What does Goodbye Stranger mean?

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Supertramp: Goodbye Stranger Meaning

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Song Released: 1979


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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
Oh...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 23rd 2011 report

    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

    (Translation: He's a long time stoner, and he's decided to quit smoking pot and move on with his life)

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

    (Translation: Giving up weed is going to make him feel lost, like a "King without a castle", or a "Queen without a throne", since it's been a major part of his life for so long.)
    (Many heavy pot smokers get high first thing in the morning. He loves getting high early in the morning, hence...he's an early morning lover of Mary Jane or weed, but he's decided to move on with his life and give it up.)

    Now I believe in what you say
    is the undisputed truth

    (Translation: Weed makes you philosophical and he believes in it's use, even though he's decided to give it up.)

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

    (Translation: I think he's trying to say that life is passing him by, so he's going to quit smoking weed so he can experience more)

    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

    (Translation: Another reference that he will feel lost without marijuana since it's been such a big part of his life. "Just the thought of those sweet ladies sends a shiver through my veins", is a reference that just thinking about marijuana plants/buds makes him have second thoughts about quitting, since only the female plant produces buds that get you high.)

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

    (Translation: He's turning over a new leaf and starting anew. He won't have to worry about getting busted anymore, hence...his troubles will be few.)

    Goodbye stranger
    It's been nice
    Hope you find your
    Paradise
    Try to see your
    Point of view
    Hope your dreams will
    All come true
    Goodbye Mary
    Goodbye Jane
    Will we ever
    Meet again?

    (Translation: He's having a conversation with himself. He's enjoyed smoking weed but he's decided to move on, yet he has reservations about stopping.)

    Sweet devotion
    It's not for me
    Just give me motion
    And set me free
    The land and the ocean
    Far away
    Life I've chosen
    Every day
    So goodbye Mary
    Goodbye Jane
    Will we ever
    Meet again?

    (Translation: Same as the above verse. He's decided to quit smoking weed, but he's having some reservations about it.)

    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

    (Translation: A reference about people that get high. Sometimes it's easy to tell who does, and other times you would have never guessed. The second line references people that have never gotten high....some will try it and some won't, and for those that won't, it's probably just as well.)

    You can laugh at my behavior
    That'll never bother me

    (Translation: This is a reference to society looking down on potheads.)

    Said the devil is my savior
    But I don't pay no heed

    (Translation: Weed used to be called "the devils weed", by anti-marijuana folks. Since he smokes the "devil's weed", the devil must be his savior according to these same people.)

    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
    Try to see your
    Point of view
    Hope your dreams will
    All come true
    Goodbye Mary
    Goodbye Jane
    Will we ever
    Meet again?

    Sweet devotion
    It's not for me
    Just give me motion
    And set me free
    The land and the ocean
    Far away
    Life I've chosen
    Every day
    Now I'm leaving
    Got to go
    Hit the road
    I'll say it once again
    Oh, yes, I'm leaving
    Got to go
    Hit the road
    I'm sorry, I must tell you
    Goodbye Mary
    Goodbye Jane
    Will we ever
    Meet again?

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 6th report

    Double-entendre! Written for popular culture as a rockstar bangin groupies; but for those who read between the lines, it is as the original poster said, it is really about his love afair with weed. If you ever had a lifelong weed habit and quit the lyrics match perfectly with original poster's description.

  3. anonymous
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    Sep 6th report

    Bang'in groupies. Seem fairly ovvious. I'd think they could have collaborated on a song that dealt with the drug issues (weed) how evil(sarcasm) in a more poignant way. Just my take on it. All that aside l really like this band. Saw them on the 'Breakfast in America tour......in my youth...!

  4. anonymous
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    Mar 27th 2020 report

    It's about ending a weed high.

  5. anonymous
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    Feb 23rd 2020 report

    All I know is he had a one night stand got up before her and off he went..I have done that myself.and as far as Mary and Jane..Mary is fine but Jane doe was the other...I have woke up a few mornings after a night of doing some blow and drinking and smoked a joint and when I got up there was a laying there sleeping we came from a bar to go to my house and partied and when I woke up I couldn't even remember her name it had to be a Jane doe to me...go to a supertramp concert back in early and they jammed to go by stranger and it was SUPER TRAMP...

