Song Lyric Sunday: Three Minutes

Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking phone minutes. I picked minutes for Jim’s theme this week, and “Sylvia’s Mother” is a fun oldie that fell right into the category. It was written by Shel Silverstein for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show and released on their album Dr. Hook in 1972. The song and the album were big hits. (The lyrics were supposedly autobiographical about a failed relationship.) Note that Shel was not in the band; he only wrote the song. He also wrote “Cover of the Rolling Stone” for them.

Now, we have no need for this song, since everyone has their own phone. We also have eliminated telephone operators. Plus, getting married and moving to Galveston wouldn’t stop a determined ex from continuing to stalk you on social media. But in 1972, and for quite a few years thereafter, folks related to these lyrics.

Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s busy, too busy to come to the phone”
Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s trying, to start a new life of her own”
Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s happy so why don’t you leave her alone?”
And the operator says
“Forty cents more, for the next three minutes”

Please Mrs. Avery, I’ve just got to talk to her
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her
Goodbye

Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s packing, she’s gonna be leaving today”
Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s marrying, a fellow down Galveston-Way”
Sylvia’s mother says “Please don’t say nothing to make her start crying and stay”
And the operator says
“Forty cents more, for the next three minutes”

Please Mrs. Avery, I’ve just got to talk to her
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her
Goodbye

Sylvia’s mother says “Sylvia’s hurrying she’s catching the nine o’clock train”
Sylvia’s mother says “Take your umbrella, ’cause Sylvia it’s starting to rain”
And Sylvia’s mother says “Thank you for calling and sir won’t you come back again”
And the operator says 
“Forty cents more for the next three minutes”

Please Mrs. Avery, I’ve just got to talk to her
I’ll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just want to tell her
Goodbye

Tell her goodbye
Please, tell her goodbye

28 responses to “Song Lyric Sunday: Three Minutes

  1. I actually know this song and I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When they played this song live and sang the line, “Forty cents more, for the next three minutes” many people in the audience would throw change at the stage. Great song Paula.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm this sound familiar, though I can’t recall hearing it before. Good song even though sad. I do remember pay phones and the operator saying to put in more money! Funny to think how long ago this was. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beating the clock sex is funπŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Also written by Shel Silverstein! Amazing. I love the mournful tones in this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh wow! An oldie but a goodie! πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This song has spurred a topic for me that I’ve started to explore – songs with lyrics that kids today have no clue what they are about. I’ve got a few songs for the topic, now I just need to write the post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I must have been living under a rock, to have missed this one…startling comparison you’ve made between then and now, I felt a slight whiplash. To me, it’s scary that we can no longer really get away from someone if they’re intent on tracking us down.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I never heard of “Sylvia’s Mother”. I wonder if my mom knows about this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That song is good! I hadn’t heard it in ages! I remember my parents playing I whenI was a kid!

    Liked by 1 person

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