First Hit #1: December 2, 1972
To my knowledge, Papa Was A Rolling Stone was never the theme song to a blaxploitation film. I’m not sure if the Temptations were angling to make it one, but it would be absolutely perfect. Taking at least some inspiration from the Theme from Shaft, we get an extended, dark and funky intro, and we lead right into the back story of our hero. He’s the child of a man who died, was never around, and probably was up to no good. It has a bit of mystery, a bit of suspense, and a really great starting position for the film’s hero. How does his father’s death affect him? Will he have to somehow have to face up to his father’s sins, perhaps by cruel debtors out to get their money? Will the hero, as a result, need to kick some ass? It’s a song that just sets up so much that I want to see the film which has it playing under the credits. It lays out the relationships, and makes you want to know more. That’s a great movie theme right there, even if there wasn’t actually a movie to go with it.