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Mr Businessman Lyrics

Artist: Ray Stevens

Itemize the things you covet
As you squander through your life
Bigger cars, bigger houses
Term insurance for your wife
Tuesday evenings with your harlot
And on Wednesdays it's your charlatan
analyst, he's high upon your list

You've got air conditioned sinuses
And dark disturbing doubts about religion
And you keep those cards and letters going out
While your secretary's tempting you
Your morals are exempting you from guilt and shame
Heaven knows you're not to blame

(CHORUS:)
You better, Take care of business Mr. Businessman
What's your plan?
Get down to business Mr. Businessman if you can
(Before it's too late and you throw your life away) 1st time

Did you see your children growing up today
And did you hear the music of their laughter
As they set about to play
Did you catch the fragrance of those roses in your garden
Did the morning sunlight warm your soul,
Brighten up your day
Do you qualify to be alive
or is the limit of your senses so as only to survive
Hey yeah.....

Spending counterfeit incentive
Wasting precious time and health
Placing value on the worthless
Disregarding priceless wealth
You can wheel and deal the best of them
And steal it from the rest of them
You know the score, their ethics are a bore

Eighty-six anesthetic crutches prop you to the top
Where the smiles are all synthetic
And the ulcers never stop
When they take that final inventory,
Yours will be the same sad story everywhere
No one will really care, no one more lonely than
This rich important man, let's have your autograph
Endorse your epitaph

(CHORUS)

Comments/Interpretations

by futty on 7/10/2008 10:22am
This song is meant for all "Masters of the Universe" and all worshippers of the "God of Greed".
by rich on 7/11/2008 1:10pm
Hi I can remember this song as a kid. I was probably 10 years old at the time i came on the am radio. I have played it on tape through the years and it still holds great meaning today and more than ever. I want to put it on a bumper sticker or send it by e-mail to all those acheivers who by the the worlds standards think they got it made and as a result of their so called success have made the lives of those less fortunate than them a misery. Rich
by Joe on 8/31/2008 9:25pm
So much meaning.....I have been there, and it is so true. I have what I have, but I pissed my life away being successful. The family comes around only when they need something, because that is all I ever was to them...4 divorces, and no real meaning to life now.
by larry c on 11/18/2008 8:47am
this song stayed with me since i first heard it. many yrs ago i learn the lyrics as a teenager and just puchased the cd and its a truly classical tune i tip my hat to ray stevens
by Sharon on 12/6/2008 6:39pm
I AM sending the lyrics to all my friends! It is applicable for today's buiness people.
by Patrick on 12/15/2008 5:18pm
I believe Ray Stevens wrote this song after his agent/manager took him to the cleaners. Stevens wrote another meaningful tune: "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex?"
by Randy on 5/1/2009 3:34am
For all those who think life is a destination not a journey.
by Tom on 5/28/2009 3:17pm
...86 PROOF anesthetic...
by Rita on 6/11/2009 2:17pm
It's amazing how some things never change. I first heard this when I was about 15. "Unwind" is another one of his really good songs that I like that's still appropriate for today. Youtube has a great video of Ray Stevens doing Mr. Businessman - check it out!
by Mrs. S. on 9/28/2009 2:16pm
Heard a good Bible study that referenced these lyrics - - wow, they are scary.
by Mr B. on 9/29/2009 8:34am
The lyrics are too broad and damning of the entire businessman crowd. Sure there is a small slice of business that this song fits, however the majority of businesses are upstanding, reputable, and ethical. These businesses provide all the things we use to make everyday modern civilized life possible.
I admire Ray but think he should have worked a little harder and came up with a different title that didn't convict the whole business crowd.
by DB on 9/29/2009 11:54am
I just heard the same Bible study that referenced these lyrics. Great song, and so true.
by Ice on 10/3/2009 11:27am
No Mr. B, they are not too broad. Your perspective may simply be very narrow. The majority of businesses today are not ethical, moral, upstanding or reputable. If they were, we would not be in the crisis we are in today. This song cuts way too close to the bone for those of us in the business world... chasing after the worthless while disregarding the priceless. While I agree that there are many individuals in the business world who ARE upstanding, I don't believe they hold the majority.
by Dudley on 12/26/2009 8:09am
Lyrics are missing the word "proof" after 86 in the last line.
by michael on 3/25/2010 2:04am
these lyrics are the absolute truth and it's time humanity got the message.
by detroitfrank1 on 5/5/2010 1:31pm
It would be hard in today's economic climate, especially if you examine what the big banks and brokerage houses did to the economy, and if you take into consideration the close to 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas, to argue that these lyrics don't speak to the reality of our business world.
by JwileyT61 on 5/12/2010 11:45am
The lyrics of this classic song are driven less by American commerce than individual greed. The acquisitive spirit is alive and well in most of the households of this great country.
by scobrado on 5/19/2010 5:36pm
Mr B., I don't think R.S. is really indicting all businessmen. R.S. is an incredibly driven and astute businessman himself, and he's been long-time friends with moguls such as Chet Atkins. This song is just a vignette of an individual whose priorities are way out of balance.

