Tuesday Tunes: I Want to Write Like Bob Dylan

I realize today is Wednesday, but I thought of this idea on Tuesday and am going to start a new series called Tuesday Tunes.

This theme was inspired by Mimi at Waiting for the Karma Truck, who is one of my favorite blogger friends. Over the past week, Mimi’s blog has helped me reconnect to music, which has held a special place in my heart over the years. Mimi, thank you for the inspiration!

I lived in Austin, Texas for four years in my mid-twenties. I fell in love with singer-songwriters and spent many evenings in my late twenties listening to live music, frequently by myself. Music is better than chocolate for me.

I have lost much of my connection to music and do not get to see as much as I would like these days.

I have decided that my 40s are going to be about reconnecting with my more creative side and I hope to make reconnecting to music a big part of this decade. This is what has led to this Tuesday Tunes series.

Some songwriters have a gift for making stories come alive on the page or in a song. Those are the songs I hope to share here, maybe on a weekly basis, maybe just when the feeling hits me.

For me, few songwriters can tell a story like Bob Dylan. I heard this song on the radio yesterday and it inspired this series. My very favorite lines:

And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you

What do you think?
What are some of your favorite songlines or lyrics? I may end up featuring your favorite song in a future post if you let me know which songs you love.

Murano, Italy
Copyright JC Politi Photography

Tangled Up In Blue
Bob Dylan

Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wond’ring if she’d changed it 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 bankbook wasn’t big enough

And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues getting through
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first meet
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force

We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split it up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best

She turned around to look at me
As I was walking away
I heard her say over my shoulder
“We’ll meet again someday on the avenue”
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell

So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Working for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix

But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was working in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at her side of her face
In the spotlight so clear

And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name ?”

I muttered something underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
“I thought you’d never say hello” she said
“You look like the silent type”

Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century

And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air

Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside

And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue.

So now I’m going back again
I got to get her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now

Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter’s wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t what they’re doing with their lives

But me I’m still on the road
Heading for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in Blue.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

42 Comments

Filed under Culture, Music, Photography, Photos, Poetry, travel

42 responses to “Tuesday Tunes: I Want to Write Like Bob Dylan

  1. From the Greatest Love of all..Whitney Houston

    I believe the children are our future
    Teach them well and let them lead the way
    Show them all the beauty they possess inside
    Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
    Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

    Everybody’s searching for a hero
    People need someone to look up to
    I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
    A lonely place to be
    So I learned to depend on me

    [Chorus:]
    I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
    If I fail, if I succeed
    At least I’ll live as I believe
    No matter what they take from me
    They can’t take away my dignity
    Because the greatest love of all
    Is happening to me
    I found the greatest love of all
    Inside of me
    The greatest love of all
    Is easy to achieve
    Learning to love yourself
    It is the greatest love o

  2. Great stuff. I do love Dylan….(he’s a fellow Minnesotan, you know!)

    • I didn’t know!!! It’s official – I like those Minnesotans!

      • Yeah. He’s from the “Iron range” up in the Duluth area — beautiful country. Almost as beautiful as your part of the world! 🙂

        • P.S. A good friend of mine wrote a book about Bob Dylan titled “Song Of The North Country” that argues Dylan’s Minnesota roots color his “subjects, language,ideas, images, and metaphors.” Minnesotans would all agree, I suspect. But in any event, he is a masterful songwriter and the voice of the 60s as far as I can see. We need him now!!

  3. August McLaughlin

    Great post! I love the Indigo Girls’ lyrics, particularly to Watershed: “When you’re learning to face the path at your pace, every choice is worth your while…” The whole song rocks. 🙂

  4. I liked Dylan when I was younger, but the older I get, the more and more I appreciate his great gift for song writing and storytelling. He’s brilliant and such an inspiration.

    • I totally agree. I have always liked him, but some of his songs are like an entire novel in three minutes….what skill. And such depth and meaning. Thanks for your comment. I hope Ginger is doing better.

  5. Hands, by Jewel. One of her best inspirations♥

    If I could tell the world just one thing
    It would be that we’re all OK
    And not to worry ’cause worry is wasteful
    And useless in times like these

    I won’t be made useless
    I won’t be idle with despair
    I will gather myself around my faith
    For light does the darkness most fear

    My hands are small, I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    And I am never broken

    Poverty stole your golden shoes
    It didn’t steal your laughter
    And heartache came to visit me
    But I knew it wasn’t ever after
    We’ll fight, not out of spite
    For someone must stand up for what’s right
    ‘Cause where there’s a man who has no voice
    There ours shall go singing

    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    I am never broken
    In the end only kindness matters
    In the end only kindness matters
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
    I will get down on my knees, and I will pray

    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    And I am never broken
    My hands are small I know
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    But they’re not yours, they are my own
    And I am never broken
    We are never broken
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s mind
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s heart
    We are God’s eyes
    God’s hands
    God’s eyes
    We are God’s hands
    We are God’s hands
    ♥♥♥ In the end….only kindness matters. One of my favorite quotes of all time.

