Carpenter, Mary Chapin - This Shirt Lyrics

This shirt is old and faded
All the color's washed away
I've had it now for more damn years
Than I can count anyway
I wear it beneath my jacket
With the collar turned up high
So old I should replace it
But I'm not about to try

This shirt's got silver buttons
And a place upon the sleeve
Where I used to set my heart up
Right there anyone could see
This shirt is the one I wore to every boring high school dance
Where the boys ignored the girls
And we all pretended to like the band

This shirt was a pillow for my head
On a train through Italy
This shirt was a blanket beneath the love
We made in Argeles
This shirt was lost for three whole days
In a town near Buffalo
'Till I found the locker key
In a downtown Trailways bus depot

This shirt was the one I lent you
And when you gave it back
There was a rip inside the sleeve
Where you rolled your cigarettes
It was the place I put my heart
Now look at where you put a tear
I forgave your thoughtlessness
But not the boy who put it there

This shirt was the place your cat
Decided to give birth to five
And we stayed up all night watching
And we wept when the last one died
This shirt is just an old faded piece of cotton
Shining like the memories
Inside those silver buttons

This shirt is a grand old relic
With a grand old history
I wear it now for Sunday chores
Cleaning house and raking leaves
I wear it beneath my jacket
With the collar turned up high
So old I should replace it
But I'm not about to try

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Carpenter, Mary Chapin This Shirt Comments
  1. Peter Lukaszyk

    One of these songs, when she sings shining like a memory inside those silver buttons i have tears in my eyes

  2. Kaid Gardner

    I saw her in concert at red rocks Colorado. WOW fabulous

  3. Jennifer Dijames

    Mary Chapin , Now that you mentioned about Buffalo. Come on down. I'd love to see you sometime. I miss hearing from you.

  4. David Weaver

    It was a shirt a young lady who I really loved picked out for me. We did not last together and I kept the shirt a lot longer than I should have. Yeah, this song hits me hard every time I hear it.

  5. Michael .Konvicka

    Have this song on a 33 vinyl record

  6. Half Door Club

    Mary is a legend 😊

  7. carly grayson

    We all have our own "this shirt", whatever it may be, that defines our life's journey.  That's the beauty of this song, that we all relate in our own way.

  8. GrainneDhu

    No one can rip at my heartstrings the way Mary Chapin can. I wish I could see her in concert just one more time...

  9. Chris Brandstatter

    Love it!!

  10. Bill Brosius

    The Shirt is symbolic of each of our life’s journeys. One of the best written songs about life. I’ve been listening to it for years. Thanks MC2.

  11. George Manes

    Beautiful song; beautifully sung.

  12. Mike Gibbs

    Thanks Mary...GREAT SONG !!!!

  13. Patricia McGrath

    I could play this song over and over. I treasure the times I have seen her perform. Thank you, Mary.

  14. ctcv1984

    I'm no bleeding heart but as many times as I've heard this song I still have to brace myself each time for the verse about watching the five kittens die. Easily my favorite musical artist.

    Steve Johnston

    Pete, listen closely, if it's any consolation, only the last and fifth kitten dies....

  15. zagi60

    My favorite Singer****

  16. AbozTheUntidy

    I first heard this song when I worked at a country station in 1992. Always looked forward to playing it, and still get dewy-eyed whenever I hear it.

  17. Carlos Silva

    What an adorable poem and tune. Inspiring to all.

  18. zagi60

    Great Mary******

  19. Garden Gnome

    Okay now it is 9 songs of Mary's in a row. Damn I am addicted. At 64 I am ashamed to say I have never heard of her until now. You tube rocks and more. So does Mary.

  20. Rastafari6

    On my favorite list

  21. cvcoco

    Yeah. We all have that shirt and stories inside it, but we cant write them down the way Mary Chapin did. I knew that shirt so well, the red flanel one, and kept it 20 years past its prime just so I could listen to it speak to me so I could write it down and I couldnt do it. Maybe one day i'll hear it still, the weaves and threads finally letting go and giving up their treasure.

  22. David Robichaux

    One of my favourite songs. Garnet Rogers cover is fantastic!

  23. Benjamin Woodworth

    It's a nice song

  24. claudio ezequiel piña silva

    What a so beautiful song!

