What does Goodbye Yellow Brick Road mean?

Elton John: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Meaning

Album cover for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album cover

Song Released: 1973

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Lyrics

When are you gonna come down
When are you going to land
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man
You know you can't hold me forever
I didn't sign up with you
I'm not a present for your friends to open


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    May 19th 2017 !⃝

    I don't think any of the above is correct. Completely subjective obviously, but I think this was one of his ways of relieving himself from the fact that he was gay in the 1970's. I think he was struggling with it, and his only way to deal with it without it being obvious and getting out into the open was to write this song. It sounds like he's talking about a man with a lot of money who was interested in Elton, and was used to getting whatever he wanted, "You can't plant me in your penthouse I'm going back to my plow"

    Also, the lyric "maybe you'll get a replacement, there's plenty like me to be found, mongrels who ain't got a penny sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground" sounds like Elton's trying to say their are plenty of other people who don't have money but are willing to let him (the rich man interested in elton) have his way with them purely due to the fact that he actually does have money.

    When this song was released, there's literally no way people could have interpreted these lyrics to mean what I think they mean, but now that we know Elton is gay, I think the lyrics of this song reflect that. That's just my interpretation of it, though. Could be totally wrong. Interested to see what other people think.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Oct 27th 2011 !⃝

    link to wiz of oz (of course) but also seedy homosexual world where younger men are shared about (not a present for your friends to open) for the price of being 'looked after' (penthouse).


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Jan 18th 2016 !⃝

    A song not to be forgotten by the great ELTON JOHN about the time reminding himself within the mind of a young farm boy emigrating to find the Big Emerald City of gold and dreams, before he gets way to high and difficult to call him back from becoming a Superman following the yellow brick road with the rest of them to meet the Wizard of Oz like in the movie, also to remember his Old Man and rest of the family who were left behind with the plough and the memories there that are still waiting for him back home with love. If they are trying to make a plant out of him to be planted in somebody's Penthouse. Anotherwords the guideing voice of Elton John in the song is trying to help the young lad to not forget where he came from and go back home and say ''Good Bye Yellow Brick Road'' if the road becomes to difficult with no gold or nothing else to be found, sniffing like a dog finding only pennies along with all ''The Illusions'' and the perverts roaming the streets for the easy meat to bring to their Penthouses.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 5th 2022 !⃝

    “When are you going to come down,
    When are you going to land
    I should have stayed at the farm…”

    The first two lines have multiple ways of being read. There is no mention of a plane at the start of the song. So while you could interpret it as a plane landing, you could also interpret it in other ways. You can ‘Come down’ from upper society/your high horse/wealth
    You can be ‘going to land’ as in, going to farmland, to the earth, to shore. A way of returning to the earth, become grounded, leaving soaring fantasies or your vain voyage behind.

    Following the idea of ‘land’ and ‘coming down’, you could read the two together as being ‘down-to-earth’, which ties in nicely with a lot of people’s interpretations of the song.

    A lot of lines in the song are like this, have a few layers or allusions.
    ‘You can’t plant me in your penthouse’ almost seems like a biblical allusion, to the parable of seeds falling on concrete, amongst weeds, and in good soil. He’s like a seed, and he can’t grow morally in a penthouse. He wants to go back to the earth, the good soil, the plough. He wants to lead an honest working life.

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 27th 2021 !⃝

    The United States finally abandoned the gold standard in 1973, the same year this song came out. Probably a coincidence... But an interesting one.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 25th 2019 !⃝

    I got this one, here it is folks:


    Everybody capish now?

    I got it didn't I?


  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 19th 2019 !⃝

    If he can go back to his farm then he's a rich man already with his own YBR (Yellow Brick Road).
    If he'd been a poor man he would have had nowhere better to wish he could go, he'd stay on someone else's YBR because he'd have no choice.
    (There's a supply of "horny toads" he can be the leader of in his own microcosm.)
    Those are my 2 cents.

