“I Want You” (1966)

I have a different take on “I Want You.” I think Dylan’s playing with the word “you”  or rather the sound “u.”  I think he’s saying I want “u,” the sound, to enter that song.  Ricks spotlights the equivocal meaning of “sense” and “cents” in “It’s All Over Now Baby Blues”:

The highway is for gamblers better use your sense.’

Yes, better, one who bets, use your cents well.

I want u.

Dylan wants a u.  Vanna, Where are you/u?

After the first stanza, which sets up the conflict, “The silver saxophones say I should refuse you,” someone telling him to refuse “u” (how does a poet do that exactly?) see how long it takes for Dylan to get to a “u” sound in song:

The guilty undertaker sighs
The lonesome organ grinder cries
The silver saxophones say I should refuse you
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

The drunken politician leaps
Upon the street where mothers weep
And the saviors who are fast asleep, they wait for you
And I wait for them to interrupt
Me drinkin’ from my broken cup
And ask me to
Open up the gate for you

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

How all my fathers, they’ve gone down
True love they’ve been without it
But all their daughters put me down
’Cause I don’t think about it

Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
And talk with my chambermaid
She knows that I’m not afraid to look at her
She is good to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit
He spoke to me, I took his flute
No, I wasn’t very cute to him, was I?
But I did it, though, because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side
And because I . . .

I want you, I want you
I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

Yup, not until the last stanza before the final chorus. (And yes, if you looked/listened close, the word “True” that begins line 22, is the long “u” sound, but it is not used in a rhyme.  Why else would Dylan want a “u”?)

And that last stanza houses a sudden barage of long “u” rhymes:  suit/flute/cute followed by a steel curtain of “i” sounds.  Yes, “I” wants “U” and both unite at the end.

And because I . . .
I want u



Christopher Ricks

In his recent book, Who Is that Man (which I’m thoroughly enjoying ), David Dalton refers to Christopher Ricks as “[t]he eminent scholar.”  And so he is.  I had the privilege of meeting Sir Christopher in 1983 when I took a class at Trinity College, Oxford.  It was a class on T.S. Eliot, and I had no idea who Christopher was.  I left for England on July 4th, the day Dave Righetti pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees.  I remember calling home before my flight left, to find out if Righetti nailed it, and he did.  I landed at Heathrow airport the morning of my first class with Ricks, and entered the class late.  Christopher seized it as a teaching moment putting me on the spot by saying  something to me like, “What do you think of all of us?”  Seized myself by embarrassment and paranoia, I muttered somethin’ underneath my breath like, “I don’t know . . . I don’t know any of you.”  He seemed to like that response because he was teaching “Eliot and Prejudice.” (At the time, Ricks was working with the widow Eliot on T.S.’s unpublished poetry.)

Once I settled myself in, the red gradually disappearing from my face, I noticed that Christopher was weaving in quotes from Bob Dylan while he spoke ( as I did above).  No one else seemed to be noticing this, so after class I went up to him and asked  him about it.  “You speak a lot of Dylan when you talk.”  Ah, glad you noticed.”  We went on to talk about Dylan, and I told him I brought my Dylan tapes but unfortunately forgot my tape player.  In a moment of generosity I still admire, Ricks gave me one of his (his only one?) to use the entire summer.  Naturally, when I did my final paper for the class, I chose a comparison of Dylan and Eliot.  Christopher’s loan of his player enabled me to listen to “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” so that I could fall into the song’s “hypnotic trance,” as Dalton calls it, and not just read the lyrics.

Thanks again, Christopher.

Ricks deserves credit for being the first brave scholar to place Dylan on in the pantheon of poetic studies.  He saw in Dylan someone whose way with words is ingenious.  His book, Dylan’s Visions of Sin, is a testament to Dylan’s genius and mastery of language.

For anyone who has the time, check out his lecture on the poetry of Bob Dylan:

Sir Christopher Ricks on the Poetry of Bob Dylan

by New College of the Humanities


Jacques Levy, a theater director, who co-wrote songs with Dylan on the album Desire, spoke of Dylan’s passion for rhyme:

“One of the very nice nice things about working with Bob is that he loves rhyme, he loves to play with it, and he loves the complication of it.”


One of my favorite passages about rhyme comes from Ricks’ book  Dylan’s Vision of Sin.  In his segment called “Rhyme,” Ricks refers to Arthur Hallam’s assertion that a “constant appeal to Memory and Hope” permeates rhyme.  Ricks writes,

“Rhyme contains this appeal to Memory and Hope . . . because when you have the first rhyme-word you are hoping for the later one, and when you have the later one, you remember the promise that was given earlier and is now fulfilled. Responsibilities on both sides, responsively granted” (38-39).