  6. anonymous
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    Oct 13th 2019 report

    Life and love on the road...turn the Page...yada yada

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 7th 2019 report


    My god most of the interpretations of "Goodbye Stranger" are so stupid. It's so simple, so obvious. He's a rock star, and he's laying pipe to all these anonymous women. And he has no remorse for it; he's taking what is given to someone in his position. Plan and simple. If you think it is bout anything more than that you are a pretentious idiot.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2019 report

    Its a masterpiece of brutal honesty and how cynicism and love affects us all. The character potrayed has an air of mastery and confidence in what he is doing which is learned perspective and behaviour by bedding multiple lovers. The line 'some they do and some they don't' is key and 'sweet devotion..not for me'. Yet i feel the writer is making a mockery of him because he is objectifying and using women and feeling like he is invincible. If only life was ever that simple.

  9. anonymous
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    Aug 22nd 2018 report

    He had a three-way with Mary and Jane.

  10. anonymous
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    Apr 7th 2018 report

    I believe it has to do with a "Free" Spirit that is afraid of settling down or falling in love,Protecting himself,Having one night stands or gets what he wants then has to leave before he or the other gets to attached! Feel no shame,come tomorrow feel no pain! Getting away,just give him the land and ocean,No strings attached and he is good! Saying Goodbye Stranger,cause he was never that invested to call these women anything other than a Stranger,I don't think the Mary Jane names were a mistake in names,but maybe commen enough to get attention on or off the real meaning,but I think it has to do with being content with his own way of life and you can't talk me into changing,even though he Seen their point of view,might be true,just not enough for him to stay cause being tied down isn't in the cards for him,he is a ship without a anchor and a slave without a chain

  11. anonymous
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    Oct 20th 2016 report

    it's about drugs, fools. These guys are too deep to sing about one night stands. Leave that for the hair bands

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 19th 2016 report

    I used to be a huge Supertramp fan when this album was popular. I was a teenager and never thought about lyrics at all. Today, someone posted a picture of "Libby" (the lady on the cover), as she is today, and tagged me on FB. Realizing I hadn't listened to this album since I was a teen, I dug it out and listened from start to finish.

    Wow! I never realized how much Rick Davies was pissed at Roger Hodgson. The last two tracks (Casual Conversation and Child of Vision) were dead give aways. As history recalls, Roger left Supertramp after their follow up studio album. He probably would have left sooner if "Breakfast" wasn't a mammoth success.

    The album pans out like a guy dealing with a breakup. Goodbye Stranger was the 3rd track on the album, and it starts off with the sting of having his longest Supertramp partner wanting to leave. Goodbye Stranger was his first reaction to the news, i.e., "goodbye a**hole, it's been nice". Most of Rick's subsequent songs were about being stressed out (Gone Hollywood, Just Another Nervous Wreck). His last song, and the penultimate tune, "Casual Conversation", is about acceptance. The song ends with "Should be sad, but I really believe that I'm glad".

  13. anonymous
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    Mar 11th 2016 report

    The song is actually about being educated but not being encouraged to lexplore/learn who we are as individuals. We are socialized in an illusional facade which is school in our youth and then thrown into the world to find out own way. It speaks about soul searching and the need for it to feel complete. The life of the author is portrayed in a follow your own path, find your own worth and incorporate what knowledge you have learned through education, both instructional and social. The youth is finding out about who he is and thus "goodbye stranger" as he becomes more conscious of who he is, why he is such, what he believes, what he has experienced and realizes that those formative years were only an illusion in comparison with the immensely disillusioned adult world. The search is one each must travel alone mere interaction with others brings relief of physical needs but not spiritual as that is every humans missing piece in the search and it is much easier to look outward than in. But in the end love of self is the only way one can prevail. Calhoun,TM

  14. anonymous
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    Apr 10th 2015 report

    I have wondered if this song might be about me, Maryjane,I met someone in a traveling band,we were writing songs together one night or speaking about it.If this is so we met in Gering Ne.He was playing at the Oregon Trail restaurant and Lounge.

  15. anonymous
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    Aug 21st 2014 report

    I agreed with all of the other posted meanings, but then Robin Williams died and I was listening to this song and it seems to be fitting on so many levels. That's why a great song is a great song, ever changing and always relevant.

  16. anonymous
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    Nov 19th 2013 report

    I think it is so stupid the drug references people make because of "Mary" and "Jane" ever think they simple just women's names that flow well in a song?! It's obviously about one-nighters and the R&R lifestyle, and perhaps his nonchalance to those that may judge him.,,,Oh, ha, I like your interpretation of ""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" I always interpreted that as if the woman is going to go hysterical or not when he takes off...but I think you're right, some people just want to hang out, not necessarily sleep with you, but yeah, I bet most are like, "Might just as well" :-)

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