  8. billyfish
    click a star to vote
    Sep 19th 2018 !⃝

    Yeah, quite profound lyrics wrote by Bernie Taupin..I do think that the Munchkins & Glinda represent some sort of deep tete-a-tete between Elton & Bernie about homosexuality & alchoholism which was a tad tabboo in the 70's...I personally think Elton had more of a problem with his drink & coke addictions as opposed to coming out of the closet.. Hence my interpretation of the line.. " when are you gonna come down "... I really think that Bernie had the barbituates at the ready & helped to save he's life... Thats only my humble oppinion... But hey , how fucking good is that song ?

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 21st 2018 !⃝

    Meaning life is not what it seems.

  10. Mikewhite
    click a star to vote
    May 12th 2018 !⃝

    Way off...as the last person said, Bernie taurpin wrote the lyrics, a country boy from owmby by spital near market Rasen in Lincolnshire...I cycled the yellow brick road this morning..it's the road between a village called spridlington & fauldingworth on the way to market Rasen, it's concrete with a yellow tinge..I would have been a road often travelled by Bernie on his way to school or in later years to the pubs in market Rasen, the Aston arms in market Rasen was the inspiration for Saturday's alright for fighting... Yellow brick road is a song about country boy Bernie, living & writing with Elton in London & longing to be back home on the farm... Very similar to "tell me when the whistle blows" about waiting on kings cross station waiting to go home, to the apron strings! From one lincs lad to another, Bernie you are a star...

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 10th 2018 !⃝

    Elton did not write the lyrics, Bernie Taupon did. Elton wrote the music. That's their arrangement for all their songs. So all of the above are misguided. Bernie eventually bought a plantation, so he's obviously talking about himself in the song.

  12. Zoe_is_epic
    click a star to vote
    Apr 10th 2015 !⃝

    I think it means you can't have the life of happiness for a while so you have to come back to reality once and a while.

  13. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 2nd 2012 !⃝

    Exactly, BillB--and the lyrics are VERY bitter about that toxic relationship. My favorite is "mongrels who ain't got a penny, searching for tidbits like you on the ground." Also--"It'll take you a couple of Vodka And tonics to get you on your feet again." I've always thought this could be a great punk rock song.

  14. BillB
    click a star to vote
    Dec 2nd 2012 !⃝

    Sorry but none of the above are correct. It has to do with Linda Woodward, whom Elton was engaged to before he made it big- she said in an interview this song and 'Someone saved my life tonight" (that someone was 'Long John Baldry') really hurt her when they came out. The mentions of society are what she wanted Elton and she to be in, top society. (Now if she had not demanded so much look where she would be today!)

  15. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 13th 2011 !⃝

    I think it's about falling in love in the city. it's in vain to keep being a dreamer who's looking for true love. So, walking on the clouds is no longer rational so he starts soliloquizing about the necessity of 'going to calm down/land', that is,going back to reality. He's considering the fact that choosing such a 'yellow brick road' of life in such a city is a total disappointment as people in general and his mate in particular judge things by appearances, and as money and property are everything for them; that's why he addresses his mate 'You can't plant me in your penthouse' The contrast between the city and the countryside is really shocking.

  16. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 18th 2011 !⃝

    Elton may very well have gotten the idea for the song
    "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" from the Wizard of Oz, but it's about an alcoholic who continues to be the way he is, and sees no way of getting out except retreating into the woods.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  17. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 17th 2011 !⃝

    Elton John got the idea for the song from The Wizard Of Oz.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

More Elton John songs »


Latest Articles


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Meteor Shower anonymous
Issues anonymous
Jessica anonymous
Horizons anonymous
Coconut anonymous
Demon Of The Fall anonymous
Rebel Yell anonymous
Softcore anonymous
The Chains Are On anonymous
Bounce anonymous
Lake of Fire anonymous
Evil Woman anonymous
Hello Kitty anonymous
The Mighty Quinn anonymous
Hermit the Frog Hjkxx100

(We won't give out your email)