Sign on the Window

This song reads more like a fragment than a completed song. There seem to be some missing verses. My take is that the narrator’s girlfriend has run off to California with his best friend, leaving him alone and desolate, standing in the rain on Main Street. The final verse speaks of the peaceful country-simple life he yearns to live with a virtuous woman (unlike the bitch that dumped him).

Sign on the Window is yet another song on New Morning that claims that the key to contentment is to be a family man living in the country. Michael Gray notes that this pose is “unconvincing in his art”. I agree.

Is the girl in question – “Brighton girls are like the moon” – from Brighton, England, or Brighton Beach, Brooklyn? Dylan has played many shows in Brighton, England, but is also familiar with Brighton Beach.

Clinton Heylin, in Revolution in the Air, calls it an overlooked masterpiece and notes that it contains his best piano playing. I agree, it is an excellent example of Dylan’s ability to craft a precisely beautiful pop song.

The song is written in G flat, a key with a whooping six flats. Dylan likes the black keys of the piano. He said:

One the piano, my favorite keys are the black keys…The songs that go into those keys right from the piano, they sound different. They sound deeper…Everything sounds deeper in those black keys.

Wilfred Meller (Darker Shade of Pale) notes that the song “wobbles away” from G Flat major. which suggests that the singer has his doubts about this idealistic life he seems to crave. Hum.

Another version of the song includes a lot of orchestration. See below. Ok, I guess, but I prefer the album version.

The song was used in the final scene of the 2002 season finale of Friends.

Never played live.



Sign on the window says “Lonely”
Sign on the door said “No Company Allowed”
Sign on the street says “Y’ Don’t Own Me”
Sign on the porch says “Three’s A Crowd”
Sign on the porch says “Three’s A Crowd”

Her and her boyfriend went to California
Her and her boyfriend done changed their tune
My best friend said, “Now didn’ I warn ya
Brighton girls are like the moon
Brighton girls are like the moon”

Looks like a-nothing but rain . . .
Sure gonna be wet tonight on Main Street . . .
Hope that it don’t sleet

Build me a cabin in Utah
Marry me a wife, catch rainbow trout
Have a bunch of kids who call me “Pa”
That must be what it’s all about
That must be what it’s all about

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