Goodbye cold, goodbye rain
Goodbye sorrow, goodbye shame
I'm headed out west with my headphones on
Boarded a flight with a song in the back of my soul
And no one knows

I just found out her ghost left town
The Queen of California is stepping down, down

Hello beauty, hello strange
Hello wonder, what's your name?
Looking for the sun that Neil Young hung
After the gold rush of 1971

I just found out her ghost left town
The Queen of California is stepping down, down

If you see her say, "Hello"
Just don't tell me, "I told you so"
Joni wrote Blue in her house by the sea
I gotta believe there's another color waiting on me
To set me free

I just found out her ghost left town
The Queen of California is stepping down, down, down
Get down

Lyrics submitted by bigdix782

Queen of California Lyrics as written by John Mayer


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Queen of California song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentThe 'Queen Of California' is Mayer himself in his past 'celebrity' phase. When he says he's 'heading out west with my headphones on...' that is him boarding a plane from New York (where he still has an apartment) to search out a new life and a new sound in his music, greatly inspired by his recent listenings of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, (Mayer settled into a new life in Montana). When he says the 'Queen of California is stepping' down', that is him declaring he is no longer going to be the cheep Californian celebrity he realised he had come to be in recent years.

    'Looking for the Sun that Neil Young Hung' refers to Sunset Sound Studios in California where Young himself abandoned (hung) the initial recording process of "After The Goldrush" due to his own difficulties with the pressure of fame and 'the hip scene' that was happening at the time in Hollywood and Laurel Canyon. Mayer obviously identifies with Young's need to 'get back to basics' and to avoid any of the temptations of 'the scene' as it is apparent that this kind of lifestyle is not conducive to writing your best music. Young in fact hid himself away in the basement of his house to record the rest of the album on an old 8 track. The result many believe to be a folk-rock masterpiece.
    'Joni wrote Blue is a house by the sea' refers to Joni Mitchell's writing of the 'Blue' album. She did indeed write it in a house by the sea, and when Mayer sings 'I got to believe there's another color waiting on me, to set me free' it is him hoping that when he 'disappears' from the scene he can write his own version of a classic album like "Blue", metaphorically speaking in a different "color" and thus set him free from his demons.
    SuperBeaveron July 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems like he's happy to have a woman out of his life that was bringing him down. Without her, he can return to his happy, upbeat, sunny state.
    stilldirrtyjaon May 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)The Neil Young line references Young's classic album "After the Gold Rush", which was released in 1970 (not 1971). The album was largely recorded at the Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles.
    goodreverendon May 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe album version has a slight change:

    "Joni wrote Blue in her house by the sea
    I gotta believe there's another color waiting on me
    To set me free"
    MelleB90on May 25, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWho is the Queen of California? My theory is that the Queen of California is the sun.

    "Looking for the sun that Neil Young hung
    after the gold rush of 1971"

    is in reference to the Neil Young album, "After the Gold Rush"
    The next line I think is still referencing the "sun" that Neil young hung.

    "I just found out her ghost left town, the Queen of California is a steppin' down"

    Or, in other words, the sun is setting. Perhaps the sun is setting on one chapter of his life as another chapter begins?

    In addition, "Joni wrote Blue in a house by the sea" is referencing the Joni Mitchell album, "Blue."
    Perhaps John is referencing these two amazing albums of Young and Mitchell to say that he hopes to go out west to make his great album. It sure seems so when he says next (in the studio version), "I gotta believe there's another color waiting on me to set me free," which makes sense because in a lot of ways it's like he made this album to set him free from his past.
    audianneon May 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think John is referring to his past self as the (drama) Queen of California.
    faizanon June 03, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlso, I'm assuming the line "If you see her, say, "Hello" is a reference to the Bob Dylan song by the same name. Given the other albums mentioned or referenced in this song (After the Gold Rush by Young and Blue by Mitchell), Dylan's Blood on the Tracks certainly fits.
    dbmichaelon December 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure that the fifth line is "That no one knows" rather than "And no one knows". This would fit the interpretation that he's talking about getting away from his previous celebrity-style life in order to record a more authentic album, since it means that it's a song that know one knows; i.e. he's still working on it and it's at the stage where no one else has ever heard it.
    BobTheRhinoon November 07, 2013   Link
  • -1
    Lyric CorrectionI think the lyrics might actually be: "Looking for the song that Neil Young hummed.." as in: I would like to write songs like Neil Young.
    geepaulemon June 09, 2012   Link

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