"Bobcaygeon" as written by Robert Baker, Gordon Downie, Johnny Fay, Joseph Paul Langlois and Robert Gordon Sinclair....
I left your house this morning,
'Bout a quarter after nine.
Coulda been the Willie Nelson,
Coulda been the wine

When I left your house this morning,
It was a little after nine
It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves, one star at time

Drove back to town this morning,
With working on my mind
I thought of maybe quittin',
Thought of leavin' it behind

Went back to bed this morning
And as I'm pullin' down the blind,
Yeah, the sky was dull and hypothetical
And fallin' one cloud at a time

That night in Toronto,
With its checkerboard floors
Riding on horseback,
And keeping order restored,
Til The Men They Couldn't Hang,
Stepped to the mic and sang,
And their voices rang with that Aryan twang

I got to your house this morning,
Just a little after nine
In the middle of that riot,
Couldn't get you off my mind

So, I'm at your house this morning,
Just a little after nine
'Cause, it was in Bobcaygeon
Where I saw the constellations reveal themselves
One star at time

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death, edited by scee0912

"Bobcaygeon" as written by Johnny Fay Gordon Downie

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Bobcaygeon song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentOn one level, this is a song about being caught in a dilemma: should you quit the bright lights for the quiet of a small town? On another level, this song may ask whether you'd like to see evil (in the form of fascism) out in the open or hidden under the surface.

    In the small town, things become clear; the constellations slowly reveal themselves. In the city, on the other hand, things are not so clear. We close the blind to obscure the sky, which in any case is dull, cloudy, and "hypothetical." And in the end, he seems to favour the country, since we end up there after he thinks of quitting.

    The bridge seems to refer to fascism, as "the men they couldn't hang" sing with an Aryan twang while mounted police try to restore order. The video, which casts Downie as a cop, seems to support that interpretation. On the other hand, The Men They Couldn't Hang was an 80s band which played the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto around the same time the Hip played there, and the Aryan twang could refer to their accents (although a Celtic burr would be closer the mark).

    In the end, it doesn't much matter. It's either a cop wondering whether to quit being a cop, or a singer ruminating on whether to quit being a singer.

    (A side note: it's one of several Hip songs that allude or seem to allude to fascism, so it's likely that Downie considered that angle.)
    wonderdogon January 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation@wonderdog and @Ryan_Cole : I love your interpretations. Check out the video at youtube.com/… , then pause it at 4:38. The guitarist's guitar has a scrawling that says "This machine kills fascists". That's a nod to Woody Guthrie, too!
    grandgrooveon June 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA brilliant mix of words and melodious music that defines the outdoor summer music festival - only the irony lies in the fact that it's told from a COP's point of view and not the singer's
    canadianJAYon June 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe songs rhythm and Gord's melodic voice make this song extra special
    Canada rules!
    MARLEYISKEYon July 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI being from Toronto, I have seen them live several times. When "that night in Toronto.." bit comes on they stop the song cause 30,000 people over-power the music.
    Drink_and_Fighton August 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAhhhh!! This song takes me back. Canada does rule! and the Hip makes it feel damn good to be Canadian! They represent us perfectly!
    carmson September 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne thing to say, i love this song.
    BigHeadJedon April 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI find this song extremely relaxing. My favourite line from the song: "in the middle of that riot, couldn't get you off my mind". Speaks to me...
    Atom_14on June 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust a theory, but I have a sneaky suspicion this song alludes in part to the 'Red riots' in Toronto during the 1940's, when Communists held rallies in the streets. Many people opposed this, but nothing could be done to stop them due to free speech. Canada was well aware of the perils of communism, but due to its open-mindedness could not break up these Communist rallies. Hence 'The man they couldnt hang stepped to the mic and sang'
    Theres definitely a chick involved in this story though, too.
    Nick Chopperon January 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it might allude to riots in the 1930s that supported fascism (they happened). The reason I think this is the "the aryan twang" line, which suggests that it might have to do with fascism.
    floydfan87on January 31, 2005   Link

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