Prine, John - Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard Lyrics

The last time that I saw her
She was standing in the rain
With her overcoat under her arm
Leaning on a horsehead cane
She said "Carl, take all the money"
She called everybody Carl
"My spirit's broke"
"My mind's a joke,"
"And getting up's real hard"

Don't you know her
When you see her?
She grew up
In your back yard
Come back to us
Barbara Lewis
Hare Krishna

Selling bibles at the airports
Buying Quaaludes on the phone
Hey, you talk about
A paper route
She's a shut in without a home
God save her, please
She's nailed her knees
To some drugstore parking lot
Hey, Mr. Brown
Turn the volume down
I believe this evening's shot


Can't you picture her next Thursday?
Can you picture her at all?
In the Hotel Boulderado
At the dark end of the hall
I gotta shake myself and wonder
Why she even bothers me
For if heartaches were commercials
We'd all be on T.V.


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Prine, John Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard Comments
  1. Leo Fedigan

    So if heartaches were commercials we’d all be on tv.

  2. Leo Fedigan

    She called everybody Carl.

  3. Marie White

    This song makes a lot of sense to me! I used to sing it a lot when my daughter was caught up in a cult with "The Rama". I used to long for her to "come back to us" and finally she did.

  4. Reno Faoro

    They played this alot on AOR stations in the mid 70s.

  5. Happy Old Man

    Just about the most moving song I know. Wonderful to hear John Prine sing it back when his voice still had an occasional snarl in it.

  6. Ron Spivey

    My favorite line in my history of the awareness of songwriting.....If Heartaches Were Commercials We’ed All Be On TV. Thank you John Prine.

  7. minot60

    Barbara Lewis was my maiden name. When I first heard about this song, I wondered if someone was looking for me. But I think I would have remembered John Prine.

  8. rick blackford

    prine always puts into words the feelings I can almost understand.

  9. lilgreenthumb1

    sounds like most hippies!lol!

  10. Beez Trapp

    This song is not obtuse if you've lived something similar.

  11. Bill Dumas

    This makes more than just sense to those who were 'there' in the late 60's/early 70' was the way the hippie culture was back then. Barbara wasn't crazy, she was just knee deep in the hippie hoopla. Her type, both male and female, were everywhere. Many were small town folks, like 'Barbara' from ordinary neighborhoods, who went to the city wanting to experience the new, cool, and exciting hippie scene...the look, the dope, the communes, some went the Hare Krishna way like 'Barbara', there were some burn-outs like 'Barbara'', folks thumbing on the road with backpacks all over America, etc. I was one of them. I travelled from Tn. to the Sunset Strip which was the Los Angeles version of the Haight-Asbury in the summer of 1969 which was its way to explain the surreality of the scene. Those were strange days and life was one big psychedelic experiment. There is no way to explain it to those who are not old enough to have been there. Those that weren't try to imagine and get a distorted view. It was an interesting cultural bubble that existed for a while and then went away. For decades those who weren't there have wished to return or recreate the day, but that is impossible, because everyone back then was caught up in a spirit that can't be replicated. Everything about the scene was original and spontaneous...this is another reason that it can't be replicated. To a very great extent, it was the psychedelics that made the era what it was. When the folks left that behind, original hippiedom began to faded away. By the late 70's it was mostly in the rearview mirror...except for the hangers-on and the wannabees. There will always be those who try to live off of the fumes of those times, though. Some reading this know exactly what I mean.

    Sylvia Pesek

    Bingo. (( <3 ))

  12. Patti Vucci

    what do you mean it makes no sense? it makes all the sense in the world...

  13. Matthew Quinn

    We all know Barbara Lewis. Casualty in the search for self. Hard to find the spot on which your standing, like seeing the back of your reflection. God save us please or click your heels together three times.


    Astute .. hope all is well.

  14. ananda1958

    OK guys .... John Prine has actually talked about this song.  It is about the people during the late 60s/early 70s drug/hippy culture who didn't make it to California, but settled in Colorado.  I'm from Lawrence Kansas which was also a stop on the trail between coasts back in the day, and I am old enough to remember Quaaludes by the jar and have a "back in the day" lol I hate it when 20 somethings use that phrase.  Although it sounds like someone stuck in addiction, it's more about a generation that kinda got left behind.  I looked up this song because after a recent illness I am on a cane and kept remembering this song.  I love Michelle's comment because this song is about "lost souls".  John Prine is a great American poet and inspires me daily.  Someday in your future you may be the remnant of a generation who starts to suffer the normal aging process and becomes your own kind of Barbara Lewis.  I think people seem to be very afraid to aknowledge that as a human being we all will start to loose our faculties mind and body at some point.  And the young mostly don't seem to want to see the reality of how that plays out.

