Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree

Album: Tuneweaving (1973)
Charted: 1 1
  • I'm comin' home, I've done my time
    Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
    If you received my letter telling you I'd soon be free
    Then you'll know just what to do
    If you still want me, if you still want me

    Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
    It's been three long years, do you still want me?
    If I don't see a ribbon round the ole oak tree
    I'll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me
    If I don't see a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

    Bus driver, please look for me
    'Cause I couldn't bear to see what I might see
    I'm really still in prison and my love, she holds the key
    A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free
    And I wrote and told her please

    Whoa, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
    It's been three long years, do you still want me?
    If I don't see a ribbon round the ole oak tree
    I'll stay on the bus, forget about us, put the blame on me
    If I don't see a yellow ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

    Now the whole damned bus is cheerin'
    And I can't believe I see

    A hundred yellow ribbons round the ole oak tree
    I'm comin' home

    Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
    Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
    Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree
    Tie a ribbon 'round the ole oak tree

Comments: 27

  • Andrew Knapp from South AfricaBob of the North - Love your reply and interpretation! It's made a bland song from my youth slightly more palatable!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1973 {June 10th} "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree" by Johnny Carver peaked at #5 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles* chart...
    Six days later on June 16th, 1973, "Yellow Ribbon" reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Country Singles chart...
    Between 1968 and 1981 the Jackson, Mississippi native had twenty eight records on the Hot Country Singles chart, four made the Top 10 with the above "Yellow Ribbon" being his biggest hit...
    Besides "Yellow Ribbon", his three other Top 10 records were "You Really Haven't Changed" {#6 in 1973}, "Don't Tell (That Sweet Ole Lady of Mine)" {#10 in 1974}, and "Afternoon Delight" {#9 in 1976}...
    He came close to having a fifth Top 10 record when his "Tonight Someone's Falling In Love" peaked at #12 in 1974...
    Johnny Carver will celebrate his 80th birthday in five months on November 24th, 2020...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the Hot Country Singles' Top 10 on June 10th, 1973:
    At #1. "Kids Say The Darndest Things" by Tammy Wynette
    #2. "Satin Sheets" by Jeanne Pruett
    #3. "You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)" by Johnny Rodriguez
    #4. "Don't Fight The Feelings of Love" by Charley Pride
    #5. the above "Yellow Ribbon"
    #6. "Sweet Country Woman" by Johnny Duncan
    #7. "Ravishing Beauty" by Tom T. Hall
    #8. "Send Me No Roses" by Tommy Overstreet
    #9. "What's Your Mama's Name" by Tanya Tucker
    #10. "Why Me" by Kris Kristofferson
  • Jb from Woodstock Georgia This song has a lot of missing details. For example, why does he not know where he stands, has she not been visiting him or writing him in jail? What offense did he commit? If it was spousal abuse, maybe she shouldn't take him back. And why does ge have to take a bus? Why didn't she or a family member pick him up?
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenBob from North, sorry you got cheated on, but the fellow in this song's story clearly did not.
  • Janice from Seymour TnTo Bob from North: I'm afraid you missed part of the lyrics and that has led to your misinterpretation: "Bus driver, please look for me". This indicates that the narrator told at least the bus driver about what he had directed his wife or girlfriend to do, and a reasonable implication to make, even if he was speaking only to the bus driver, is that others on the bus heard him. It's also reasonable to assume that, if he told the bus driver, he was not averse to telling others on the bus. That's how the other bus riders knew about it, and why they were cheering for him, and no, he doesn't stay on the bus and the relationship doesn't end. Not to mention the closing lyric: "I'm coming home".
  • Bob from NorthI can't believe how often this song is misinterpreted. The dude's on a bus, and he has confided a secret code with his old girlfriend - to tie a simple single yellow ribbon if she wants him. Instead, he comes around the corner, and begins cursing "the whole damned bus..." because his simple secret code failed. The whole damned bus is cheering because they all see their ribbons. So EITHER she acted unfaithfully and wants the whole busload of guys that she's been screwing around with, OR his clever plan to have a secret code failed because every guy on the bus has done the same thing with his girlfriend. Clearly the code has failed, and the guy has no clue what "is and isn't mine" at this point. So he stays on the bus, forgets about us, puts the blame on me. It's over. Song ENDS symbolic of the relationship ending.
  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiThe Vietnam POWs were released in Jan 1973 and I always associated this song with the Vietnam Vets coming home.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 21st 1973, Dawn* performed "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time it was in its first of four weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart nine weeks earlier and spent 23 weeks on the Top 100...
    As stated above; it reached #1, and also for 4 weeks, in the United Kingdom...
    In Canada, Johnny Carver's covered version peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on June 16th, 1973 on the RPM Country Tracks chart...
    * Later in 1973 in November the trio changed their name to Tony Orlando and Dawn.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkA great inspirational song & #1 hit from 1973. I love it whenever it's on any oldies radio play. I recall seeing many yellow ribbons tied around trees in that period of the record's release. And I even watched Tony Orlando & Dawn's TV variety show. A big, big #1 hit record!!!
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI guess "Oh, tie a white hanky 'round the ole oak tree" wouldn't have had as good a ring to it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWhen "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" was released the group's name was simply 'Dawn'; they were not known as Tony Orlando and Dawn until the release of "Who's in the Strawberry Patch with Sally" in November 1973..
  • Budoshi from Sandnessjøen, NorwayI sing to it whenever I hear it..
  • Miranda from Baltimore, MdChris from England makes it sound like John McCarthy got married to another woman as soon as he got off the plane from Beirut when in reality he and Jill Morrell were together for FOUR years after he was released before they mutually decided to split up. And it was another four years after they broke up before John married someone else.
  • Pat from Quezon City, PhilippinesWe Filipinos have an inspirational meaning for this song. This made an impact to our hearts during Marcos' regime, especially when Ninoy Aquino returned from prison, assasinated during his return from USA and during the Edsa people power 1.

