The jingle jangle morning…

Congratulations to Bob Dylan!

At last – a Nobel Prize for Literature winner I’ve heard of! An inspired and inspirational choice by the Nobel people – Bob Dylan is surely one of the greatest poets of the last century and it’s great to see his song lyrics being rightly recognised as a form of literature.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
.
Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
.
Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
.

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too
Outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl

Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
I was layin’ in bed
Wondrin’ if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bank book wasn’t big enough
And I was standin’ on the side of the road
Rain fallin’ on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues
Gettin’ through
Tangled up in blue

Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Whatever colors you have in your mind
I’ll show them to you and you’ll see them shine.
.
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile
His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
And you’re the best thing that he’s ever seen.
.
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he’s standing in front of you.
.
Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead
I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead.
.
Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow
.
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there ain’t no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you
.
Shadows are fallin’ and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep and time is runnin’ away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.
.
Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writin’ what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.
.
Well, I’ve been to London and I been to gay Paris
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.
.
I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m movin’ but I’m standin’ still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear the murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there.
.
bob-dylan

28 thoughts on “The jingle jangle morning…

  1. Some of my personal favourites: ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’, ‘Shelter from the Storm’, ‘Spanish is the Loving Tongue’, ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’, ‘Sara’… I love that Dylan won a Nobel Prize!

    • Good choices! That’s the thing about Dylan though – there’s so many brilliant ones, it’s quite hard to pick favourites. I’m delighted – so often with the Nobel I’ve never even heard of the person… 😀

    • It’s great! So often I’ve never even heard of the Nobel winner, but Dylan is, as you say, so much a part of the culture. Even people who don’t think of themselves as Dylan fans or ever listen to his albums will know many of his songs just because they get played so often.

    • I’ve grown to love his voice over the years, and I love the way it has changed as he’s aged. But it’s the words that really do it for me. He’s one of the people whose songs I most often murder as I wash the dishes…

  2. I venture to guess that all those people who attempt to read all the Nobel winners will have an easy time getting through Dylan. I give you a point for your argument that we finally have a winner who is known to most people. (And I like his lyrics, too.) But I can’t help but feel that this has moved the Literature Prize a bit closer to the Nobel Peace Prize, which I have a hard time taking seriously when I look at some of the winners of the past years.

    • Haha, I certainly will, that’s for sure! I must admit I don’t really take the Nobel seriously usually – it’s so often given for political reasons rather than literary ones – Solzhenitsyn, Churchill etc. I’ve gone off Boris Johnson bigtime recently, but I did laugh at his comment justifying why Churchill deserved his place as much as anyone…

      “As for his amazing achievement in winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is conventional to treat this as a joke, an embarrassing attempt by the Swedes to make up for their neutrality in the war. Even relatively sympathetic historians such as Peter Clarke have dismissed the possibility that there was any merit involved. “Rarely can an author’s writings have received less attention than the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953,” he says. This is not just a little bit snooty, but surely untrue. Look at the list of Nobel winners in the last century – avant-garde Japanese playwrights, Marxist-Feminist Latin Americans, Polish exponents of the Concrete Poem. All of them are no doubt meritorious in their way but many of them are much less read than Churchill.”

      So I’m rather cheered by them selecting Bob Dylan! 😉

  3. Amazing news. Dylan may be the best writer of his generation, AND the one whose work is best known to the most people. That’s a rare combination. Bravo to the Nobel Committee.

    • Yes, great decision! So well deserved – he really inspired more than one generation of songwriters, and poets I suspect, not to mention giving so much pleasure to so many of us around the world. And so nice to wake up to some good news for once…

  4. A great decision by the Nobel Committee – I wonder how long it will take the artsy chatterati to rubbish it. I bet far more people in the world can quote and appreciate Dylan than they do many previous winners!

    • About 3 minutes, I expect! But I suspect it’ll prove to be the most popular decision the Nobel people have ever made with regards to literature. So nice to see recognition that just because something’s popular doesn’t mean it’s not literary!

  5. I’m glad the Nobel Committee opted to bestow honors on somebody we ALL recognize! I mean, song lyrics of course are literature. They speak for the times and the masses. And most of us can “quote” lyrics way easier than we can the printed page (sad to say, for us writers!). So Bravo!!

    • Yes, indeed – he’s always been a poet and not just a lyricist, and he’s inspired so many other people, writers or not! And boy, do we need some good news at the moment to cheer us all up! Hurrah! 😀

  6. I’ve just spent some considerable moments revisiting with pleasure your Dylan clips (and discovering Oliver Thompson, Ferry’s young guitarist, along the way, which also necessitated a review of Jimi H’s Watchtower version). Dylan is a poet of our times, his edgy allusions have echoed for me since my teens and still have as much power as they did then.

    • I loved the guitar on the Ferry version! I actually grew into Dylan – I wasn’t much of a fan back in my youth but as an adult I’ve learned to appreciate him more and more. I think it was a great decision really – he’s such a fundamental part of the culture of the second half of the 20th century, it would be hard to imagine a world without him, whether a fan or not. His songs are almost a historical perspective on the period…

  7. Let’s hear it for Lenny…….(just pips Dylan in this house) But then, I’ve never been to a Dylan concert, and I HAVE a Lenny one. And, since we are moving to Canada, aren’t we, FF? – championing a Canadian is a good move too!

    • I was thinking about Lenny myself yesterday, though I don’t know his stuff very well. And I think that may be the difference – somehow Dylan has pervaded the whole culture in a way that the others haven’t. I was thinking about Bowie too, but (for me) his later stuff didn’t match up to his earlier, whereas some of Dylan’s late stuff is just as great as his early. I make an exception for Bowie’s last album which I think shows a lot of his former greatness…

  8. PS – thank you SO MUCH for printing lyrics, helpfully letting me know that for decades I have been singing along to the washing up with the wrong words to Lay Lady Lay. I would have bet money on it being – lay across my big breast bare! Ha ha! Images of the rather elfin Dylan with suddenly massive pecs always seemed a bit confusing, and it never occurred to me that there was a large brass bed involved

    • Hahaha! This could explain why (without wishing to be rude) Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature and… you didn’t! However I have nominated you for next year’s Nobel Prize for Mild Erotica…

      • Thank you for my nomination. I can hardly wait for the short list to be announced. It must run in the family…..my mother idly wondered why on earth some books were described as paper bag books, and who were these writers a famous Beatles’ song referred to, who wrote those paper bag books. Mis-hearing lyrics gives interesting meaning to songs, sometimes improving them. I rather grew to like the idea of Dylan’s manly chest, in days before Rafa won the manly chest awards

        • Hahaha! Like mother, like daughter indeed! I rarely remember the words of songs so I just make up my own as I go along. My mother was an inveterate la-la-la-er and I think I’ve inherited that. But at least she could hold a tune – my songs start out strongly on the first line and then begin to horribly wrong quite quickly… Yes, I think we should get up a petition for Dylan to wear shorts at his next concert…

      • Hahaha! I think a few of us are going to be singing these new “improved” lyrics in future – we should really write to him and tell him he’s been getting it wrong all these years… 😉

    • That’s the thing about Dylan – nearly everyone counts at least one of his songs amongst their favourites, I think. And as Owen showed, he’s appreciated by young people just as much as by… ahem… the more mature.

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