Ice, I wouldn't say MOST businessmen are in this boat, but there a LOTS... on WALL STREET.. who ARE responsible for financial excess and disaster.
by CHASJR on 1/28/2011 10:45am
MORE POWERFUL IN 2011,THAN WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN BY RAY STEVENS
by REBEL1 ON 01/28/2011 on 1/28/2011 10:47am
MORE POWERFUL IN 2011,THAN WHEN IT WAS WRITTEN BY RAY STEVENS
by Mark NOlan on 2/5/2011 1:52pm
Mr B: Regarding your comment, Baloney ! You think we're all stupid ? Fool some of the people some of the time...You don't fool me.
by Bill Melater on 2/13/2011 7:19am
Funny, I was just thinking of this song the other day. My younger brother is a "businessman". He walked up to me at our older brother's memorial service in late October of 08 and declared "I've brought myself up from nothing twice". No mention of all the help that Grady gave him along the way. Enjoy your Karma, Roberto!
by Paul M on 9/25/2011 8:08pm
86-proof anesthetic crutches brought you to the top

....booze being the crutch for many businessmen. remember the three martini lunch?
by by Pete Pal 10/29/20116:19 pm on 10/29/2011 5:21pm
I heard this song for years now im 54 and it hits home,it is greater than ever ahead of its time great job Ray Stevens
by Mark on 11/28/2011 10:54pm
For those like Mr. B, who thinks the lyrics are too damning of all in business, and those who seem to think that all in business should be damned; I believe you're missing the point. This is a song of warning to those in business and those considering a career in business, which is all of us in some way. Here are some of the pitfalls or temptations associated with a businessman's life (to use the 1960's view of society). A wise person will take heed and work to avoid them. "Take care of business" the worthwhile business that too many of us miss.
by gbuddha2012 on 2/4/2012 6:06pm
Occupy...
by Elmo on 4/16/2012 1:22pm
who was this song devoted to?
by John on 6/22/2012 7:52am
I think 'health' and 'wealth' should be reversed in this song but it's the best anyway you slice it!!
by Jon Dickey on 7/9/2012 10:32pm
I think scobrado and Mark have both thoughtfully articulated what Mr. Stevens wanted to convey in his song.
by a Vietnam War vet on 10/9/2012 5:37pm
This made a lot of sense to us as
young people but it makes a louder statement today.
by Leo Spaziano of RI on 1/14/2013 1:31am
The meek shall inherit the earth because it is the will of God. I love all of you, even the bad ones and God’s love for you is without measure. HE invites you to eat with Him, But not in the distant future. He invites you NOW !
by Bill M. on 3/19/2013 3:32am
Ray's words have such meaning. I have been there also. The man writes this song like a poem. I have never seen such large words to a song with so much meaning. A true classic.....
by Paul on 4/11/2013 5:55pm
5th line, 2nd verse = PURITAN Shame

1st line, last verse = 86 PROOF anesthetic crutches
by Randy on 3/2/2014 1:01pm
86 proof... was a reference to 86 proof I.W. Harper bourbon, the drink of choice by executives just looking to take the edge off.
by d. h. spider on 1/21/2015 3:48am
I'm recording an acoustic cover of this classic for my next album, "And Now For Something Completely Difficult."

The lyrics are so important -- or SHOULD be.
by d. h. spider on 1/21/2015 4:12am
Kudos for the idea of changing two words around John. "by John on 6/22/2012 7:52am
I think 'health' and 'wealth' should be reversed in this song but it's the best anyway you slice it!!"

I'm doing just that when I record my cover of this unique song. I'm also ending it on the last verse with a slight modification to make it even MORE searing.

Thanks for the accidental tip!

-- d. h. spider
by Kenneth Thomas on 1/22/2015 7:40am
I had not heard this tune in years, but now that I have started my own business - and am dealing with ethics at every turn - I quoted one of the lines - wheel and deal it with the best of them and steal it from the rest of them - right off the top of my head.
I don't think it is a blanket condemnation of commerce, though. It is more like "A Christmas Carol". The middle stanzas remind the businessman of what he is missing and urge him to reasess his priorities. Finally it recounts how it will all end if he does not. It is kind of harsh, yes, but so well-written and litterate. Brilliant song that has relavence well beyond the Top 40.
by Kenneth Thomas on 1/22/2015 9:53am
Spending counterfeit incentive
Wasting precious time and health
Placing value on the worthless
Disregarding priceless wealth

I think the lines are perfect as they are, IMHO. In context, there is a strong correlation between lines 3 and 4, contrasting "worthless" with "wealth". No question that health is an aspect of wealth (for those with a bit of wisdom), but I like it as is. That said, an artist may interpret it anyway he/she wishes.
by Marty V. on 6/3/2015 3:26pm
I remember this song from when I was 12 years old. The lyrics are so succinct and deep.
It does not attack every business man in the world. As with all songs, of course, this is one about the unfortunate few (not so few). But, we can all relate with the message.
by Mark on 7/11/2015 12:38pm
Joe,
Your life is not over - hopefully, so use it to find out why you are here. Don't let all of that experience go to waist, but instead help others to understand.
by Ron on 8/31/2015 2:51pm
Ice
People like him are delusional. As are most.
by Steve on 2/23/2016 11:09am
Still on the radio with minister Alister Begg using it as part of a sermon. Likely the same sermon noted by someone above. It does get your attention during this election cycle.
by Jackie on 4/17/2016 9:08am
I also heard Pastor Begg reference this song in a sermon. I was never into pop music so much and was unfamiliar. That's why I looked up the lyrics.Of course this is as applicable to women who would seek after financial success at the expense of their children, home and marriage. The end is always the same; disappointment, sorrow and regret. So sad. However, there is Hope in Jesus Christ. It is never too late to start doing the right thing. God can restore the years the locusts have eaten.
by Austin on 8/7/2016 10:50pm
The best cover of this amazing song was done by Cliff Richards in his album "Help it Along" in 1973. Have listened to is at least once every 3-4 months ever since. Most pointed lyrics ever!








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