One of the greatest pieces of modern improvisational storytelling occurs in a live version of this Tragically Hip song performed on May 5, 1991 at The Roxy in Los Angeles. Widely reknowned as the double suicide version. In the lyrics below, everything in italics is as told by Gord Downie (front man and lead singer of The Hip), and was made up on the spot. The non-italicized lyrics appear on their self-titled 1987 release. Various MP3's of the live version are floating around the internet.

Highway Girl

Well I'm going down to see my Highway Girl.
Yeah, she just got back from around the world.
I'm gonna get me a gun, I'm gonna stand on guard
In a little white booth in her front yard.

Throwing rocks at her window, what could she do?
If you throw enough rocks one might break through
Well she looked out her window when the police came
Yeah, to see a big tin man dancing in the rain.

Ohhhhhhhhh, my little Highway Girl.
Ohhhhhhhhh, my little Highway Girl.

Yeah...


She had a beautiful apartment.
She had a beautiful apartment.

Well, actually it was a lousy apartment, but she -- she's very handy with her hands and she's got Architectural Digest magazine, so she knows what she's doing.

She likes to decorate her apartment in the Santa Fé tradition. I told her it was dated, but I see more of the world than she does.

She got an apartment where the property was cheap. Next to the freeway. She said, "I save lots of money, but I lose lots of sleep. In my apartment where the property is so cheap."

And we'd laugh, and we'd laugh, and we'd laugh.

Oh, we'd take pot-shots at the passing cars.

And we'd laugh. Oh, we were dumping the body and we'd laugh. We found a place that was dark and rotten. A place where the police helicopters would never spot it. I destroyed the map that we'd so carefully plotted.

Every day we're dumping a body, she and me. Every single day. And we'd laugh about it.

That's when I knew it was time that we'd both kill ourselves, together. Together, we were nothing but a menace. Apart, we were nothing but lonely.

I read too much, I thought we should kill ourselves. She doesn't read a thing; she believed me. "Are you really the messiah?" "Yes, I am." She was younger than me, too. She was younger than me. And I said to her. I said, "You know, Pauline? No-one stamps on a burning bag of shit any more. Nobody."

Are you really the messiah? Yes, I am. Believe it.

So we, uh, we opted to kill ourselves, as I said. But we had but one rifle, and one bullet, so I told her to put her head down next to the barrel. And to put the barrel sort-of into her mouth. And I'd be right behind her, with my head right behind hers.

And I said her life would end instantly, mine might have a few extra minutes of agony and suffering. She couldn't pull the trigger, so we attached a string to it, ran it around the lamp to the doorknob. The first person to enter our cheap, fucking apartment would blow both our heads off.

And we got, we got to thinking. We changed our minds, you know? We got scared, and, uh, we kind of chickened out. And we laughed, you know? We laughed a little. What were we thinking? We're not -- together, we're not that bad, we don't -- we're not that bad; we don't need to kill ourselves. We don't need to kill ourselves.

And then the D train rattled overhead, and knocked the joor a, the door ajar, the joor adar, the door ajar, the jar a door, the door ajar.

And oh -- the faulty lock -- the door swung open!

And killed her.



And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


I said, "Don't you think babe you push a bit too fast?"
I said, "slowing down don't make it last"
"Yeah," she said, "a memory's never gonna set you free
Ohhhhh, go out and see that world and bring it home to me."

Ohhhhhhhhh, my little Highway Girl.
Ohhhhhhhhh, my little Highway Girl.

The Tragically Hip, The Tragically Hip, 1987

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