"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" as written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin....
When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you'll do then
I bet that'll shoot down the plane
It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you'll get a replacement
There's plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain't got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant me in your penthouse
I'm going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" as written by Elton John, Bernie Taupin

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentIf this was from Bernie to Elton, then I doubt that Elton would have sang it. He's not stupid - why would he sing a song bashing himself???

    No, this is defintely written to the artistic upper-crust. People like Andy Warhol - but not necessarily to Warhol in specific - who surround themselves with famous artists (musical, artistic, etc...) and show them off at parties ("look who MY friend is!") and other social events. Lines like, "I didn't sign up with you," make me think that this was NOT meant for the Record Labels (whom he DID sign up with). Lines like, "I'm not a present for your friends to open," makes me think this is not written about a signifcant other (why would he be shared with others, if he's in a relationship?). Also, if he were in a relationship, would his lover get over being dumped with a couple drinks? Possibly, but coupled with the line about finding a replacement, it makes me think the relationship is a bit less intimate.

    "Where the dogs of society howl," paints a really good picture of someone being surrounded by morally vapid people, just clamouring for a "piece" of the singer.

    The replacements, being mongrels, looking for "tidbits like you," sounds like he's calling the object of the song unimportant. Not someone who made the singer what he is, but someone who gave him simple social spotlight.

    We can wrap this up by taking the main line, "Beyond the Yellow Brick Road." The Yellow Brick Road leads to Oz - a city of pure superficiality. All glittery, but very little substance - the Wizard himself being a metaphor for the life of empty wealth. I kind of see the singer comparing himself to The Wizard, in fact. A country-boy, elevated to prominence, then giving it all up to fly back to that poverty. In other words, "Stop worshipping me! I'm breaking free of this life-style."
    Sir_Larrikinon November 20, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI have a DVD about the making of this album and I'm sure Bernie said although he couldn't quite remember what he was thinking at the time it's a song about disillusionment, probably about fame and the fact that it's not all it's cracked up to be for a country boy like him. I have sung this song to my daughter from birth as it was the only song I knew all the words to and 2 years later it is the only song that calms her down. Kinda wish I had chosen a more cherry song, but there ya go!
    gerimerrymuffinon April 14, 2010   Link
  • +3
    MemoryThis song gets me everytime I hear it.

    I had a teenage boyfriend at a time in Highschool. He was not right for me, but I did not know how to let him go, I think we both just wanted to date someone at the time. All the words ring in my ears because I lived on a farm at the time and my father never wanted me to go into town to see him. A bit later my father died and I felt it was the chapter of childhood comming to an end. Reality hit our family and it was brutal and our yellowbrick road was gone. Shoerlty after my fathers death one night at a party at 2am when everyone is weary and going to bed, this song came on, and I made my bf dance with me, and in that moment I knew we were over, and my childhood was over too. Great song...

    "I should have stayed on the farm
    I should have listened to my old man

    You know you can't hold me forever
    I didn't sign up with you
    I'm not a present for your friends to open
    This boy's too young to be singing the blues"
    GreenEyes1986on February 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMy favorite line is the same as Lord Choc Ice. I love the way Elton sings it in his English accent it sounds like (It'll take ya couple of vodker n tonics, to set ya on your feet agaaaain) So when ever I hear the word vodka I always think of Elton sayin Vodker
    lizard_kingon November 03, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOf course the title is based on the Wizard of Oz movie. The song however, has to do with Bernie's finding what he wanted and being done with it. He was longing to return to the country and the simple life.

    Favorite line: "It'll take you a couple of vodka and tonics"
    Lord Choc Iceon June 11, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes this song remind anyone else of that Radiohead song from "Hail to the Thief"? "We suck young blood..."

    Hey fishnetgirl777- nice job cutting and pasting verbatim from wikipedia.
    humancorporationon May 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe that this song is about a guy realizing how the simplicity in life was so much better (the farm, his plough, hunting the horny back toad, etc...). He has been used by someone, thus the "not a present for your friends to open," and "you can't plant me in your penthouse." He is frustrated and sad, proved by him saying "this boy is too young to be singing the blues," basically meaning he's too young to feel as sad as he is, or something of that nature...

    He wants to return to his old simple life, and off of the Yellow Brick Road ("So goodbye yellow brick road"), which at first may have seemed to be good, but now he just didn't like it so he's leaving.

    I also believe that this Yellow Brick Road is society (where the dogs of society howl), and by this he may be making a statement about how things are too thought-out and too complicated for the good of mankind. He also may be saying that society nowadays is too hustle-and-bustle and people need to see things in their natural state.
    MrKite9on May 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the others. I feel it's about being caught up in fame and realizing that everyone who has been influenced by fame and money are not authentic anymore. They are fake, manipulative, selfish and greedy. The words, "Goodbye yellow brick road", hints at irony as the "yellow brick road" is where many dream of going but in reality it's not even real. "I'm going back to my plow" references the simple life.
    UrsalaJaneon April 06, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think many of the comments are very useful. We all tend to hear loudly those parts of the song that agree with our present interpretation and ignore other parts. Human nature. Start with basics that you can generally count on in music and literature.

    The yellow brick road is the road to fame and fortune, or some other conformist version of success.

    His father does not want him on the yellow brick road, but rather to keep to a simpler life.

    The yellow brick road and someone the author associates with it either wants him to sing the blues or is making him feel like singing the blues and he recognizes that and resists.

    If he leaves the yellow brick road someone associated with that road might get a replacement rather easily and in some ugly fashion (mongrels seeking tidbits on the ground.)

    In the end he wants to go to two places which he makes clear is really one place.

    He wants to back to his plough, and beyond the yellow brick road.

    The key, it seems to me, is to understand thoroughly the historic use of "yellow brick road." The Bible speaks of streets paved with gold. The movie "Wizard of Oz" has a yellow brick road leading to a beautiful city that is based on false ideas and false leadership. It has been theorized that Baum wrote the book to speak about the Gold standard for US currency; Oz being the abbrevation for ounce and the road being yellow, etc.

    So, at it's core, I feel the song is about the writer's discovery of the false values of wealth and fame and the also the discovery of his desire to return to his roots on the farm.

    In as sense, it is about growing up. An old saying, "The older I get, the smarter my dad gets."

    This can be applied to many specific circumstances and since John and Taupin were both heavily involved in the music industry, that would be a likely inspiration for them. Since music is not mentioned, I believe that you could apply it equally well to any profession with a primary goal of wealth or fame.
    fervoron November 25, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnother idea. If, as someone has suggested, this is meant as a communication from Taupin to John, then John becomes the person on the yellow brick road who'll need a couple of vodker and tonics if Taupin returns to the farm and will need a replacement.

    While I can't determine with the evidence available that this is the case, it could well be true and fits with the lyrics. Plus, I can see Elton John singing it in spite of the nasty aspersions to him. In that case it's about feelings at a particular time in their lives. So what if Taupin was disillusioned with John? Elton John would have enough class to understand and sing the wonderful song and to understand his friends feelings without going ballistic, or I at least I hope he would. If you can't be honest or angry with your friends from time to time, who can you be honest or angry with?
    fervoron November 25, 2011   Link

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