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Song by John Prine
from the album John Prine
Recorded American Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
Genre: Folk music
"Sam Stone" is a song written by John Prine about a drug-addicted veteran with a Purple Heart and his death by overdose.
The most familiar refrain in the song is "There's a hole in daddy's arm, where all the money goes"
The song can be interpreted as a reference to the phenomenon of morphine addiction among war veterans as a result of its use to treat crippling and painful injuries, and its often lifetime repercussions.
This version is from the album "John Prine: Live"
Sam Stone came home,
To his wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas.
And the time that he served, had shattered all his nerves,
And left a little shrapnel in his knee.
But the morphine eased the pain,
And the grass grew round his brain,
And gave him all the confidence he lacked,
With a Purple Heart and a monkey on his back.
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears, don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
Sam Stone's welcome home didn't last too long.
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And Sammy took to stealing when he got that empty feeling
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime.
And the gold rolled through his veins,
Like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes...
Sam Stone was alone when he popped his last balloon
Climbing walls while sitting in a chair
Well, he played his last request while the room smelled just like death
With an overdose hovering in the air
But life had lost its fun
And there was nothing to be done
But trade his house that he bought on the G. I. Bill
For a flag draped casket on a local heroes' hill.
(c) 1971 John Prine
Note: the photo depicts an "Army Wife" self-medicating with alcohol at a bar, my contemporary spin on the song.