This grandiose anthem was Mott the Hoople's last single and lyrically appeared to be saying goodbye to their fans. However this was not the band's intention. Keyboardist Morgan Fisher explained to Mojo magazine May 2009: "While we were making it we didn't think it was about the end, which seems incredibly naïve now. For me, it was a summing up of what had happened so far, now we'll move on. That may have been Ian's take on it too, until it all went pear-shaped."
Frontman and lyricist Ian Hunter's take on the song's seemingly bidding farewell subject matter, was that it was "uncanny, because that was coming out of me before I even knew it was coming."
The song's failure to climb any higher than #41 in the UK charts was the clincher in the breakup of Mott the Hoople. It's failure caused a devastated Hunter to cancel a UK tour. He later told Pete Frame: "I thought that was the best single we ever did, and it frightened the life out of me when it didn't make it."
The lyrics are essentially a potted history of Mott the Hoople, from Sunday afternoons at the Roundhouse to platform boots and headlining on Broadway. Hunter insisted to Uncut magazine that the song wasn't deliberately conceived as an epitaph.
"It just turned out like that," he shrugged. "Songwriting is a shot in the dark. Sometimes your subconscious knows things that you don't. Looking back, you can't sing goodbye, goodbye, goodbye and not be thinking along those lines."