"Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" as written by Stephen Lee Cropper and Otis Redding....
Sitting in the morning sun
I'll be sitting when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
And I watch 'em roll away again

Sitting on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay
Wasting time
I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay
'Cause I had nothin to live for
And look like nothing's gonna come my way
So I'm just

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same
Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Now, I'm just


Lyrics submitted by PhatBoy

"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" as written by Otis Redding Steve Cropper

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI always thought of it as sort of a sad song. He's traveled so far to get to San Francisco, expecting to find some sort of happiness or reason for living there. He thought that going somewhere would give him new opportunities and rid him of old problems, when in fact nothing has changed. It sounds like now he's given up, or perhaps decided to continue his usesless seach for meaning or redemption, or whatever it is he's searching for.
    smunchy pbon May 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's finding home after walking two thousand miles of unchanging roads built by other people.

    It's advice supercedeing all others: "That really sucks Fro, but you just have to keep Fro'n along"

    This song is me, my future, and everthing in between. Sooths me into sleep and keeps my feet when i am running away from everything.

    If you can't tell it's my favorite song and I'm not sure what I would do if it wasn't in my head.
    Fredodoon April 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI live in San Francisco and this song ALWAYS hits home for me. i love it. when i'm not home and i hear this song, it makes me homesick. Sounds of the bay...
    SunshineGirl21827on June 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It seems sad to me, but also kind of comforting and peaceful and beautiful at the same time. When I visited the ocean in Maine this past summer, I walked along the water singing this song repeatedly in my head, and so now it has those added connections for me.

    It's eerie and special in another way, since Otis Redding died soon after recording it. Even though the whistling was meant just as a fill until he came up with the last verse, I really like it as a part of the song.
    been_the_oneon February 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaving worked on boats for several years I have listened to this song while sitting on the dock of a bay at sunset.The feeling is indescribable. It was the first time it occured to me that the song is really about reflection. Not in a positive or negative way... just an honest way.

    Where did I come from? How did I get here? And where am I going from here? seems to be the idea. I mean, he may be sitting there reflecting and doing nothing at the moment, but docks are either for coming or going. You're always doing one or the other.
    nessa222on February 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI used to think this song was about a dude relaxing next to the shore. It was a rude awakening when I realised, he's pondering suicide.

    Kinda puts a different tilt on things
    setanta1on January 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNOT about suicide. The ending is clear. He's just sitting and "wasting time." What place would be more beautiful to contemplate life and ones future than sitting by the bay at dusk (or dawn). He may be down, but he's optimistic enough to sit in a beautiful spot pondering life. Otis was a master! This is one of my childhood favorites.
    rolypolywoofwoofon December 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI had heard that this song was essentially a suicide note. I don't remember if, when I heard this that the theory was that it was his own suicide note or that of another.

    The story I heard was that the person in question had given up all hope and decided to travel to a place where they may have been less well known. The dock was to be the final resting place for them.
    Things seemed bleak and there was no sign of any improvements for this poor soul. They tried things "10 people" had suggested but to no avail. They would sit and watch the ships as the sun went down before finally ending their life and making the dock of the bay their final resting place and their "home".

    I know it's a rather bleak theory...especially considering his death 3 days after recording the song. That is just the story I heard. It certainly seems to fit in my mind. The plan to leave home and travel to the place to commit the act, the note which describes what will happen, the final resting place.
    Wasting time is the possible thoughts of not going through with it. They want to think things through but they can't see any improvements on the horizon.

    I know a lot of people have since said it's NOT about suicide...but for anyone who suffers with such thoughts, it could well seem that way. As with most songs, the meanings and interpretations are often very open and we can all think and hear different things.
    Without the artist being able to confirm or deny such theories, there won't be a definitive answer.
    ooojabadon November 08, 2017   Link

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