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FORD TENNESEE ERNIE


Sixteen Tons Lyrics

Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man's made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one morning when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said (well a bless my soul)

You load sixteen tons what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one morning it was drizzling rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebreak by an old mama lion
Ain't no high tone woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me coming better step aside
A lot of men didn't a lot of men died
One fist of iron the other of steel
If the right one don't get you then the left one will

You load sixteen tons what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

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Songwriter(s): Merle Travis
Copyright: Unichappell Music Inc., Merle'S Girls Music, Elvis Presley Music Inc., Campbell Connelly And Co. Ltd.
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Meaning to "Sixteen Tons" (7 meanings)
Marge 03/16/11,10:55
+1

A very appropriate song for the USA of today, with her anti-union sentiments. Remember, the labor unions saved you from 16 tons.
tammy 10/31/12,17:41
0

Marge, the unions have not saved us from 16 tons, they just changed from the coal mine owners to the government. The unions will be the demise of this country!!!
Vincent 10/25/12,12:38
0

Living in coal country of the Appalachian Mountains I know exactly the meaning of this song and the message behind it, the company store truly owned the miner's soul and their homes.
Coal Miners Daughter 09/17/12,00:08
0

It was a small town in Utah that the mines actually owned. They owned the homes, and the department store, where the workers could get whatever they needed. When the paychecks came out, their rent and everything they bought was deducted, many times leaving the workers owing.
Willy 08/08/12,03:28
0

Yeah, Marge. I really feel for US auto workers making only 120,000 per year. When other countries take over the auto industry, our workers will be paid in food stamps by the government company store.
anonymous 08/01/12,16:33
0

This song was about working in the coal mines. The mine owners paid with company money. The company money was not legal tender nor was it real money usable anywhere but the company
Haybaler 07/18/12,08:09
0

The mines used to pay in vouchers that were only good at the company store. They would give you credit against your future pay so some men would get zero on payday. again. They owed their souls!
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