Goodnight Elisabeth

Album: Recovering The Satellites (1996)
Play Video


  • Adam Duritz wrote this lullaby for a girl he was seeing when Counting Crows started taking off, and he had to go on the road without her. They broke up after he went on tour and came home for Christmas, but Duritz wants her to know that she will always have a place in his heart. The lyric, "I'll wait for you in Baton Rouge, and I'll miss you down in New Orleans" refers to places he toured and times he spent wishing he was with her.
  • Duritz often uses the real names of people in his songs, sometimes changing them a bit. "Elisabeth" in this song is really a girl named Betsy. She also shows up in the 1999 Counting Crows song "I Wish I Was A Girl," where Duritz sings: "I wish for all the world that I could say, Hey, Elisabeth, you know I'm doing all right
    these days."

Comments: 5

  • Brian from Boston, MaThe critics were not big fans of Recovering the Satellites grant it this album was not as good as August and everything after but this is still a great album.Is there anyone today making music as good as this.Boy we were spoiled in the 90's so much good music by really good bands. Goodnight Elizabeth is just great songwritting.Wake me up if anyone comes out with an an album this good today
  • John from B-town, CaInteresting theories.. but the facts are more morbid then a breakup... this was a lover that over dosed on the big H. Duritz has never given the last or date. Goodnight is about laying elisabeth to rest-in a coffin full of flowers. Bad dreams, lost potential, physical yurning, Duritz nails it all. ( not as good as Naked as WE Came: I&W)
  • Karen from Los Angeles, CaI used to date this guy and he explained this song to me a bit differently. The explanation made me really like it.....So Adam Duritz used to date Courtney Cox and the song is about her. The way I understood it was they dated and split up. I think it had something to do with him being into drugs and what not. This was also at the time when Courtney Cox was becoming a huge actress from Friends and the Scream movies. So Elisabeth is a girl he dated while on tour after he and Courtney split. So all of the things like, "I hope that your ok, I hope your resting quietly" He's talking to Courtney.....but he wants to say "Goodnight Elisabeth" because he loves Elizabeth and he is with her, but he was in love with Courtney Cox and he will always love her. He wanting to be with her but he's with someone else. Yeah he is waiting for her in all these places but she's never gonna come. "I'll wait for you ( Courtney) as she slips in something comfortable (Elisabeth)" And all the while he's watching her become a huge star..."the Queen of California" like hollywood. His song recovering the satellites is about the same kind of thing, where she's such a big star like a satellite orbitting and he's wondering when she's gonna come back down to earth where he is. He talks about the satellite thing in this song too and about her coming back down to him. That's just the story that I's kind of abstract but I like it!
  • Cory from Maryville, TnYou thought it was sad because it is sad!

    The song is about Adam missing Elisabeth with all his heart. Let me break it down a little bit:

    "I was wasted in the afternoon
    Waiting on a train
    I woke up in pieces and Elisabeth had disappeared again"

    This describes what he is doing. Drinking and blotting out the memory of Elisabeth, who left him. You could think of it as him drinking to forget her and then he falls asleep and dreams of her (wakes up in pieces), but she is still gone.

    "I wish you were inside of me
    I hope that you're ok
    I hope you're resting quietly
    I just wanted to say
    Goodnight Elisabeth
    Goodnight Elisabeth"

    He wishes that she was still with him and that he could still feel the love for her and it not hurt. The rest should be self explanatory.

    "We couldn't all be cowboys
    So some of us are clowns
    Some of us are dancers on the midway
    We roam from town to town
    I hope that everybody can find a little flame
    Me, I say my prayers, then I just light myself on fire
    And I walk out on the wire once again"

    Every little boy dreams of being something great (a cowboy) but in reality we end up being something pointless (a clown). Adam is a clown that performs. He wants everyone to find love to give them meaning, but he just lights himself on fire to perform and get attention (its his job essentially).

    "I will wait for you in Baton Rouge
    I'll miss you down in New Orleans
    I'll wait for you while she slips in something comfortable
    And I'll miss you when I'm slipping in between
    If you wrap yourself in daffodils
    I will wrap myself in pain
    And if you're the queen of California
    Baby I am the king of the rain"

    He is saying he will always think of Elisabeth and miss her, but that doesn't stop him from doing things. He thinks of her when he is with other women (when she slips in something comfortable). He still wants her to be happy and wants her to be a friend (daffodils are a friendship flower), but it hurts him to think of it only being a friendship. She is happy without him (California is always sunny, so they say) and he is depressed without her (king of the the rain).

    The song is very sad and painful so you were right. Its a pretty, but sad song.
  • Charlie from Durham, EnglandI don't know why I always thought this was a really sad song... it's so pretty
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Concert Disasters

Concert DisastersFact or Fiction

Ozzy biting a dove? Alice Cooper causing mayhem with a chicken? Creed so bad they were sued? See if you can spot the real concert mishaps.

Michael Bolton

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

Hawksley Workman

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.

Taylor Dayne

Taylor DayneSongwriter Interviews

Taylor talks about "The Machine" - the hits, the videos and Clive Davis.

Maxi Priest

Maxi PriestSongwriter Interviews

The British reggae legend tells the story of his #1 hit "Close To You," talks about his groundbreaking Shabba Ranks collaboration "Housecall," and discusses his latest project with Robin Trower.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.