    Leanne Farkas

    That's an amazing story, I never knew and always wonder about some of the stories behind his lyrics! A true classic artist, he touches all souls for sure!

    Richard Ormsby

    Barbara Lewis

    Sandy Davis

    Mmm... I can woodcarve you a horse head cane ! Actually, I'm serious.


    Just about everytime I listen to John I seem to have forgotten just how beautiful a soul he is .. one of the joys of turning 70 is the songs always sound so fresh to me .. after all these years his message is clearer .. and never more needed .. you never have to look far to find his soul in most everything he does .. Namaste ..

    Buddy Rogers

    @ Ananda 1958 - Agreed, but I think you are overlooking the significance of "Barbara Lewis". This wasn't just any name he picked at random. Lewis was a popular singer in the early to mid-1960s who had a huge hit with "Hello Stranger" in 1963. Her career got lost soon after the real 1960s began with the Kennedy assassination on Nov 22, 1963 and the Beatles breaking on the radio a month later. It can not be denied everything changed after that.
    Using Lewis and this song, Prine is citing the period in time to just before the 60s revolution began and lamenting how everyone and everything had radically changed in the manner you cited. There was also a feeling by the over-30s, whom we were told not to trust, who'd get a hold of us, give us "a talk", then say; "I think I talked some sense into the kid."

    Hello Stranger - Barbara Lewis

    Hello, stranger
    (ooh) It seems so good to see you back again
    How long has it been?
    (ooh, seems like a mighty long time)
    (shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh)
    It seems like a mighty long time
    Oh-uh-oh, I my, my, my, m
    I'm so glad
    You stopped by to say "hello" to me
    Remember that's the way it used to be
    Ooh, it seems like a mighty long time
    (shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh)
    I'm so glad you're here again
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby
    If you're not gonna stay
    (ooh) Please don't treat me like you did before
    Because I still love you so a-a-although
    It seems like a mighty long time
    Shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby, ooh
    It seems like a mighty long time
    Oh-uh-oh, I my, my, my, my
    I'm so happy that you're here again
    (shoo-bop, shoo-bop, my baby)

  15. Phillip McCunty

    It makes plenty of sense if you "Intende la onda".I`m not gonna sit and explain the whole diatribe to a bunch of ingrates for free. Suffice it to sy, it invovles reincarnation, etc. and makes beacoup sense. Like the "Hotel Boulderado", might sound like a made-up name and I can just establish myself as an internet authority and say that`s what it is but then Cl Cooper(see below) 3 years ago, saYS IT`S REAL and THEY STAYED THERE etc. But then He/she'also is living in the delusion that Boulder is in the Mid- West. So maybe it`s actually in Omaha, or Ames, Iowa. We don`tr know how much of their story to believe when they seem to be impervious to the fact that Boulder,Co. is in the western Rockies. Even though it`s not right on a Mountain top like Aspen or Frisco. It`s not yet the Mid-west although perhaps another 100 miles Eastward and you would be in the Mid-West indeed. Furthermore, with legalized MaRyjeehoochie and A gazillion Local Micro-brews form there,nearby Denver, or Fort Collins, It`s as much of a Hateful ASHBY AS IT EVER WAS!!!
    Anyway if we were to interview John prine, aND DISCOVER HIS INTENT we would see that it is indeed a, kitchy,campy, little ditty that actually has a lot of meaning!!

    SO THERE!!

  16. Phillip McCunty

    Always did love this song!!!

  17. Michelle Sullivan

    This song makes complete & total sense to me, John Prine nailed it! This is one of my top 10 fave songs ever. My oldest sister is bi-polar/schizophrenic. 'Everyone' is the enemy. My sister is 'Barbara'. I play this song when I think of her, my sister is afraid of everyone. THIS song is my pseudo homage to my oldest sister, John speaks with his lyrics and tries to explain the difficulties of mental illness. Listen to it again please. It is
    a world of understanding & empathy that he speaks. If you 'don't get it'- F off, sorry, you are spoiled .... you need to live & experience things that don't always go your way.

