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Charlie on the MTA

This song is an old favorite in and around the city of Boston. Originally written for Walter O'Brien's 1949 mayoral campaign, it became a hit after being recorded and released by The Kingston Trio.



Well, let me tell you 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 M. T. A.

Chorus:
Well, did he ever return? No, he never returned
And his fate is still unlearned;
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.

(Chorus)

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?"

(Chorus)

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 rumblin' through.

(Chorus)

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'Brien!
And get Charlie off the M. T. A.

(Chorus):
Or else he'll never return, no, he'll never return
And his fate is still unlearned;
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.