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"Goodbye Stranger" is a song by the English rock band Supertramp, which first appeared on their sixth studio album, Breakfast in America (1979). Despite being met with only limited success in the UK, it was a major hit elsewhere, even a Top 20 hit in USA and Canada, reaching number 15 and 6 respectively.

Context and meaning[edit | edit source]

The song features two voices, representing two protagonists, sung by Rick Davies in the verses and Roger Hodgson in the choruses. It tells a story of the two protagonists leaving each other, and the end of their relationship.

During the writing of Breakfast in America, the group's main writers, Davies and Hodgson, had trouble communicating and had several disagreements:[1]


This influenced several songs:[1]


This resonates with some of the songs' lyrics, such as these from "Goodbye Stranger":


Some other parts of the lyrics might be references to very specific experiences the two shared, such as the "Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane", a common reference to marijuana, possibly being a reference to the event in 1972 when Davies refused to experience LSD with Hodgson, which the latter considers for himself to have been a mind-opening and life-changing experience, and which was one of the earliest points of disagreement between the two artists.[1]

Music video[edit | edit source]

In the music video, the band plays the track on a soundstage.Template:Citation needed Rick Davies is playing a Wurlitzer electric piano, Roger Hodgson and Dougie Thomson are playing their guitars (Hodgson on electric, Thomson on bass), John Helliwell is playing keyboards and Bob Siebenberg is playing drums and percussion.Template:Citation needed

Cover versions[edit | edit source]

  • The song was covered by Lili Haydn on her Goodbye Stranger EP (2007, Nettwerk Music Group)

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

  • It featured in the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati during the episode "Baby, If You Ever Wondered".
  • It was included on the 1999 soundtrack to Magnolia album, along with "The Logical Song", Supertramp's previous single on the Billboard singles charts.
  • The American TV series Supernatural has an episode named after the song, which features it prominently during the closing scene.
  • A parody of the song, called "Goodbye, Toby", was featured in the 4th season finale of The Office, sung by Michael Scott (Steve Carell) sarcastically to send off Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein).[2]
  • The song was featured in the Tonya Harding biographical film I, Tonya in the scene where Tonya Harding finally leaves her husband, Jeff Gilooly.
  • The song was used in the Trailer of the AppleTV+ Series TheMorningShow

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (1979) Peak
Canadian RPM Singles Chart[3] 6
New Zealand Singles Chart[4] 40
UK Singles Chart[5] 57
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[6] 15
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary[7] 32

Personnel[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Kids


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