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A Better Place To Be Lyrics

Artist: Harry Chapin
Album: Greatest Stories Live

It was an early morning bar room,
And the place just opened up.
And the little man come in so fast and
Started at his cup.
And the broad who served the whisky
She was a big old friendly girl.
And she tried to fight her empty nights
By smilin' at the world.

And she said "Hey Bub, It's been awhile
Since you been around.
Where the hell you been hidin' ?
And why you look so down ?"

But the little man just sat there like he'd never heard a sound.

The waitress she gave out with a cough,
And acting not the least put off,
She spoke once again.

She said, "I don't want to bother you,
Consider it's understood.
I know I'm not no beauty queen,
But I sure can listen good."

And the little man took his drink in his hand
And he raised it to his lips.
He took a couple of sips.
And he told the waitress this story.

"I am the midnight watchman down at Miller's Tool and Die.
And I watch the metal rusting, and I watch the time go by.
A week ago at the diner I stopped to get a bite.
And this here lovely lady she sat two seats from my right.
And Lord, Lord, Lord she was alright.

"Oh she was so damned beautiful that she'd warm a winter's frost.
But she was long past lonely, and well nigh unto lost.
Now I'm not much of a mover, or a pick-em-up easy guy,
But I decided to glide on over, and give her one good try.
And Lord, Lord, Lord she was worth a try.

"Tongued-tied like a school boy, I stammered out some words.
But it did not really matter much, 'cause I don't think she heard.
She just looked clear on through me to a space back in my head.
And it shamed me into silence, as quietly she said,
'If you want me to come with you, then that's all right with me.
Cause I know I'm going nowhere, and anywhere's a better place to be.
Anywhere's a better place to be.'

"I drove her to my boarding house, and I took her up to my room.
And I went to turn on the only light to brighten up the gloom.
But she said, 'Please leave the light off, Oh I don't mind the dark.'
And as her clothes all tumbled 'round her, I could hear my heart.
The moonlight shown upon her as she lay back in my bed.
It was the kind of scene I only had imagined in my head.
I just could not believe it, to think that she was real.
And as I tried to tell her she said 'Shhh.. I know just how you feel.
And if you want to come here with me, then that's all right with me.
'Cause I've been oh so lonely, lovin' someone is a better way to be.
anywhere's a better way to be.'

"The morning come so swiftly but I held her in my arms.
But she slept like a baby, snug and safe from harm.
I did not want to share her with the world or break the mood,
So before she woke I went out and brought us both some food.

"I came back with my paper bag, to find out she was gone.
She'd left a six word letter saying 'It's time that I moved on.'"

The waitress took a bar rag, and she wiped it across her eyes.
And as she spoke her voice came out as something like a sigh.
She said "I wish that I was beautiful, or that you were halfway blind.
And I wish I weren't so dog-gone fat, I wish that you were mine.
And I wish that you'd come with me, when I leave for home.
For we both know all about loneliness, and livin' all alone."

And the little man,
Looked at the empty glass in his hand.
And he smiled a crooked grin,
He said, " I guess I'm out of gin.
And know we both have been so lonely.
And if you want me to come with you, then that's all right with me.
'Cause I know I'm goin' nowhere and anywhere's a better place to be."


by Helena on 6/25/2008 12:29pm
What can I say?
Absolutely awesome!!
Love It, Love it, Love it!!!
by Bill Markwood on 9/7/2009 11:28pm
My all-time favorite - nice job on the interpretation. Harry is truely missed...
by Maureen on 1/20/2010 2:37pm
I love this !! It has been a favorite of mine forever.
by William on 3/12/2010 2:41pm
This is a beautiful and poignant story written decades ago that speaks today,to disabled persons like me. I swear I have dreamed a thousand time of something like this happening to me. The truth is that women as kind as this do not exist in the modern world . And yes I do get that she was also quite damaged.
by Chuck on 4/23/2010 5:42am
I have always loved this song (story). It causes me to want more; more of the story. Did the watchman treat the barmaid like he was treated? Did he get past his loneliness? Did the barmaid? What happened to the "lovely lady"? Like so many of Chapin's songs, this one strikes at the core of life, a haunting search into one's soul. Harry thank you for touching my life and so many others. I (We) miss you!
by justaful on 12/10/2010 9:36pm
life changing, my favorite and beautiful story.... i sat and cried the day the harry died. He is another of the few who were way before their time. Mr. Tanner is my life, in a nutshell. I am a musician and realized early on that if I followed that road, my escape and sanity would be gone.
by dermod lynskey on 1/25/2011 11:50am
by Chi Halevi on 8/26/2011 6:02pm
Had he lived longer, I think Harry would have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the anti-hunger campaign he started, plus other pro people projects.

And oh, the songs, the songs, that would have poured from his throat to a parched humanity.
by Paul fryer on 4/17/2012 11:50pm
I hope I make it to I can meet harry
by David walls on 7/8/2012 10:17pm
As Harry said in a small auditorium at The University of Montevallo ( al), " it is quality before quantity". How true

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