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Alice's Restaurant

Arlo Guthrie

This song is called Alice's Restaurant. 
It's about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant 
is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song. 
That's why I called the song Alice's Restaurant. 
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You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant 
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant 
Walk right in it's around the back 
Just a half a mile from the railroad track 
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant 
Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago - that's two years ago 
on Thanksgiving when my friend and I went up to visit Alice 
at the restaurant but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives 
in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray 
and Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower since they took out 
all the pews, they got a lot 'a room downstairs where the pews used to be in 
and havin all that room, seen as they took out all the pews, they decided 
that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time. 
We got up there, found all the garbage, and we figured it'd be a friendly 
gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. 
So we took the half a ton of garbage and put it in the back of 
a red VW microbus, took shovel's and rakes and implements of 
destruction and headed on toward the city dump. Well we got there and 
there was a big sign and a chain across saying closed on Thanksgiving. 
We'd never heard of a dump closed on thanksgiving before, and with 
tears in our eyes we drove off into the sunset looking for another 
place to put the garbage. 
We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the 
side of the side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the 
bottom of the cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided 
one big pile is better than two little piles, and rather than bring 
that one up we decided to throw our's down. 
That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a 
thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't 
get up until the next morning, when we got a phone call from officer 
Obie. Said "Kid, we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a 
half a ton of garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any 
information bout it". I said "Yes Sir Officer Obie, I cannot tell a 
lie, I put that envelope under that garbage." 
After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone 
we finally came to the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down 
and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him 
at the police officer's station, so we got in the red VW microbus 
with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and 
headed on to the police officer's station. 
Now friends,there was only one or two things Obie could a done 
at the police station and the first was he could have given us a medal 
for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very 
likely,and we didn't expect it , and the other thing was he could have 
bawled us out and told us never to be see driving garbage about the 
vicinity again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the 
police officer's station there was a third possibility that we hadn't 
counted upon, and we was both imediately arrested, handcuffed, and I 
said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." 
He said "Shutup kid. Get in the back of the patrol car". 
And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and 
drove to the - quote - Scene of the crime - unquote. I won't tell you about 
the town of Stockbridge Massachusets where this is all happened here, 
they got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car, but 
when we got to the 'Scene of the crime' there was five police officers 
and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty 
years, and everybody wanted to get in the newspaper story about it. 
And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment they had hanging 
around the police officer's station. They was taking plastic tyre 
track, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven 
eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a 
paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be 
used in evidence against us. They took picture's of the approach, 
the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not 
to mention the aerial photography. 
After the ordeal, we went back to the jail, Obie said he was going to 
put us in the cell said "Kid,I'm going to put you in the cell, I want 
your wallet and your belt." I said "Obie, I can understand you 
wanting my wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but 
why do you want my belt?" and he said "Kid,we don't want any 
hangings!" I said "Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for 
littering?" Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause 
he took out the toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and 
drown, and he took out the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars, 
throw out the roll of toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll 
and have an escape. Obie was making sure, and it was about four or five 
hours later that Alice, (remember Alice? This is a song about Alice), 
Alice came by and with a few nasty words to Obie on the said, bailed 
us out of jail, and we went back to the church, had a another 
thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and didn't get up until the 
next morning, when we all had to go to court. 
We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty-seven eight-by-ten 
colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the 
back of each one, sat down. Man came in, said: All rise. We stood up, 
and Obie stood up with the twenty-seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures 
and the judge walked in sat down with the seeing eye dog, and he sat down, 
we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the twenty-seven 
eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph 
on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.And then at 
twenty-seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and 
arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry, cause 
Obie had cometo the realisation that this was a typical case of American 
blind justice,and there wasn't nothing he could do about it, and the judge 
wasn't going to look at the twenty-seven eight-by-ten colour glossy 
photographs with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of 
each one explaining what each one was to be used in evidence against us. 
And we was fined fivty dollars and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, 
but thats not what I came to tell you about. 
Came to talk about the draft.
We got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall street, 
