30,000 Pounds of Bananas

Album: Verities And Balderdash (1974)
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  • It was just after dark when the truck started down
    The hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
    Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big John) of bananas.

    He was a young driver,
    Just out on his second job.
    And he was carrying the next day's pasty fruits
    For everyone in that coal-scarred city
    Where children play without despair
    In backyard slag-piles and folks manage to eat each day
    Just about thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Yes, just about thirty thousand pounds (scream it again, John) .

    He passed a sign that he should have seen,
    Saying "shift to low gear, a fifty dollar fine my friend."
    He was thinking perhaps about the warm-breathed woman
    Who was waiting at the journey's end.
    He started down the two mile drop,
    The curving road that wound from the top of the hill.
    He was pushing on through the shortening miles that ran down to the depot.
    Just a few more miles to go,
    Then he'd go home and have her ease his long, cramped day away.
    And the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Yes the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

    He was picking speed as the city spread its twinkling lights below him.
    But he paid no heed as the shivering thoughts of the nights
    Delights went through him.
    His foot nudged the brakes to slow him down.
    But the pedal floored easy without a sound.
    He said "Christ!"
    It was funny how he had named the only man who could save him now.
    He was trapped inside a dead-end hellslide,
    Riding on his fear-hunched back
    Was every one of those yellow green
    I'm telling you thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

    He barely made the sweeping curve that led into the steepest grade.
    And he missed the thankful passing bus at ninety miles an hour.
    And he said "God, make it a dream!"
    As he rode his last ride down.
    And he said "God, make it a dream!"
    As he rode his last ride down.
    And he sideswiped nineteen neat parked cars,
    Clipped off thirteen telephone poles,
    Hit two houses, bruised eight trees,
    And Blue-Crossed seven people.
    It was then he lost his head,
    Not to mention an arm or two before he stopped.
    And he slid for four hundred yards
    Along the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania.
    All those thirty thousand pounds of bananas.

    You know the man who told me about it on the bus,
    As it went up the hill out of Scranton, Pennsylvania,
    He shrugged his shoulders, he shook his head,
    And he said (and this is exactly what he said)
    "Boy that sure must've been something.
    Just imagine thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
    Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of mashed bananas.
    Of bananas. Just bananas. Thirty thousand pounds.
    Of Bananas. not no driver now. Just bananas!"

    From Greatest Stories Live: Ending number one

    Yes, we have no bananas,
    We have no bananas today
    (Spoken: And if that wasn't enough)
    Yes, we have no bananas,
    Bananas in Scranton, P A

    From Greatest Stories Live: Ending #2:

    A woman walks into her room where her child lies sleeping,
    And when she sees his eyes are closed,
    She sits there, silently weeping,
    And though she lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania
    She never ever eats ... Bananas
    Not one of thirty thousand pounds .... of bananas Writer/s: HARRY F. CHAPIN
    Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 11

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFifty years ago today {March 18th, 1965} on Moosic Street in Scranton, Pennsylvania the above accident took place.
  • Jim from Sumter, ScConsidering how Harry Chapin died, karma is a bitch! I'll bet if someone made a song about his death, his family would demand royalties under pain of lawsuit.
  • Jim from Sumter, ScI definitely think that Harry should have donated some of the song proceeds to the family of the driver. World hunger can wait.
  • Erin from Coaldale, PaSO, did he give the proceeds from 30,000 Pounds of Bananas to the widow and her children? I'm very curious after reading how he gave somuch to "end world hunger"...??????????
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaI like the way he says bananas.. "ba-na-nas" it's a little bit cute:)
  • Don from Scranton, PaI was one of the 1st to arrive on the scene of this accident.. The driver's name was Eugene Sesky and he was not decapitated.. He hit the brick post of a porch head first and his skull was crushed half way to his neck.. The truck was a green Brockway and the motor was completely out and on the ground. there were a number of people injured in vehicles he sideswiped on the way down Moosic St. but instead of helping the injured most onlookers were busy stealing bananas from the overturned trailer.. I did an "On the Scene" report from a private residence via telephone for station WARM in Scranton.. Believe me. I'll be able to see the whole thing until the day I die..And in a more bazaar fact.. I saw the accident years later in which Harry Chapin was killed when his car was run over by a tractor trailer on the Long Island Expressway.. You can believe this or not but it is all fact.. And an aside to Pete.. You're close.. It was going to the A&P wharehouse on Genet St.... In another aside... Mr.Sesky had "low bridged" a trailer on Luzerne St not to long before his fateful ride down Moosic St.
  • Chris from Scranton, PaScranton Rules!
  • Mike from Warwick, RiHarry performed the song live in Pawtucket, RI at a show I attended in 1977...even did the part where his brother Steve says - "Harry, it sucks!" - when asked about the origina ending of the song. My Dad and I still use that line when something really sucks - Classic stuff....As Harry says, the song has a great Chet Atkins guitar lick that took him hours to master....as a kid, I loved the real ending - "just imagine, 30,000 pounds of bananas....yes, there were 30,000 pounds of mashed bananas".
  • Matt from Scranton, PaHarry did not perform the song live in Scranton. When he performed here shortly before his death, he was asked not to perform the song in case any relatives of the deceased were in attendance.
  • Pete from Carbondale, Pathe truck was coming down Moosic street (the hill that leads into scranton pennsylvania)and was en route to an A&P supermarket on Janette street,but as the song goes,it never made it.
  • Garry from Anchorage, AkHarry Chapin raised millions of dollars through benefit concerts to further his commitment to end world hunger. He was appointed by President Carter to the Commission on World Hunger.
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