Ball and Chain (Social Distortion song)

Ball and Chain (Social Distortion song)

Infobox Single
Name = Ball and Chain

Artist = Social Distortion
from Album = Social Distortion
Released = March 27, 1990
Format =
Recorded = 1989
Genre = Alternative rock
Length = 5:44
Label = Epic
Writer = Mike Ness
Producer = Dave Jerden
Certification =
Last single = "Story of My Life" (1990)
This single = "Ball and Chain" (1990)
Next single = "Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash cover)" (1990)

"Ball and Chain" is a hit song by Social Distortion, a Southern California punk rock band, featured on their self-titled album, released in 1990, as well as on "Live at the Roxy" (1998).

In the words of lead singer/writer Mike Ness, "Ball and Chain" is 'a hard luck story', [Mike Ness, Introduction to performance of 'Ball and Chain', "Live at the Roxy"] a forceful cry, a lament, a plea, a 'folk prayer', [Mike Ness, Liner Notes, "Live at the Roxy"] which opens with the lines

:Well it's been ten years and a thousand tears:and look at the mess I'm in,:a broken nose and a broken heart:an empty bottle of gin...

and for which the chorus is

:"Take away, take away":"Take away this ball and chain":"I'm lonely and I'm tired":"And I can't take any more pain"

Long after its first release, "Ball and Chain" remains a concert staple.


* The song was played on episodes of "My Name Is Earl" and on "Scrubs" as well as the film "Jarhead" (2005)
* The song was covered frequently in concert by the late '90s Atlanta indie band Alastor led by Elizabeth Elkins, who went on to form The Swear.
* Frontman Mike Ness recorded a "Honky Tonk" version of this song on his solo album "Under the Influences" in 1999.
* The song was also transcribed in the January 2005 issue of "Guitar World".


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