where you get injected, inspected, detected infected negleced and selected. 
I went down and got my physical examination one day, and I walked in, 
sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my 
best when I went in that morning. 'Cause I wanted to look like the all 
American kid from New York City, mean I had to feel like the, I wanted to 
BE the all American kid from New York, and I walked in and I was 
hungdown, brungdown, hungup, and all kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. 
And I walked in and sat down and they gave me a pice of paper said 
"Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room sixhundred-four." 
I went up there said "Shrink, I want to kill, I wanna I wanna kill. KILL. 
I wanna, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. 
Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." and I started 
jumpin' up and down yelling "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin' up 
and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling "KILL, 
KILL". And the seargent came over, pinned a medal on me, sent me down the 
hall, said "you're our boy". 
Didn't feel too good about it.
Proceded on down the hall gettin all sorts of injections, inspections, 
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to 
me at the thing there, and I was there two hours, three hours, four 
hours! I was there for a long time going through all kind's of mean 
nasty ugly things and I was just having a tough time there and they 
was inspecting injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving 
no part untouched. Proceeded through. And when I finally came to the 
see the last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big 
thing there, I walked up and said "what do you want?" - "Kid, we only 
got one question. Have you ever been arrested?" 
And I proceeded to tell him the story of Alice's Restaurant Massacree, 
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and 
suddenly he stopped me right there and said "Kid,did you ever go to court?" 
I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty-seven eight-by-ten colour 
glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back 
of each one, and he stoped me right there and said "Kid, I want you to go 
and sit down on that bench that says 'Group W' - - NOW kid!" 
And I walked over to the bench there, and there's Group W, which is 
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army 
after committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean 
nasty ugly looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father 
stabbers. Father rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the 
bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible 
crime-type guys sitting bench next to me. And the meanest nastyest 
uglyest one, the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to 
me and he was mean 'n' nasty 'n' ugly 'n' horrible and all kind of 
things and he sat down next to me and said "Kid, what ya get?". I 
said "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay fivty dollars and pick up the 
garbage.". He said "What were you arrested for?" and I said "Littering". 
And they all moved away from me on the bench there,and a hairy eyeball 
and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I said "And creating a 
nuisance." They all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time 
on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping all 
kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench. And 
everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, 
until the seargent came over, had some paper in his hand said. 
things-you-gotta-say", and talked for fourty-five minutes and nobody 
understood a word that he said, but we had fun filling out the form 
and playing with the pencils on the bench there, and I filled out the 
massacre with the four part harmony, wrote it down there, just like it 
was, and I put down the pencil,and turned over the piece of paper, and 
there there on the other side. In the middle of the other side. 
Away from everything else on the other side. In parentheses. 
Capital letters. Quotated. Read the following words: 
"Kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?"
I went over to the the seargent, said "Seargent, you got a lot a damn' 
gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean I'm just 
sittin' here, sittin' on the Group W bench cause you want to know 
if I'm moral enough join the army to burn women, kids, houses, and 
villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me said "Kid,we don't 
like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to 
And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little 
folder, is a study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the 
only reason I'm singing you this song now is cause you may know 
somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar 
situation,and if your in a situation like that there's only one thing 
you can do and that's: walk into the shrink whereever you are, just 
walk in, say "Shrink, You can get anything you want, at Alice's 
restaurant." And walk out. You know,if one person, just one person 
does it they may think he's really sick and won't take him. And if 
two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both 
faggots and they won't take either of them. And if three people, three, 
can you imagine, three people walking in, singin' a bar of Alice's 
Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And 
can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking 
in, singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. And friends, 
they may thinks it's a movement. 
And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacree Movement, 
and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around 
on the guitar. With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the 
guitar, here, and sing it when it does. Here it comes. 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant. 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant. 
Walk right in it's around the back, 
Just a half a mile from the railroad track, 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant. 
That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud. 
I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it 
for another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud ... or tired. 
So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part 
harmony and feeling. 
We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing. 
All right now. 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant - "Excepting Alice" 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant 
Walk right in it's around the back, 
Just a half a mile from the railroad track, 
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant 
At Alice's Restaurant. 
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- - At Alice's Restaurant! - -

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