May 24, 2011

It’s Bob Dylan’s Birthday: Here are 27 of his most memorable lyrics.

In His Own Words…

If ya haven’t heard, May 24 is Bob Dylan’s birthday.

Such a momentous occasion is, of course, being celebrated throughout the newsmedia and blogosphere with lists of his “best” albums and songs, breeding, needless to say, all kinds of disagreement (I mean, come on, Rolling Stone, 70 selections and no “Song to Woody,” no “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later),” no “Caribbean Wind,” not one  song off Street Legal, for god’s sake?!).

Bypassing such silly controversy (seriously, who the hell cares what Bono’s favorite songs are?!), I thought I’d pay tribute to the great songsmith’s gift for words with…his words: twenty-seven (that’s ¼ of a yoga mala, y’know) memorable Dylan lines that I happened to think of while writing this, starting with one that couldn’t be more appropriate for a birthday.

“He not busy bein’ born is busy dyin’…” (It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding)

“What drives me to you is what drives me insane…” (Isis)

“May you always know the truth, and see the light surrounding you…” (Forever Young)

“She says, ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ I say, ‘You can’t? What do you mean,
you can’t? Of course you can…’” (Summer Days)

“If God is on our side, he’ll stop the next war…”  (With God on Our Side)

“Are you ready to risk it all, or is your love in vain?” (Is Your Love in Vain)

“Let me forget about today until tomorrow…” (Mr. Tambourine Man)

“There are many here among us, who feel that life is but a joke…” (All Along the Watchtower)

“I think we better talk this over, maybe we both get sober…” (We Better Talk This Over)

“I saw one man who was wounded in love, I saw another man who was wounded in hatred…” (A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall)

“I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now…” (My Back Pages)

“Whatever colors you have in your mind, I’ll show them to you, and you’ll see them shine…” (Lay Lady Lay)

“Don’t reach out to me, she said, can’t you see I’m drowning, too?”  (High Water (For Charlie Patton))

“Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king…” (Sweetheart Like You)

“I could make it without you if I just did not feel so all alone…” (Obviously 5 Believers)

“Shedding off one more layer of skin, keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within…” (Jokerman)

“She said your debutante just knows what you need, but I know what you want…” (Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again)

“A letter from mother came today, gunshot wound to the breast, is what it did say, but he’ll be better soon, he’s in a hospital bed, but he’ll never be better, he’s already dead…” (‘Cross the Green Mountain)

“Don’t follow leaders, but watch the parking meters…” (Subterranean Homesick Blues)

“All my fathers they come down, true love they’ve been without it, but all their daughters are puttin’ me down, ’cause I don’t think about it…” (I Want You)

“But I feel nothing for their game, where beauty goes unrecognized, all I feel is heat and flame, and all I see are dark eyes…” (Dark Eyes)

“I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, you’d know what a drag it is to see you…” (Positively 4th Street)

“I offered up my innocence, I got repaid with scorn…” (Shelter From the Storm)

“When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothing to lose…” (Like a Rolling Stone)

“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand…” (The Times They Are A’Changin’)

“I accept chaos. I am not sure whether it accepts me. I know some people are terrified of the bomb. But then some people are terrified to be seen carrying a modern screen magazine. Experience teaches us that silence terrifies people the most…” (liner notes, Bringing It All Back Home)

“Nothing is revealed…” (the Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest)

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