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Based on an old pro I once worked with. This song certainly shows the Harry Chapin influence.


I had the contract with me
I was opening for a star
I'd seen him on the concert stage
I'd watched him from afar
I hadn't heard much lately
Of anything he'd done
But he sang songs of rights and wrongs
Of those who'd lost or won

So it was in a run down night club
In a broken part of town,
I was on the long way up
He was on the long way down.
I saw him in a corner
Playing pinball, killing time
I asked him how he was
And with a smile he answered "fine"
With a smile he answered "fine"
Then he said…

"Sonny, it's the same old pinball
I played ten years ago
Now it's just like me, friend
The action's getting slow
I've been to the top friend
Mow I'm way down low
Still playing the same old pinball clubs
I played ten years ago."

Never meet your heroes
I've read that line somewhere
They're just like you and me
With all our hope and our despair
I said “It's never that bad
There's always one more day
There's always one more song to sing
One more tune to play."

He just looked me up and down
Then he slowly shook his head
He said "To stay alive, try 9 to 5
To earn your daily bread."
I said "You were my hero
You handed me this dream."
He turned away and pointed
To the battered old machine
That battered old machine
And he said…

He said "I made a lot of money
And I drank a lot of wine
I paid for all my pleasures
And I had a real good time
I never stayed in one place
Longer than a day
I gave them pearls and told the girls
I really couldn't stay.
But where's it gone to sonny?
It came and went so fast.
It's far too easy nowadays
To live back in the past.
But I'm still good for doing
What I've always done.
There hasn't been a house yet
I haven't fought and won.
I haven't fought and won."
Then he said…

"So now they're out there waiting
And they don't know who you are.
They don't care for your future
They'll just prop up the bar.
And you, you'll sing your heart out
And maybe some will hear
And maybe you'll come back
And play this place again next year.
So go on and do your set now, sonny
Before they get too drunk
And please, don't count them, sonny
These glasses that I've sunk.
I'll do my best, remember
I've never lost one yet
But sonny, some times lately
It's been an even bet,
It's been an even bet."
Then he said…

He's long gone and forgotten
His name you never knew
But what reminded me
Was when I turned and looked at you
Standing there so happy
With your new guitar and dreams
One question for you, sonny
Can you play these machines?

'Cause sonny it's the same old pinball
He played ten years ago
And now it's just like me friend
The action’s getting slow.
I've been to the top friend
Now I'm way down low,
Still playing the same old pinball clubs
I played ten years ago


from The Margarita Collection, released January 1, 1996


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Harvey Andrews Shropshire, UK

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