  6. Great idea! I love this songs, the words are amazing, the music is awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCZ1YteCv5M

  7. OMG – thank you for mentioning me, but thank you even more for the lyrics to Tangled Up In Blue – one of my favorite songs ever..There are so many lyrics that I love, songs that I have memorized because the words carried me or the time in my life made them even more resonant. You have got me on a music roll in my head – JT’s ‘Shower The People’, Laura Nyro’s ‘Goodbye Joe’, Springsteen’s ‘Pink Cadillac’…”Stand By Me’…I have to stop…this is a terrific post today (they always are!)! Thank you for putting me in my music head!!

    • yay!! glad you liked it! You were my inspiration, my dear, so thank YOU!! I don’t know the Laura Nyro song – now I have to go check that one out!! Thanks for the comment, the inspiration, and for just being you!!!

  8. Love, Love, Love your idea! I will look forward to Tuesdays.

    REM: Shiny Happy People

    Shiny happy people laughing

    Meet me in the crowd, people, people
    Throw your love around, love me, love me
    Take it into town, happy, happy

    Put it in the ground
    Where the flowers grow
    Gold and silver shine

    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people laughing

    Everyone around, love them, love them
    Put it in your hands, take it, take it
    There’s no time to cry, happy, happy

    Put it in your heart
    Where tomorrow shines
    Gold and silver shine

    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people laughing

    Hey, here we go

    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people laughing

    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people laughing

    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people holding hands
    Shiny happy people laughing

    • Yay! Glad you like the idea!! Love that REM song. They are some great songwriters too. Can’t help but smile with that one….thanks for the comment and the encouragement!!

  9. When I saw Dylan’s picture, I started singing the words to “Tangled Up in Blue” frustrated that I was forgetting a few. And lo and behold, there are the lyrics. And, in his words, we should all just “keep on keepin on.” Love your idea on Tuesday Tunes.

  10. Weird. A lot of your blogs aren’t showing up in my reader. I recognize some, but not all. :-\

  11. Great post! And love Bob Dylon. And when I think of him, I think of the lyrics from 1978 (Sr. yr in highschool….yes, I am old!) “But you’re gonna have to Serve Somebody”. ♥

  12. Jen,
    Your Tuesday Tunes idea is brilliant. I will be looking forward to reading those since I absolutely love music and wouldn’t know where I would be without it. Bob Dylan hands down is an excellent choice. The way he weaved storytelling and music, he made it look downright effortless but it’s an incredible gift to have and he used it well.
    For me I would have to say that the song and lyrics that have resonated with me after all these years would have to be Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street”. The lyrics is one of the most haunting, ethereal, and visually stimulating songs I have ever heard and to think that it was based on our American Poet Anne Sexton only enhances its beauty. My favorite lines:

    Nowhere in the corridors of pale green and grey
    Nowhere in the suburbs
    In the cold light of day
    There in the midst of it so alive and alone
    Words support like bone

    Confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box
    To the priest, he’s the doctor
    He can handle the shocks
    Dreaming of the tenderness, the tremble in the hips
    Of kissing Mary’s lips

    The first time I heard those lines I was just bowled over. The visual imagery that those words conjure and the music that accompany it to me is perfection. I’m so thankful to have artists like him and this song is an great homage to Anne Sexton.

    Thanks for a great post!

    The following are the lyrics to the song;

    Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
    Are the dreams all made solid
    Are the dreams all made real

    All of the buildings, all of those cars
    Were once just a dream
    In somebody’s head

    She pictures the broken glass, she pictures the steam
    She pictures a soul
    With no leak at the seam

    Let’s take the boat out
    Wait until darkness
    Let’s take the boat out
    Wait until darkness comes

    Nowhere in the corridors of pale green and grey
    Nowhere in the suburbs
    In the cold light of day
    There in the midst of it so alive and alone
    Words support like bone

    Dreaming of Mercy Street
    Wear your inside out
    Looking for mercy
    In your daddy’s arms again
    Dreaming of Mercy Street
    ‘Swear they moved that sign
    Looking for mercy
    In your daddy’s arms

    Pulling out the papers from drawers that slide smooth
    Tugging at the darkness, word upon word
    Confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box
    To the priest, he’s the doctor
    He can handle the shocks
    Dreaming of the tenderness, the tremble in the hips
    Of kissing Mary’s lips

    Dreaming of Mercy Street
    Wear your inside out
    Dreaming of mercy
    In your daddy’s arms again
    Dreaming of Mercy Street
    ‘Swear they moved that sign
    Looking for mercy
    In your daddy’s arms

    Looking for mercy
    Looking for mercy
    Looking for mercy
    Mercy, mercy

    Anne, with her father is out in the boat
    Riding the water
    Riding the waves on the sea

    • Wow. I have heard that song over a thousand times and never registered the beauty of those words. Thank you for sharing them here and for taking time to leave such a thoughtful comment.

  13. Pingback: newsofthetimes

  14. My favorite song from my favorite Dylan album, Blood On The Tracks. Thanks for the flashback.

  15. Pingback: Tunes Tuesday: You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one | newsofthetimes

  16. Pingback: Weekly Travel Photo Theme: Signs | newsofthetimes

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