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Goodbye Stranger Lyrics

It was an early morning yesterday
I was up before the dawn
And I really have enjoyed my stay
But I must be moving on

Like a king without a castle
Like a queen without a throne
I'm an early morning lover
And I must be moving on

Now I believe in what you say
Is the undisputed truth
But I have to have things my own way
To keep me in my youth

Like a ship without an anchor
Like a slave without a chain
Just the thought of those sweet ladies
Sends a shiver through my veins

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I'll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Goodbye stranger it's been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye Mary, goodbye Jane
Will we ever meet again
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Sweet devotion (Goodbye Mary), it's not for me (Goodbye Jane)
Just give me motion (Will we ever) and set me free (Meet again)
To the land and the ocean (Feel no sorrow), far away (Feel no shame)
It's the life I've chosen (Come tomorrow), every day (Feel no pain)

So goodbye Mary (Goodbye Mary), goodbye Jane (Goodbye Jane)
Will we ever (Will we ever) meet again (Meet again)


Now some they do and some they don't
And some you just can't tell
And some they will and some they won't
With some it's just as well

You can laugh at my behavior
That'll never bother me
Say the devil is my savior
But I don't pay no heed

And I will go on shining
Shining like brand new
I'll never look behind me
My troubles will be few

Goodbye stranger it's been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye Mary, goodbye Jane
Will we ever meet again
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Sweet devotion (Goodbye Mary), it's not for me (Goodbye Jane)
Just give me motion (Will we ever) and set me free (Meet again)
And land and the ocean (Feel no sorrow), far away (Feel no shame)
The life I've chosen (Come tomorrow), every day (Feel no pain)

And now I'm leaving (Goodbye Mary), got to go (Goodbye Jane)
Hit the road (Will we ever), I say it once again (Meet again)
Yes I'm leaving (Feel no sorrow), got to go (Feel no shame)
Got to go (Come tomorrow), I'm sorry I must tell you (Feel no pain)

Goodbye Mary (Goodbye Mary), goodbye Jane (Goodbye Jane)
Will we ever (Will we ever) meet again (Meet again)

I believe, yes, that I've got to get away
Song Info
Copyright
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Submitted by
Submitted on
Dec 24, 2001
81 Meanings
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Fantastically used in the Magnolia soundtrack as Donny is walking into the bar for the first time. It gets me every time.

I think it's about the end of a relationship because of the verse:

Like a ship without an achor Like a slave without a chain Just the thought of those sweet ladies Sends a shiver through my veins

Now that he's single, he is looking forward to his freedom to date all those hot 70's chicks. However he seems to run from his problems and one is left to wonder whether he will ever feel at home?

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the end of this song rocks

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Great song--just listened to it on the radio this morning. To me, the marijuana and suicide explanations don't fit all of the lyrics, whereas the "guy who sleeps around with a lot of women" explanation does.

He got up yesterday in another woman's bed, and must be moving on. "Now I believe in what you say" is him defending himself to a woman who says he's a playboy who's eventually going to grow old and die alone if he doesn't settle down. But he has to have things his own way. "And I will go on shining, shining like brand new" is ironic--it's him fooling himself, that he can keep his youthful good looks and winning ways with the ladies forever. "Goodbye stranger, it's been nice" is his kiss-off line. He loves all these woman, and doesn't want them to feel any sorrow or shame for their one-night stands. He's saying "What we had was fun, let's not make a big deal about it, have a great life." The "Some they do and some they don't" section is about how he categorizes women--i.e., those that will sleep with him and those that won't.

Like a lot of SuperTramp, the song is ironic, playful, and bittersweet. The harmony is sweet and lilting and the melody catchy, but obviously the guy in the song has caused a lot of pain (without really meaning to) to a lot of women. He's also probably given a lot of pleasure to a lot of women. And he's also self-deluded about his own mortality--he will eventually lose his looks, and will be left alone. This could be the theme song for the Warren Beatty character in the movie "Shampoo." And it captures the tone of that bittersweet comedy too.

I'm glad I read through all the posts before I entered my own. You saved me a lot of typing. I agree with you 100%, right down to your interpretation of the "Some they do and some they don't" section. It is the last line of that section "with some its just as well" that really ties it all together.

If you read this site long enough, you learn that apparently every song ever written is about drug addiction and suicide. Thanks for having a unique, thoughtful, and quite not as angsty perspective.

Best comment on here. Dead on. Just a ramblin man stuck in his ways.

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I think Occam's Razor applies here: the simplest answer is usually the correct one.

In other words, everything you need to know about this song is contained in the title and the lyrics. Don't read into it too much. I think this song is about just what it appears to be.

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The song is about a superficial man. It's a tragedy song. In his fear of intimacy or dependency, he doesn't get close to anyone. When he leaves, looking to escape the pressure of the demands of any person trying to get closer to him, they are still strangers to him. His life is a sad cycle of leaving strangers behind.

