But Did He Ever Return? No, He Never Returned

Jun 7, 2018

Lots of songs have been used as anthems for particular causes or movements. But probably only one for a transit system. The song is the story of Charlie, a hapless commuter who finds himself trapped on the Boston subway.

Charlie’s story was made famous by the Kingston Trio in the song “M.T.A.” in 1959, but it was written for an actual mayoral candidate—not George O’Brien, but Walter O’Brien.

Walter’s daughter Julia O’Brien-Merrill, featured in this story, is the author of the children’s book Charlie on the M.T.A.: Did He Ever Return? with illustrations by Caitlin Marquis.