The Band

About Ophelia

"Ophelia" is a song written by Robbie Robertson that was first released by The Band on their 1975 album Northern Lights – Southern Cross. It was the lead single from the album. It has also appeared on several of the group's live and compilation albums, and has been covered by such artists as Vince Gill and My Morning Jacket.


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Boards on the window
Mail by the door
What would anybody leave so quickly for?
Where have you gone?

The old neighborhood just ain't the same
Nobody knows just what became of
Tell me, what went wrong

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I'd die for you

Ashes of laughter
The ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear
Like Ophelia
Please darken my door

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I'd die for you

They got your number
Scared and running
But I'm still waiting for the second coming
Of Ophelia
Come back home

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The Band

The Band were a Canadian-American roots rock group that originally consisted of Rick Danko (bass guitar, double bass, fiddle, trombone, vocals), Levon Helm (drums, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Garth Hudson (keyboard instruments, saxophones, trumpet), Richard Manuel (piano, drums, baritone saxophone, vocals) and Robbie Robertson (guitar, vocals). The members of the Band first came together as they joined rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins's backing group, The Hawks, one by one between 1958 and 1963. more »

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Written by: Robbie Robertson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

12 facts about this song

Original Recording
The Band originally recorded "Ophelia" for their 1975 album “Northern Lights – Southern Cross."
Single Release
The song was released as a single in 1976, with "Acadian Driftwood" as the B-side.
Lead Vocals
Levon Helm, the drummer of The Band, also served as the lead vocalist for the "Ophelia" song.
Songwriting Credits
Robbie Robertson, the lead guitarist and primary songwriter from The Band, is credited with writing "Ophelia."
Sound Style
"Ophelia" is known for its New Orleans-style rhythm and blues sound, which is accentuated by the horn section on the recording.
Chart Performance
"Ophelia" was a moderate hit in the United States, peaking at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Live Performances
The Band performed "Ophelia" during their final concert in 1976, which was documented in the film and album "The Last Waltz."
Literature Influence
The name "Ophelia" in the song could be a reference to the character Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet, although there isn't a confirmed connection.
Cover Versions
Numerous artists, including the Lumineers and Vince Gill, have covered "Ophelia."
Use in Media
"Ophelia" has been used in a variety of media including films and television shows, most notably in the films “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “The Right Stuff.”
Over the years, "Ophelia" has remained one of The Band’s most popular songs because it showcases the group's ability to mix different genres like rock, soul, and country into deeply expressive music.
Music Video
The music video for "Ophelia" features footage from The Band's farewell concert "The Last Waltz" with the group performing alongside a horn section.

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    "Ophelia Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Dec. 2023. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/540375/The+Band/Ophelia>.

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