"Great Expectations" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey, Mark Potter, Craig Lee Potter, Richard Barry Jupp and Peter James Turner....
And if it rains all day
Call on you I'll call on you
Like I used to
Slide down beside and wrap you in stories
Tailored entirely for you
I'll remind you
We exchanged a vow
I love you I always will

A call girl with yesterday eyes
Was our witness and priest
Stockport supporters club kindly provided a choir
Your vow was your smile
As we move down the aisle
Of the last bus home
And this is where I go
Just when it rains

Blinking and stoned
Rain in your hair
You only smoke cause it's something to share
Singing bring on the night
To have and to hold
The sodium light turning silver to gold

Spitfire thin and strung like a violin
I was
Yours was the face with a grace
From a different age
You were the sun in my Sunday morning
You were the sun in my Sunday morning
Telling me never to go
So I'll live on the smile
And move down the aisle
Of the last bus home
And if you're running late
This is where I'll go
Know I'll always wait


Lyrics submitted by Leif_Erikson, edited by melomanist

"Great Expectations" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey Craig Lee Potter

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Great Expectations song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentthis is a song about Guy imagining he is getting married on the 135 bus to bury.
    beautiful song....
    baby cakeson March 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is a look back on a relationship he had and fixing on a particular perfect memory - walking down the aisle of the last bus home after a quiet walk through the streets. Both the aisle of the bus and the importance of that moment to him draw comparisons to a wedding - perhaps a wedding he wished he'd had while he had the chance.

    The final verse is him revisiting the place where the memories occurred ('the last bus home') and reminiscing. He hopes one day she will get on the same bus and they will be able to start again - 'And if you’re running late / This is where I’ll go / Know I’ll always wait'.

    An absolutely beautiful song, and Elbow's best in my opinion, but it's the delivery of the lyrics that makes it. It sounds so much more impressive than the lyrics look on paper.
    armchair philosopheron December 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is one of my favourite songs of all time. To me it seems to be about love and loss. The man in the story has fallen in love with someone that he can no longer have for whatever reason.

    To me the female character may have passed away, from the lines "spitfire thin and strung like a violin, i was" - thin and highly strung with worry/grief?? "yours was a face with the grace from a different age"- aged through illness?? The man appears to reminisce about the loss with the line "you were the sun in my sunday morning" (which is surely one of the most beautful lines ever!!!) and he is stillso much in love that he sings "know ill always wait", until they can be reunited? I suppose those lines could also just be him reminiscing about a relationship when they were both younger, maybe ive just got a morbid mind!

    I also love the line "sodium light turning silver to gold", which to me is the streetlights turning the rain in the streets from silver to yellow- a fantastic analogy.

    Someone give guy garvey a medal for coming up with such beautiful songs!
    bonzarootion June 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is, indeed, about imagining getting married on a bus. He's talking about a girl he used to see every week on the bus (the sun in his Sunday morning) and that he had imagined he was in relationship with. The elements of and people on the bus became the elements of a wedding- "A call girl with yesterday eyes was our witness and priest; Stockport Supporters Club kindly provided a choir; Your vow was your smile as we moved down the aisle of the last bus home."

    It was a long time ago, when he was "spitfire thin and strung like a violin." Now, as he remembers it, he thinks of how wonderful were his "great expectations" of this imagined relationship and tells her that he's going back to that bus route to find her. "If you're running late, this is where I'll go; know I'll always wait." It's an amazingly clever and beautifully written song about a subject that could come off as almost creepy if not done right- a guy who sees a girl constantly and imagines being married to her tells her that he'll keep going back to run into her again. Kudos, Elbow!
    acoustikidon October 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. I have some ideas about what it might mean, but I think I am seeing it a certain way because of my current situation. It seems to me to be about a love affair. Maybe they are giving it another shot after being apart for a time (I'll call on you like I used to).
    I think it is a beatiful song, both musically and lyrically.
    tgrllyon July 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, it's about a relationship that started off so well and seemed perfect but as the saying goes it was too good to be true. i cry when i hear this song and i love the line 'you were the sun in my sunday morning' this song perfectly portrays the feeling after ending a relationship with someone that you honestly thought could 'be the one', if there is such a thing
    ylliton December 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is such a beautiful song. I'm not sure what the words mean, but in a song like this, what does that matter? However I have always thought that maybe this song is about a night when 2 people meet and get high. As they are on the bus home, the sights around them remind them of a wedding and they fall in love. But then one of them leaves and they never see each other again.

    A haunting a beautiful song.
    INdieKiD21on December 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst off a few of these lyrics are wrong. For instance, it's "stockport supporters club kindly supplied us a choir." and "your veil was your smile" not "your vow." Small things, but I'm picky. Still you got the idea.

    Look at the title of this song "Great Expectations." The character in this song amplified things, and what should have been a simple sweet sentiment of "I love you, I always will" was taken way too far. The "she" in this story told him this on a bus, and at that moment, the singer took it as absolute truth, and figured they were getting married and were going to be with each other forever.
    The relationship collapsed, but he still remembers that moment, and isn't letting go.

    You know, it's not that anyone wants to get married on a bus, and as with most Elbow lyrics, although this may have been inspired by personal experience (may have been) this is a story that he crafted, for the soul purpose of fitting the music and creating art. Beautiful song, probably one of my favorites of Elbow's.
    AnonymousJacksonon May 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo, it's definitely "vow" (look at the booklet) and this supports acoustikid's theory (which was mine too) that he imagined the marriage and probably the whole relationship. They never married, never exchanged vows, she just smiled at him and he took this smile as a vow for this (imagined) marriage.
    Look at the first verse "wrap you in the stories, tailored entirely for you". He just made this up.
    Or at least that's what I think ;-) .
    WayToBlueon July 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDays ago I listened to the audios of elbow on KEXP in 2008, after they performed this song, Guy talked about this song. I wrote down what he said about it (sorry I might have took some words or expressions wrong since my first language is not English):

    "It based on a few events actually. And.. the first girl I was in love with, I fell in love with her on a bus, and I've been with her for about 4 or 5 months but I rememeber the moment I thought: "God I love her!" You know. And this is what it feels like the sort of thing, and so I sort of invented a marriage that took place at that moment. And imagine a call girl ... on a bus be our witness and priest. It says in the lyrics, "Stockport supporters club kindly provided a choir" in the wedding ...sort of ... um ... yeah, it's very easy to write about that girl even know ... you know I've ...with both moved on, she has a family and I'm very much in love of somebody else, but it was very easy to write about her because I had so many those feelings for the first time with her."

    The audio takes from KEXP Radio Seattle Washington USA FM_Broadcast.

    It is also my favorite elbow song!
    aliceshelon February 24, 2011   Link

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