add artist photo
Kingston Trio
Add Explanation
Add Meaning
Kingston Trio

M.T.A. lyrics

New! Read & write lyrics explanations
  • Highlight lyrics and explain them to earn Karma points.
Kingston Trio – M.T.A. lyrics

Jacqueline Steiner/Bess Hawes

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!

(Eight bar guitar, banjo introduction)

Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charley 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.
Well, did he ever return? No, he never returned and his fate is still unlearned. (What a pity! Poor ole Charlie. Shame and scandal. He may ride forever. Just like Paul Revere.)
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.


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? "


Charlie's wife goes down to the Sculley Square Station every day at quarter past two,
And through the open window she hands Charlie a sandwich as the train comes rumblin' through.


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! Get poor Charlie off the M. T. A.


He's the man who never returned. He's the man who never returned.

Et tu, Charlie?

Lyrics taken from

  • Email
  • Correct


  • t
    Poor Charley never existed, but George O'Brian ran for Mayor of Boston sometime in the late 1940's or early 1950's, and the song played a role in that election. The music is from an old bluegrass tune "The Wreck of the Old 97" about a train wreck in Virginia. The Trio issued it as a single; one of their most popular tunes.
    Add your reply

    Write about your feelings and thoughts

    Know what this song is about? Does it mean anything special hidden between the lines to you? Share your meaning with community, make it interesting and valuable. Make sure you've read our simple tips.
    Min 50 words
    Not bad
    This page is missing some information about the song. Please expand it to include this information. You can help by uploading artist's image, adding song structure elements or creating lyrics explanation.