My Interpretation
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No one seems to address the fact that there are two very different voices in this song--the fun-loving, unapologetic, one night stand addict--voiced by Rick, and the tenor voice of verses seven and eight who is saying goodbye to that person--who he addresses with the song's title, "Goodbye Stranger". Why is the second voice saying goodbye to the first? Someone suggested that Rick is saying goobye to a former acquaitance with whom he partied--possible, but unless you can back that up with a comment from the author that will have to remain unconfirmed. There is a division between the two parties--the stranger says, "I beleive that what you say is the undisputed truth." But that is not going to deter him from his chosen lifestyle. The second voice retorts, "tried to see your point of view, hope your dreams will all come true". There is no discord between the two voices but each is determined to go on their own path. One clue may be that the tenor voice says, "Feel no sorrow, Feel no shame, come tomorrow, feel no pain." Why no pain? This life is always painful right up to that last pain, death. Only then does the pain end. I think the two voices both belong to the same person and that the second voice is going to end his relationship with the first. He's going to sever that part of himself that he knows he can't control or change. He will say goodbye to the one night stands and the drugs--Mary and Jane are obviously marijuana and no song writer could say those words without expecting everyone to take them to refer to marijuana. Will they ever meet again? Will he ever return to his old self and old life? One never knows.

@aplknkr This is probably the best analysis I have read of this song, it covers all facets and leave nothing unexplained.

@aplknkr Your analysis is kind of confirmed in ultimateclassicrock.com/supertramp-breakfast-in-america/

This song is about the two main Supertramp writers (Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson) problems of communication. From Hodgson himself:

"A few of the songs really lent themselves to two people talking to each other and at each other," recalled Hodgson later. "I could be putting down Rick's way of thinking and he could be challenging my way of seeing life. We were thinking of making that the theme ... We weren't communicating very well through this album."

@aplknkr this is my favorite response after reading about 12 different takes on the song. Many people seem to think marijuana has nothing to do with why he chose “mary and jane”. Especially in the late 70’s I can’t imagine using those names without at least a hint at marijuana being a part of his care free- fun loving lifestyle (even if the intent was just to give 2 feminine names). Now I’m on board with the possibility it could be 1 person, but with that theory I believe the very end of the song “oh I’m leaving… I’ve got...

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I believe he's singing about the women he slept with while on the road and how he's saying goodbye to them because he will probably never see them again. Very catchy song.

GOODBYE STRANGER is about FAILURE OF ABSTINANCE TO ADDICTION

People really?

Its not like that.

Its about a stranger, that tries to tell him the "right" way to live.

Read it:

Goodbye stranger, it's been nice Hope you find your paradise Tried to see your point of view Hope your dreams will all come true

Paradise: (christian) where all believers end up, tried to see your view: tried to follow didn't work, hope: no hard feelings

@Galaxael very interesting point of view, never thought about it like that!

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I agree that the song was written to be about a one-night stand, but in retrospect, it seems to foretell 9/11.

"It was an early morning yesterday I was up before the dawn And I really have enjoyed my stay But I must be moving on"

The planes used in the attack were hijacked early in the morning on Sept. 11. The attackers believed they were moving on to an afterlife.

"But I have to have things my own way To keep me in my youth"

Extremists have rigid views, especially concerning the things they are willing to die for. Of course, if one dies young, he's young forever.

"Just the thought of those sweet ladies Sends a shiver through my veins"

Islamic extremists usually are able to go through with suicide attacks because of the promise of 72 virgins ("those sweet ladies") in the afterlife

"And I will go on shining Shining like brand new I'll never look behind me My troubles will be few"

Paradise, the afterlife

"Goodbye stranger it's been nice Hope you find your paradise Tried to see your point of view Hope your dreams will all come true"

This represents the innocence of America before the attack (speaking from her perspective). The extremist is merely a stranger, and America hopes he finds his paradise (afterlife). America doesn't understand his point of view, and in her innocent ignorant bliss, allows him in the nation and even provides him with flying lessons.

"You can laugh at my behavior That'll never bother me Say the devil is my savior But I don't pay no heed"

In the a culture completely different from his own, the stranger often encounters others laughing at his differences. He claims it doesn't bother him. In the immediate aftermath, his deed will be viewed as the work of Satan. Again, he doesn't care.

"And I will go on shining Shining like brand new I'll never look behind me My troubles will be few"

He doesn't care because he is going to paradise in the afterlife.

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I hate everyone who says this is about one night stands!

"Just the thought of those sweet ladies Sends a shiver through my veins"

This lyric is odd to me if it is indeed a reference to women. What about a shiver in your veins is sexual?

Now, a slang term for HEROIN is "Sweet Lady H".

Obviously, heroin is injected in your veins.

Makes sense to me that this is a DRUG REFERENCE not a reference to actual ladies.

So, superficially its a song about drugs.

The song title "Goodbye stranger" simply acknowledges the 2 versions of himself that he experiences, the sober version and the addicted version. So when he does drugs he says goodbye to his other self... Or vice versa.

On another level its a story about progressing in life to a different level of thinking.

Many of the lyrics hint at something grander than a simple struggle with an addiction. It may be that the writer draws a parallel between life and death and the struggle with addiction, seeing himself in victory over addiction as a self-savior.

It's possible that the stranger is this self-savior, a projection of himself into the role of Jesus, or even Jesus.

In the end, no matter what we do, we must choose, we must change, we must say goodbye to our child hood, to our lost loved ones, and eventually to life itself.

In the end, Goodbye stranger can mean so many things, but it means only one.

Say goodbye to YOURSELF.

My Opinion

@modulo1118 I agree with you! I think he is saying goodbye to the previous version of himself.

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I can see where someone would mistake the Mary and Jane and assume it's a song about pot.

If you actually read all the lyrics of this song, he's saying goodbye to many women. It's a song about one night stands.

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