  25. Danalynne Johnson

    I love MCC. Ever since the release of State of the Heart.

  26. claudio ezequiel piña silva

    What a beautiful song and singer.

  27. John LaStrada

    What an incredible song -- what a great subject to sing about. We can probably all relate to it in some manner. A favorite pair of shoes, boots, jacket, sweater, pocket book, hat, even an old car....but, Mary Chapin Carpenter's "This Shirt" hits the nail on the head. This singer-songwriter is one of the finest ever.

  28. ira cook

    Been a while since I've  heard her poetry... Incredible

  29. Jacki Hancock

    One of my faves!

  30. Bob Apelian

    Who else do we know that can write a great song about a "Shirt" ?

  31. Joseph Waters

    My wife and I saw MCC years ago in Vermont. Great concert, she is an excellent singer/songwriter.

  32. ossian7

    I feel so privileged to have first heard this song back in the days when MCC was doing warm up gigs and only had a handful of songs, inc. this gem.

  33. broadwayrocks1

    this song is the reason I love MCC!

    kenny reed

    me too but also Marys Land...

  34. JoMoMoss

    WOW! ... what Lyrics! ...... :-)

  35. Aranyl

    I love all her songs!!! sadly they are hard to find in France. My favo is Jubilee!

  36. Kathy Bencsik

    I drove out to Kansas from PA with three small boys all by myself and it was so wonderful. We listened to this album the whole way out and back!

  37. iamintheburg

    The sleeve with your heart rolled into it, walking into the high school dance and hoping.......Just hoping. Things don't matter, except when they DO matter.

  38. Hobie Jones

    Come join "The Mary Chapin Carpenter Group" on Facebook. It's lots of fun. Always looking for people to contribute videos, photos and stories. Thank you!

  39. Doug Garrett

    Cannot believe that you were in Belfast the same time as us this summer and I didn't go..............this is a great song and wow she's so young and beautiful

  40. SPONDNO8

    MCC communicates her pure heart into incredibly touching, beautiful songs. Brilliant.

  41. Wendy Mac

    Such memories~

  42. David Lionheart

    SO brilliant! I've never been able to get through it without crying. Ever.

    Rex Dby

    Pure Energy
    The line about the fifth kitten dying really gets me. The come on come on album had songs that could rip your heart out as well, I am a town, and only a dream. Just listened to these exquisite songs in rapid succession and feeling beautifully melancholy. These songs seem seem much more poignant at 50 than when I wore them out at 24.
    Mary Chapin Carpenter, now that, my friends is a songwriter!

  43. Bucky Bucky

    Mary is one of the best songwriters around. This is the first country cd I've ever bought.

    Lloyd Potts


  44. Pete Marshall

    I really like this song, and I wish she would release it as a single.

    Rick Bentsen

    @Pete Marshall She did. 25 years ago.

    Rusty Wolfe

    +Rick Bentsen But it was completely overlooked. This first time I remember seeing this video was on VH-1 and remember thinking, What a brilliant narrative and how odd it was that she's never fully seen in the video.

  45. RAHAN G

    Again a real poet and musician. Thanks to exist, MCC, you bring so much heat in my heart.

  46. theartinme72

    Not taking from Mary but if you have time to listen give Garnet Rodgers cover of this song a spin , it's where I first heard it .

  47. Daniel Selvidge

    I have my duffel bag issued at Ft Jackson in 1983 and went all over the world until 2007. Strange how we become attached to inanimate objects.

  48. Michael Stewart

    I got an old shirt that i just can't throw away too!

  49. Joe Brown

    Still one of her all-time best.

  50. Jancis Harvey

    best in all the world of MCC's songs.  Love it

  51. David Wills

    Still a beautiful song from a beautiful lady!  Thank you!

  52. Anon amous

    Beautiful song. She sounds so much better when she drops that godawful, shit-kicker country twang and just sings in her natural voice like this.

    Raoul Carggarglin

    Don't belittle shit-kickers and their drawl.
    It's shows your prejudices and judgmental snit too easily.
    Perhaps you'd like to hear her sing with an inner-city ghetto twang?
    Count your blessings, friend.

