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On the Nickel
Tom Waits Lyrics


Sticks and stones will break my bones
But I always will be true
And when your mama is dead and gone
I'll sing this lullaby just for you
So what becomes of all the little boys
Who never comb their hair?
They're lined up all around the block
On The Nickel over there

So you better bring a bucket
There is a hole in the pail
If you don't get my letter
Then you'll know that I'm in jail
So what becomes of all the little boys
Who never say their prayers?
They're sleepin' like a baby
On The Nickel over there

If you chew tobacco, and wish upon a star
You'll find out where the scarecrows sit
Just like punchlines between the cars
I know a place where a royal flush
Can never beat a pair
And even Thomas Jefferson
Is On The Nickel over there

So ring around the rosie, you're sleepin' in the rain
And you're always late for supper
And man you let me down, let me down again
I thought I heard a mockingbird, Roosevelt knows where
You can skip the light with grady tuck
On the Nickel over there

So what becomes of all the little boys
Who run away from home?
The world just keeps gettin' bigger
Once you get out on your own
So what becomes of all the little boys
The sandman takes you where
You'll be sleepin' with a pillowman
On the Nickel over there

So let's climb up through that button hole
And fall right up the stairs
I'll show you where the short dogs grow
On the Nickel over there

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management
Written by: TOM WAITS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Robert Kees

One of my all time favorite Waits gems, there's a clip of him performing this song on his very first appearance on the David Letterman show and it always brings me to tears when he dedicates the song to all the little boys of that have run away from home. Don't we all feel lost and like we've run away from home in our lives, I know I do from time to time, and he captures it for me.

Robert Kees

@El Horrendo I'm a Waits nut, I've been thru 35 Waits "phases" is you will. I found him going to a party in College in either 88, or 89. I'll never forget it, it was a dorm apt, and in the back was a bar, all sort of whisky smoked and with a dim blue light illuminating the room dimly. The smoke wafting up in the air completed the scene. I heard Swordfishtrombone, Raindogs, and Franks Wild Years, I'd never heard anything like it before ever. To this day those three albums are the foundation of my Waits fandom, those albums were ground zero. Then I expanded to his earlier work, and I've been traveling with him ever since. I sure hope he puts out new music again, I need some of that.
Love his acting too, his performance as the old gold minor in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was total bad ass, it's on Netflix if you haven't seen it. I didn't even know he was in it and then I was like HOLY SHIT that's TOM WAITS, Fuck yeah.
I think devoted Waits fans all feel the same, that he's speaking to us directly, that's quite a feat for any songwriter to achieve, but he never misses the mark. Cheers to you, and have fun storming the castle. All rights reserved, void where prohibited, batteries not included, some assembly required, add water makes its own gravy.

El Horrendo

Thank you good man, for expressing something I’ve felt all my life. And thank you for connecting that with Tom Waits. I never had the suburban dream. Never had a “family home”. I’ve always felt like I was a lost boy looking for home. That’s an existential thing more than anything else for me. But you and Tom really drew the connection for me. Thank you.

Steve Gallagher

Who else could write such a thing. Infinitely beautiful.

El Horrendo

@Mike Urban yeah. There’s an interview easily accessible in which the young Tommy explains how he came to write it. He’s done some covers, but never claimed anyone else’s work for his own.

Shag Smith

I farted.

tattooedfagin

@Mike Urban Err, yes he did. If the lyrics didn't tell you that immediately the credits for H&V will, written for the movie 'On The Nickel' by Ralph Waite

Mike Urban

Tom waits didn’t write it.

L Jese Hall

❤️🌹❤️

Libreria Bernal

Un gran baladista entre otras virtudes...grande Tom

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