At the press meeting when Breakfast In America was presented, Roger Hodgson explained that this song is about a guy who thinks he's really cool ("So you think you're a Romeo playing a part in a picture-show"), but it seems that he's the only one who thinks that. This implies that our hero avoids getting home because when he's on the road he has a few more moments of being alone with his dreams, and in his dreams he's a superstar.
Written shortly before Supertramp went in the studio to record the Breakfast In America album, Hodgson said the song was "a last-minute surprise." He added that the song operates on two levels. Said Roger: "Talking about not wanting to go home to the wife, take the long way home to the wife because she treats you like part of the furniture, but there's a deeper level to the song, too. We all want to find our home, find that place in us where we feel at home. Home is in the heart and that is really, when we are in touch with our heart and we're living our life from our heart, then we do feel like we found our home."
More lyric analysis:
"But there are times that he feels he's part of the scenery, all the greenery is comin' down" - It seems that in real life he's "the joke of the neighborhood" ("why should you care if you're feeling good" is him trying to rationalize) and his wife "seems to this that he's a part of the furniture." In real life he "never sees what he wants to see."
"When he's up on the stage, it's so unbelievable, unforgettable, how they adore him. And then his wife seems to think he's losing his sanity... Does it feel that you life's become a catastrophe? Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy." - This is the phase of our lives when we accept the fact that we'll never be what we wanted and become ordinary, we take it very hard, but we grow into it.
"He looks through the years and see what he could have been, what might have been, if he'd had more time." - Time is always to blame when we want to do something, but don't. This guy always wanted to be someone, but he got stuck taking the long way home so now it's even difficult for him being ordinary: "So, when the day comes to settle down, Who's to blame if you're not around? You took the long way home." (thanks, Harry - Netanya, MO)
The band refused a $5 million offer from the Greyhound company to use this song in bus commercials. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA)
Roger Hodgson's debut solo DVD was titled Take the Long Way Home, Live in Montreal. It was released in Canada in 2006, where it went to #1 and sold over a million copies. The DVD was released worldwide in 2007 and is Gold in France.
"Take The Long Way Home" has endured as a favorite: it was chosen as the #5 favorite song in Mojo magazine's readers' poll in 2006.