    James de Var

    @Raoul Carggarglin
    I love a good sexy southern drawl. my room mate in college was from southern Virginia and I pcked up his accent after a while. when his mother visited she didn't believe I was from England...

    Lolita Grant

    Can't imagine anyone, who doesn't appreciate, the southern drawl of a good southern woman!

  53. James de Var

    I so love this song - reminds me of my way through life so much

  54. undeddjester

    Just before heading to Uni today I randomly remembered hearing this song when I was kid 16 years ago or so, but couldn't really remember it that well. Decided to quickly track it down, and had to even look it up by searching for a handful of lyrics I knew.

    Now I'm having to choke back the tears and dry my eyes again thanks to that little bit of curiosity. Damn it Mary!

  55. Bob Smith

    Beautiful song. Makes me cry every time. 

    Anthony Peake

    +Bob Smith Me to ....

  56. Jarno Järveläinen

    I could try to explain how beautiful this song is... but I'm not about to try.

    Lolita Grant

    Well said! One of my favorite songs of all time.

    Tina Begley

    Jarno Järveläinen lbbbbb

  57. GleeGirlSherylMessenger

    Love this song!! <3 <3 Great story behind it too. :) Love you Chapin!!!! <3 <3

  58. terri purcell

    Haven't heard it for a whle great

  59. Cathie Fredrickson

    Such a great song and wonderfully talented lady, love her voice and great guitar playing

  60. Jancis Harvey

    always loved this song - still do - wonderful - thank you

  61. randy james

    MC2, Love you always.

  62. Amanda

    My mother used to play this song over and over when I was a kid. Loved it, then actually listened to the lyrics when I got old. Great story behind the song

  63. sarina1014

    Johnny, you are wise beyond your years. I congratulate you on your mature taste I .am also a little concerned that you are listening to such introspective music. Please continue to keep your ears eyes and mind open

  64. Natasha Sealey

    every song tells a story, this is a beautiful story. :3

  65. Lisa Bebee

    Loved your "he thinks he'll keep her video" should do one to this kiddo!

  66. Michael Giffey

    I have all her albums, State of The Heart is still the one I listen to most.

  67. Jarno Järveläinen

    This shirt and whole State of the Heart-album are great. So hard pick favorite, but this was once my favorite.

  68. cuzinkevin

    How many artists could write such a moving song about something as mundane as a shirt?

  69. hardcorenate123456

    or you just mispelled a four letter word

  70. TheGoldcountry

    @hardcorenate123456 You misused "buy", it's "by".

  71. hardcorenate123456

    @hotkarlhot how did you get through school buy misspelling four letter words

  72. Shadowboro2

    @LittlelonghornGBG95 Well then the "beast" as you put it is Mary Chapin Carpenter herself, because she wrote the song. She usually writes her own material and this song is no exception. I agree with you, a great song with lyrics full of depth, unlike most of today's mainstream music (country or otherwise).

  73. Bee Crane

    Love this song/story :-)

  74. Phalnax811

    So. Much. Nostalgia.

  75. Rebekah Raible

    I've listened to this song as long as I can remember. It brings back memories from when things were simple, pure. Brings tears to my eyes every time.

  76. Anita KE

    My friend and my godfather died this week. This was one of his favourite songs. He introduced me to it 8yrs ago.

  77. toymay24

    not really. you heard her did you not<<

  78. Karen

    still my favorite MCC song. She was great in concert a few months ago in Morristown, NJ!

  79. Carlos Silva

    This song is a gem of popular music. I love these simple yet magical words. No one can describe everybody´s life so beautifully. This girl is unique!

  80. Leland Sprout

    That shirt should be on My floor :))

  81. eddie murphy

    I am a man and not big on country music but I just Love this Lady---what an incredible songwriter---would love to meet her in person---

  82. dobrofreak

    Seeing MCC and Shawn Colvin at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California next month!!! Woohoo!!!!!!!

  83. Doug McRae

    I absolutely LOVE this song. I sing along with Mary Chapin (Chappy) and usually get teary eyed.

  84. lydee09

    Mary's music is magically moving! I love her! So talented!

  85. gs7767

    I love this song too!

  86. Bev Lewis

    a Beautiful story teller in verse

  87. Kate Young

    love this song :)