“Rhyme” will have its heyday on this blog for sure, but in the meantime, collecting favorite moments when Bob uses the word “rhyme” or any form of the word has I think a certain symmetry for this blog.

So here’s  one of mine from “Bye and Bye”:

Bye and bye, I’m breathin’ a lover’s sigh
I’m sittin’ on my watch so I can be on time
I’m singin’ love’s praises with sugar-coated rhyme
Bye and bye, on you I’m casting my eye

Oh, and let’s get this one out of the way from “Mr. Tambourine Man” . . . I mean that in a good way:

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing


I was just blasting Under the Red Sky when the word “rhyme” shot into my mind (no rhyme intended) from “T.V.Talkin Song.”  I wonder if this is the only negatively associated use of “rhyme” in Dylan, though it is found in the speech from the man in Hyde Park denouncing what T.V. does to “children when they’re young/Being sacrificed to it while lullabies are being sung”:

“The news of the day is on all the time
All the latest gossip, all the latest rhyme
Your mind is your temple, keep it beautiful and free
Don’t let an egg get laid in it by something you can’t see”


Who else but Dylan would notice that crickets talk “back and forth in rhyme”?:

Flowers on the hillside, bloomin’ crazy
Crickets talkin’ back and forth in rhyme
Blue river runnin’ slow and lazy
I could stay with you forever and never realize the time

from -“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”

And as Ricks says, “For all rhyme is a form of talking back and forth, something that crickets are in particularly good position to understand, rubbing back and forth, stridulating away” (VofS 42)


Christoper Ricks helped me find “rhyme(s)” in “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” and in “Highlands,” two of Dylan’s longest songs.  Of its use in “Sad-Eyed, he writes, “Times,” “rhymes,” and “chimes”are rhymes because they are chimes that come several times” (VofS 41).  Here’s the lines he’s talking about:

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes
Oh, who among them do they think could bury you?

Here’s the stanza with “rhyme” that Ricks sees yearning realized, not hope:

Well my heart’s in the Highlands wherever I roam
That’s where I’ll be when I get called home
The wind, it whispers to the buckeyed trees in rhyme
Well my heart’s in the Highland
I can only get there one step at a time

The whole album, Time Out of Mind, is filled with yearning, especially the kind that comes from knowing the end is near (the Highland? getting called home?).  David Dalton says the album “uncannily anticipated [Dylan’s] own near-death experience”–a rare disease called histoplasmosis affected his heart in 1997.  Best to savor life’s details like observing the rhymes the wind and trees make when you’re yearning for more time.  Hard to get time out of your mind when you think you don’t have much of it left.

Here’s a live performance of Bob singing “Highlands” in 1999:

The Concordance: List of Terminal Rhymes in Dylan Songs

age, n.: “Long Time Gone,”

all, adj., adv.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

bring, v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

by, prep.: “Long Time Gone,”

*car(s), n.: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” Brownsville Girl,” “Honest With Me,” “Hurricane,” “Idiot Wind,” “It’s All Good,” “Paths of Victory,” “Po Boy,” “Quit Your Low Down Ways,” “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Shot of Love,” “Summer Days,” “Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,” “Union Sundown.”

flower(s), n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

future, n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

*glass, n., adj.: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Dignity,” “Dirge,” “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine,” “I Pity the Poor Immigrant,” “Long and Wasted Years,” “Man Gave Names To All The Animals,” “On a Night Like This,” “Outlaw Blues,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Summer Days,” “Sweetheart Like You,” “Tin Angel,” “Tempest.”

gone, adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

grudge, n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

*guard, n., v. “Changing Of The Guards,” “George Jackson,” “Life Is Hard,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “My Back Pages,” “Narrow Way,” “Temporary Like Achilles,” “Walls Of Red Wing.”

