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THE WINNER (Shel Silverstein) Bobby Bare - 1973 The hulk of a man with a beer in his hand looked like a drunk old fool And I knew that if I hit him right, I could knock him off that stool But everybody said, "Watch out, that's Tiger Man McCool He's had a whole lot of fights, and he always come out the winner" But I'd had myself about five too many, and I walked up tall and proud I faced his back and I faced the fact that he'd never stooped or bowed I said, "Tiger Man, you're a pussycat," and a hush fell on the crowd I said, "Let's you and me go outside and see who's the winner" Well, he gripped the bar with one big hairy hand and he braced against the wall He slowly looked up from his beer, my god, that man was tall He said, "Boy, I see you're a scrapper, so just before you fall I'm gonna tell you just a little what a means to be a winner" He said, "You see these bright white smilin' teeth, you know they ain't my own Mine rolled away like Chiclets down a street in San Antone But I left that person cursin', nursin' seven broken bones And he only broke three of mine, and that make me a winner" He said, "Behind this grin, I got a steel pin that holds my jaw in place A trophy of my most successful motorcycle race And every mornin' when I wake and touch this scar across my face It reminds me of all I got by bein' a winner Now my broken back was the dyin' act of handsome Harry Clay That sticky Cincinnatti night I stole his wife away But that woman, she gets uglier and meaner every day But I got her, boy, and that's what makes me a winner You gotta speak loud when you challenge me, son, 'cause it's hard for me to hear With this twisted neck and these migraine pains and this cauliflower ear 'N' if it weren't for this glass eye of mine, I'd shed a happy tear To think of all you'll get by bein' a winner I got arthritic elbows, boy, I got dislocated knees From pickin' fights with thunderstorms and chargin' into trees And my nose's been broke so often, I might lose it if I sneeze And, son, you say you still wanna be a winner? My spine is short three vertebrae and my hip is screwed together My ankles warn me every time there'll be a change in the weather Guess I kicked too many asses, and when the kicks all get together They sure can slow you down when you're a winner My knuckles are so swollen I can hardly make a fist Who would have thought old Charlie had a blade taped to his wrist And my blind eye's where he cut me, and my good eye's where he missed Yeah, you lose a couple of things when you're a winner My head is just a bunch of clumps and lumps and bumps and scars From chargin' broken bottles and buttin' crowded bars And this hernia, well, it only proves a man can't lift a car But you're expected to do it all when you're a winner Got a steel plate inside my skull, underneath this store-bought hair My pelvis is aluminum from takin' ladies' dares And if you had a magnet, son, you could lift me off my chair I'm a man of steel, but I'm rustin'....what a winner I got a perforated ulcer, I got strictures and incisions My prostate's barely holdin' up from those all-night collisions And I'll have to fight two of you because of my double vision You're lookin' sick, son....that ain't right for a winner Winnin' that last stock-car race cost me my favorite toes Winnin' that factory foreman's job, it browned and broke my nose And these haemorrhoids come from winnin' all them goddamn rodeos Sometimes it's a pain in the butt to be a winner In the war, I got the Purple Heart, that's why my nerves are gone And I ruined my liver in drinkin' contests, which I always won And I should be retired now, rockin' on my lawn But you losers keep comin' on, makin' me a winner When I walk, you can hear my pelvis rattle, creak and crack From my great Olympic hump-off with that nymphomaniac After which I spent the next six weeks in traction on my back While whe walked off smilin', leavin' me the winner Now, as I kick in your family jewels, you'll notice my left leg drags And this jacket's kinda padded up where my right shoulder sags And there's a special part of me I keep in this paper bag And I'll show it to you, if you want to see all of the winner So I never play the violin and I seldom dance or ski They say there never was a hero brave and strong as me But when you're this year's hero, son, you're next year's used-to-be And that's the facts of life....when you're a winner Now, you remind me a lot of my younger days, with your knuckles clenchin' white But, boy, I'm gonna sit right here and sip this beer all night And if there's somethin' you gotta prove by winnin' some silly fight Well, OK, I quit, I lose, son, you're the winner" So I stumbled from that barroom not so tall and not so proud And behind me I could hear the hoots of laughter from the crowd But my eyes still see and my nose still works and my teeth are still in my mouth And y'know, I guess that makes me a winner


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