    Charles Decelle

    +Michelle Sullivan mke sense to me......

    Phillip McCunty

    You`re an A^&*($! Michelle. If you are old enough to know of this song and your sister is that much older and you can only pay "PSEUDO "

    C A Campbell

    Thank you Michelle! 🌟❤️👍💪
    Hadn't heard or thought of this song for decades.
    But lost connection with someone in tremendous pain today and the grief is great.
    The chorus popped into my mind but my record (vinyl) and record player are looong gone.
    Was so relieved to find the song after a long search on YouTube! 🎆🎉💃🎈
    Dismayed by the description; comforted by your understanding. ❤️

    marcus norton

    You should probably read what John Prine himself had to say about it in the book that comes with the “Great Days” album set.It just doesn’t go that deep according to his account of it.Why do you have to claim it for your screwed up sister?


    Don't be a tool, Michelle. Sometimes it takes a lot of analysis to understand lyrics, and even then we can still be wrong. Explain your theory and don't assume people are fools because they didn't come to the same conclusion as you, because then you come off as the spoiled brat.

  18. Don Squires

    Don't you know her,,,when you see her..?

  19. DealReal12

    Will never forget Bonnie singing this with John at the old Capitol Theatre in Passaic,NJ and the look of ABSOLUTE JOY in BOTH their EYES!They LOVED each other and WE LOVED THEM BOTH and we STILL DO FOREVER!

  20. ncmps

    Great song. That's Bonnie Raitt on the background vocals.

    C A Campbell

    Thanks. Wasn't sure! Some other great musicians there too!!!

  21. gulfwinds94

    Makes no sense? You have missed the meaning of this song in every way. It's about the struggles of addiction.

    robbin bazinet

    really think you missed it on that one

  22. Gerry McCarthy

    "If heartaches were commercials we'd all be on TV" -- JP, 1970s. Now they are, and we are. Prescient or what?

    Jerome Taperman

    Gerry McCarthy - One of the greatest song lyrics ever written. Sheer poetry!

  23. ananrth

    I remember the Hare Krishna folks and selling Bibles at the airport in Albuquerque - don't know about the Quaaludes

  24. honkpimpie

    I so envy you. JP is one of my favorites and his latest collaborations with Iris Dement just make me love him more. He's an icon and I hope he outlives me.

  25. rabismenow

    how can you say this song makes no sense?

  26. Cl Cooper

    I grew up in Boulder, CO. The Hotel Boulderado is (was) in Boulder, CO. Boulder was the "Haight/Ashbury" of the mid-west in the '60's and '70's. If you were "there" in the late '60's and '70's the entire song makes absolutely perfect sense. Love the song, and most of Prine's work.

  27. Ron Swanson

    This makes perfect sense to anyone who went to a public grade school in Chicago.

  28. nickd444

    from what i understand this is about one of those proverbial 1960's born-again hippy pilgrims from the east coast who grew their hair out and tryied to get to California where the action was - and then giving up somewhere half-way and burning the rest of the candle down out there in the middle of nowhere. perhaps its about crossing paths with such a person from the perspective of the ones who didn't buy into flower power or outgrew it.

  29. MrBuckwilliam

    common sense is such a great album, thanks for sharing this song
    can you possibly upload He Was in Heaven Before He Died and or Way Down? or maybe even the whole album... :)

  30. Linskterlink

    cant believe this shit only has 2000 views.... UNCOUTH

  31. Debby Gunnell

    My spirit's broke; my mind's a joke, and getting up's real hard. I can identify with that.

  32. gulfwinds94

    makes perfect sense

  33. ananrth

    makes a lot of sense to those of us who remember the hare krishna peak and qualudes -

  34. vmarkhills

    my favorite of john's, and i like em all

  35. Marcia Hess

    Always a favorite of mine. Makes plenty of sense. Born in '51 lots of friends went through some scary changes. John's reaching out as always.

  36. jayX

    @BluesBrothersGirl - why do you say this song makes no sense ? :( It is a first person's recollection of the title character.

  37. Geraldine Campbell

    Love it !

  38. Marty Carducci

    The last time I saw her, she was standing in the rain. With her overcoat under her arms. Leaning on a horse head cane.....

    Say that when someone asks if you've 'seen' someone. lol.

  39. grizzjames

    One of my favorite John Prine songs