A.

The Kingston Trio Buy

About M.T.A.

"M. T. A.", often called "The MTA Song", is a 1949 song by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes. Known informally as "Charlie on the MTA", the song's lyrics tell an absurd tale of a man named Charlie trapped on Boston's subway system, which was then known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The song was originally recorded as a mayoral campaign song for Progressive Party candidate Walter A. O'Brien. A version of the song with the candidate's name changed became a 1959 hit when recorded and released by The Kingston Trio, an American folk singing group. The song has become so entrenched in Boston lore that the Boston-area transit authority named its electronic card-based fare collection system the "CharlieCard" as a tribute to this song. The transit organization, now called the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), held a dedication ceremony for the card system in 2004 which featured a performance of the song by the Kingston Trio, attended by then-governor Mitt Romney. 


Year:
2009
67 Views

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These are the times that try men's souls
In the course of our nation's history the people of Boston have rallied bravely whenever the rights of men have been threatened
Today a new crisis has arisen
The Metropolitan Transit Authority, better known as the M.T.A.
Is attempting to levy a burdensome tax on the population in the form of a subway fare increase
Citizens, hear me out, this could happen to you!

Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket, kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Well, did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (what a pity)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned

Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square station
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
When he got there the conductor told him, "one more nickel"
Charlie couldn't get off of that train!

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (poor old Charlie)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned

Now, all night long Charlie rides through the station
Crying, "what will become of me?
How can I afford to see my sister in Chelsea
Or my cousin in Roxbury?"

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (shame and scandal)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned

Charlie's wife goes down to the Scollay Square station
Every day at quarter past two
And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich
As the train comes rumbling through!

But did he ever return?
No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (he may ride forever)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned
Pick it Davey

Kinda hurts my figers

Now, you citizens of Boston, don't you think it's a scandal
How the people have to pay and pay?
Fight the fare increase, vote for George O'Brian
Get poor Charlie off the MTA!

Or else he'll never return
No he'll never return and his fate is still unlearned (just like Paul Revere)
He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston
He's the man who never returned

He's the man who never returned
He's the man who never returned
Et tu, Charlie?

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The Kingston Trio

The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music group that helped launch the folk revival of the late 1950s to late 1960s. The group started as a San Francisco Bay Area nightclub act with an original lineup of Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds. It rose to international popularity, fueled by unprecedented sales of 33⅓ rpm long-playing record albums (LPs), and helped to alter the direction of popular music in the U.S. more »

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Written by: BESS HAWES, JACQUELINE STEINER

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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