    This song was also played thousand times during the funeral prosession of Ninoy's wife, President Cory Aquino.
  • Chris from Preston, EnglandWhen John McCarthy was held captive in Beirut his fiance Jill Morrell held a campaign and tied hundreds of yellow ribbons in his memory too pray for his release. When he was released he snubbed her and married someone else. I wonder if she still has a yellow ribbon and if she does whether she might like to strangle him with it!
  • Darrell from EugeneThis song was definitely popular when the War on Terrorism and the Iraq war started, and I hung yellow ribbons all over my property (even on my Shopsmith power tool)because I have a friend whose son went to Iraq with the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged as a sergeant and a war hero several years ago. Way to go, Ben.
  • Jim from Qinhuangdao, ChinaAnd probably tomorrow morning too.
  • Jim from Qinhuangdao, ChinaEvery time the last line comes up, a 100 yellow ribbons round the old oak tree, I think, "Whoa, someone's getting some tonight."
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyThis is really an urban legend. Pete Hamill wrote the New York Post article, based on a story told him by some college kids in Florida on spring break -- which was what Hamill was supposed to cover. The convict was supposedly on the bus that some of them rode down on. Interestingly, Hamill later wrote that he had correspondence from readers who said he had the details right but it happened soemwhere else. Everyone who wrote to Hamill claimed they were there and they knew the truth. So, I guess we will never know the full truth of the matter,or even if it ever really happened. That does not stop it from being a compelling song.
  • Ralph from Newton, MaActually the yellow ribbon in honor of soldiers off fighting goes back to the Civil War. Thus the Wayne movie. I always assumed this song was about a Vietnam war vet since it came out during the same time that the POW's were returning and yellow ribbons were being taken down as those they were put up to remember were coming gome.
  • John Hunt from Chicago, IlThis song was also anthem for the returning Vietnam Vets.
  • Kyle from Hampton Bays, Nymy father was in jail when he got out this ssong just came out so when it is one tha radio i will sing a long with him
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumThis is a very beautiful song, I always feel tears in my eyes at the end of the song, when he sees a hundred yellow ribbons round the old oak tree what means that the woman he loves is waiting for him and still loves him. A great love story with a happy end.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI love Tony Orlando and Dawn, but this song doesn't seem their style. I like Candida better.
  • Clarke from Pittsburgh, PaAmazing how one song can change our culture, even in a small way. At this moment there are "yellow ribbons" in many places, remembering our soldiers in Iraq.
  • Alex from New Orleans, LaMy grandmother tied a yellow ribbon on her car antennae to identify her car in crowded parking lots sometimes. Now that she died recently and the car was totaled,this song makes me cry
  • Deepak from India, Indiathis is one hell of a great song! i can listen to it the whole day long...its a lovely feeling to know someone may be waiting to see you...it is captured in this song!!
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