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Lyrics for By The Time I Get To Phoenix
By Isaac Hayes

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Awwwwwww, yeah.

I'm talking 'bout the power of love now.
I'm gonna tell you what love can do.
You know when they say love makes the world go 'round, that's the truth.
Love can make you or break you.
It can make you laugh or make you cry.
It can make you happy or sad.
Aw, it can hurt real bad.
In a case of jealousy, love can make you mad. Oh, yeah.
Now everybody--everybody's got his own thing.
Everybody's got its way of doing a thing.
Now we should attempt to do a tune that is very popular, it was written by one of the great young songwriters of today.
Now I don't know what he's thinking about or what inspired him to write a tune, but it's a deep tune.
There's a deep meaning to this tune, because it shows you what the power of love can do.
Now I should attempt to do it my way, my own interpretation of it.
Like I said, everybody's got his own thing.
I'm gonna bring it on down to Soulsville.
Now I want you bear along with me for a few minutes while I set it up.
Now I want your imagination.
I want you to travel with me.
Oh, come on, come on, come on.

This young man was raised in the hills of Tennessee.
When he reached the age of maturity, he moved to the West Coast.
And he fell in love when he got out there to this young girl.
Aw, man, she was out of sight.
She was bad.
And then they started dating, and then the inevitable, became engaged and got married.
They were happily married.
That's right, they lived in L.A.
Awwww...The power of love was upon them.
But you see, girls, I don't mean to come down on you, but this man loved this woman so...He could rarely say love is blind.
He could see no wrong. No, no, no.
He worked every day and sometimes he'd pull overtime, double time, triple time.
He bought everything that this woman's heart desires.
Everything that he could wreak and streak.
He spent his last dime on women because he loved her.
And you know, girls, you can take love and kindness sometime for weakness.
And she took it for granted.
She said, "I got a fool and I know I got a fool, but I got a good thing."
Yeah, she was standing around on the corner, you understand, meeting with her friends.
She would go to beauty salon, get her hair fixed.
She'd go shopping and she would brag about her good thing that she's got. Yeah.
And she took doubt on it.
See, ain't nobody gonna believe what to tell him no way, fool.
Aw, yeah, girls, you would like that sometime.
But one day, one day, the old boy got sick and he had to come home.
I don't have to tell you what he found.
Oh, yeah, it hurt him so bad.
He said, "Baby, Mama,...Why?"
That's all he could say.
That's all he could say. He was hurt.
But she said, "Aw. Go on fool, you're doing it, but the man wasn't doing it, but that's the only excuse you can give him."
He said, "Mama, I can't take it. I got to leave you. I'm gonna leave you."
He packed his rags, you understand, and started out the door.
And when he reached the driveway, you understand, he went there begging just like my man Tyrone Davis.
And he said, "Oh, Mama, Mama, Mama, can I change, oh, my mind."
You see, the power of love was upon him, and he came back.
Oh, yes he did.
When she tried to straighten up, she said she was gonna straighten up.
She got a little job to help him out with the bills, too, but that was just a sham, because he found it again and again. It's seven times he left this woman and seven time he came back.
Aw, but you know, the heart can take so much.
That's right. You can kick a dog around for so long, and he'll get tired. He'll turn.
Adn he taken all that he could stand.
In the eighth time that this went down, he said, "Mama, I got to go."
With tears in his eyes, he said, "I'm gonna leave you, baby."
He said, "I ain't coming back."
He said, "I'm leaving my heart right here, but I got to go. You see, 'cause this man can't take no more."
She didn't believe it.
He packed his clothes.
He got in his 1965 Ford.
He started out.
Three times he started to turn back before he reached the outskirts of the city, but he kept on going.
Oh, I don't wanna go, but I got to leave you, Mama.
And he's going down the highway.
I guess it was around 3:30 in the morning.
He could hardly see the road with tears in his eyes.
That's right. He was crying.
They were meeting in his tears.
He could not barely see the sign that went on the side of the road: the next town is 125 miles away.
And these bitter words came into his mind.
He said...

By the time I get to Phoenix,
She'll be rising.
Oh, she'll find a note
I left hanging on her door.
She'll laugh when she reads the part
That says I'm leaving.
Yes, she will. Why?
'Cause I left that girl so many times
before. Oh.

By the time I make Albuquerque,
She'll be working.
And she'll probably stop at lunch
Just to give her, her sweet good thing a call.
But, oh, she'll hear, oh, oh, the phone keeps right on ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing, oh, and ringing off the wall.
Mama, Mama, Mama, that's all.

And by the the time I get to Oklahoma,
She'll be sleeping.
She'll turn soflty in her restless sleep, call my name out low.
And oh, then she'll cry just to think
I-I-I-I-I--I would really leave her.
For time after time after time after time and time again, I tried to tell her so,
But she wasn't a believer and she did know, oh, that I-I-I-I-I-I--I would really go.
She didn't believe I would really go.
Oh, no.
I hate to leave you, baby. Yes I do.
I really, really, really hate to go.
Oh, yeah.
But this heart of mine just can't take no more.
I-I-I-I-I-I-I've taken all that I could stand.
You should've known what you were doing to the man.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You see, when I left, baby, I left a piece of my heart. Oh, yeah.
You know, you know, you know, you know you took, baby.
You know you--You know you took the greatest part. Oh, yeah.
I don't know how I'm gonna make it, oh no, but I got to go.
I'm gonna miss all the sweet love and the good times,
But the good times weren't as heavy, aw, as the bad times. Oh, yeah.
You really, really put the hurt on me. Yes you did.
I'm a prisoner of your love and I just--I just won't ever be free. no, no, no.
So it's bye-bye.
Oh, Mama, Mama, bye-bye.
Oh, bye-bye.
Oh, bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.
It's too late for you to cry.
You had a good thing, aw, and you misused it. Yes you did. Yes you did.
You had a good heart, aw, and you abused it. Aw, yeah.
You were sweet to me, yes you were, but on the other hand, you were real cold, cold, cold, cold.
You just kept me, oh--You kept me hanging on. Yes you did.
Oh, oh, you kept me hanging on.
You kept me begging, begging--You kept me begging you to do right.
You kept me pacing the floor at night. Oh, yeah.
But I love you.
God knows that I love you, baby.
Ah, yeah.
I'll always love you, yeah.

(Instrumental break)

Raindrops of water beating under my chin.
You can look at me and tell all the pain I'm in.
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
I'm gonna moan now.

(Instrumental break)

(Instrumental finale)