Pay As You Earn
Mighty Sparrow Lyrics


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It's a shame, it's a shame
But we have we self to blame
It's a shame, it's a shame
We have we self to blame
We ask for new Government
Now they taking every cent
Cost of living is the same
It is really a burning shame

The Doctor say to pay as you earn
But Sparrow say you paying to learn
But me father say he sharpening the axe
For when the collector come to cheat off the income tax

Plenty people is in misery
But this tax ain't bothering me
For I am not working anywhere
So I have no income to share
But Mr. This and Mr. That
Who accustom with they pay roll fat
Is to see them shedding tears
Men like De Freitas and Fernandez

The Doctor say to pay as you earn
But Sparrow say you paying to learn
But me father say he sharpening the axe
For when the collector come to cheat off the income tax

Plenty people want to cry
They miss the water, the well run dry
But they can't do a thing about it
The money ain't going in the Doctor pocket
First of all we want better schools
So your children won't grow up as fools
Then work for you and me
That is what plenty ah them can't see

The Doctor say to pay as you earn
And Sparrow say you paying to learn
And here me father say he sharpening the axe
For when the collector pass to cheat off the income tax

When the Doctor went up to England
They bluntly refuse to support his plan
So there is nothing more he could do
Than to get it from me and you
That's the law now in Trinidad
If you don't like it, that's too bad
Take your things and clear out today
Because all who working must pay, yes

The Doctor say to pay as you earn
And Sparrow say you paying to learn




Even me father say he selling the axe
For when the collector come to pay off the income tax

Overall Meaning

The Mighty Sparrow's Pay As You Earn is a political calypso song that criticizes Trinidad and Tobago's tax system, which was introduced in the 1960s. In the chorus, the phrase "it's a shame" is repeated, conveying a sense of disappointment that the people have to suffer under an unjust system. The song primarily targets the new government of Trinidad and Tobago, which had just been elected and was seen as taking every cent from the people's pockets. The song raises the issue of the high cost of living, which made it difficult for people to make ends meet.


In the verses, Sparrow gives his own interpretation of the 'Pay As You Earn' levy, stating that he is paying to learn, which insinuates that he is not reaping any benefit. He mentions his father's axe, which he is sharpening for when the tax collector comes, implying that people are angry and may resort to violent behavior. The song also suggests that some individuals may be cheating on their income taxes. Sparrow talks about men who are accustomed to their fat payroll, shedding tears rather than feeling a sense of responsibility towards their fellow citizens. The song ends with Sparrow suggesting that the people who do not wish to pay taxes can leave the country, as the law had been implemented, and everyone working had to pay.


Line by Line Meaning

It's a shame, it's a shame
The situation is deeply regrettable


But we have we self to blame
We are responsible for what has happened


We ask for new Government
We demanded a new leadership


Now they taking every cent
The new government is taking all our money


Cost of living is the same
The cost of basic necessities remain the same despite changes in government


It is really a burning shame
It's a deeply distressing situation


The Doctor say to pay as you earn
The government advises to pay taxes regularly


But Sparrow say you paying to learn
The singer believes that paying taxes is simply an expensive lesson


But me father say he sharpening the axe
The father is preparing to evade taxes


For when the collector come to cheat off the income tax
In anticipation of the government's move to avoid paying taxes


Plenty people is in misery
Many people are suffering


But this tax ain't bothering me
The singer is unaffected by the tax


For I am not working anywhere
The singer is currently unemployed


So I have no income to share
The singer has no income to give


But Mr. This and Mr. That
The people with high paying jobs


Who accustom with they pay roll fat
Those who are accustomed to receiving a high paycheque


Is to see them shedding tears
It's ironic to see them struggling with the tax deduction


Men like De Freitas and Fernandez
Here are examples of people who are struggling with taxes


Plenty people want to cry
Many people are upset about the situation


They miss the water, the well run dry
They have no respite from the burden of taxes


But they can't do a thing about it
They feel helpless


The money ain't going in the Doctor pocket
The taxes are not benefiting the common people


First of all we want better schools
The people demand better educational institutions


So your children won't grow up as fools
For the sake of the children's education


Then work for you and me
The government should work for the people's benefit


That is what plenty ah them can't see
The government officials are blind to the needs of the people


When the Doctor went up to England
When the government reached out to the United Kingdom for help


They bluntly refuse to support his plan
The UK refused to help


So there is nothing more he could do
The government officials are helpless


Than to get it from me and you
They resorted to collecting taxes from the population


That's the law now in Trinidad
Taxation is now a legal requirement


If you don't like it, that's too bad
Disliking the situation will not change the law


Take your things and clear out today
The population is threatened with leaving Trinidad if they refuse to pay taxes


Because all who working must pay, yes
All working citizens must pay taxes




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Joy A.


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I hope there's a 2020 appearance in NYC!
I will definitely get tickets!

Amina Phillip


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I love your video and it is a good calypso that Ican makeone about education to

Bokaille Bodlo


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Bokaille Bodlo
Who could send me The lyrics of WITCH DOCTOR from Mighty Sparrow.
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Bokaille Bodlo


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Who could send me The lyrics of WITCH DOCTOR from Mighty Sparrow.
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