*hard, adj., adv. “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” “Ballad In Plain D,” Ballad Of A Thin Man,” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Buckets Of Rain,” “Can’t Wait,” “Cold Irons Bound,” “Dead Landlord,” “Floater,” “Forgetful Heart,” “The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Hard Times In New York Town,” “Honest With Me,” “I Don’t Believe You,” “If You See Her, Say Hello,” “It’s All Good,” “Jolene,” “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie,””The Levee’s Gonna Break,” “Life Is Hard,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Lilly Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts,” “Long And Wasted Years,” “Million Dollar Bash,” “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine,” “My Back Pages,” “Narrow Way,” “Obviously Five Believers,” “Only A Hobo,” “Outlaw Blues,” “Paths Of Victory,” “Pay In Blood,” “Property of Jesus,” “Roll On, John,” “Rollin and Tumblin,” “Sara,” “Senor,” “Shelter From The Storm,” “She’s Your Lover Now,””Someday Baby,” “Song To Woody,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Sweetheart Like You,” “Talkin John Birch Paranoid Blues,” “Temporary Like Achilles,” “Thunder On the Mountain,” “Til I Fell In Love With You,” “Time Passes Slowly,” “Tin Angel,” “True Love Tends To Forget,” “This Wheel’s On Fire,” “Visions Of Johanna,” “The Walls Of Red Wing,” “Who Killed Davey Moore.”

*head(s), n., adj., v. “Abandoned Love,” “All Over You,” “Angelina,” “The Ballad of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest,” “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,””Brownsville Girl,” “Caribbean Wind,” “Changing Of The Guards,” “Clean Cut Kid,” “Cold Irons Bound,” “Day Of The Locusts,” “Dead Man, Dead Man,” “Desolation Row,” “Disease of Conceit,” Duquesne Whistle,” “Everything Is Broken,” “From a Buick 6,” “Gates of Eden,”  “George Jackson,” “Gotta Serve Somebody,” “The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar,” “Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance,” “Hurricane,” “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine,” “I Shall Be Free,” “I Shall Be Free No. 10,” “Idiot Wind,” “In The Garden,” “It’s Alright Ma,” “Joey,” “Jokerman,” “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie,” “Lenny Bruce,” “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,” “The Levee’s Gonna Break,” “Lilly Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts,” “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” “Love Sick,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “Man Gave Names To All The Animals,” “Most Of The Time,” Motorpsycho Nightmare,” “Narrow Way,” “No Time To Think,” “One More Night,” “One Too Many Mornings,” “Only a Hobo,” “Oxford Town,” “Paths of Glory,” “Pay In Blood,” “Rambling, Gambling Willie,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Romance in Durango,” “Scarlet Town,” “She’s Your Love Now,” “Shot of Love,” “Standing in the Doorway,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “10,000 Men,” “Things Have Changed,” “Tin Angel,” “To Ramona,” “Tombstone Blues,” “TV Talkin’ Song,” “Unbelievable,” “Under Your Spell,” “Union Sundown,” “Visions of Johanna,” “Walls of Red Wing,” “What Good Am I?,” “With God On Our Side.”

hour(s), n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

judge, n., v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

*king(s), n.:  “All Over You,” “Song to Woody” “Walls of Red Wing.”

*last, adj., adv. “Ain’t Talkin,'” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’,” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” “Brownsville Girl,” “Bye and Bye,” “Changing of the Guards,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “Clothes Line Saga,” “Cold Iron Bounds,” “Cry A While,” “Dignity,” “Fourth Time Around,” “God Knows,” The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Altar,” “Had A Dream About You Baby,” “Hollis Brown,” “I Don’t Believe You,” “I Feel A Change Comin’ On,” “I Shall Be Free,” “Idiot Wind,” “If You Ever Go To Houston,” “If You See Her, Say Hello,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Joey,” “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie,” “Lonesome Day Blues,” “Long And Wasted Years,” “Maybe Someday,” “Million Miles,” “Mississippi,” “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine,” “Never Say Goodbye,” “No Time To Think,” “Pledging My Time,” “Political World,” “Property of Jesus,” “Rambling, Gambling Willie,” “Roll On John,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Saved,” “Seeing the Real You At Last,” “Senor,” “Shooting Star,” “Something Is Burning,” “Song to Woody,” “Standing in the Doorway,” “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” “Sweetheart Like You,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Tempest,” “Things Have Changed,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Tin Angel,” “Tough Mama,” “Under Your Spell,” “Walkin’ Down The Line,” “When The Night Comes Falling,” “Where Are You Tonight,” “You’re A Big Girl Now.”

me, pron. “Behind Here Lies Nothin,” #Duquesne Whistle,” “I Feel A Change Comin On,” “If You Ever Go To Houston,” “It’s All Good,” “Jolene,” “Life Is Hard.” “My Wife’s Hometown,”  “Narrow Way,” “Shake Moma Shake,” “This Dream Of You,”

*meant, v. “As I Went Out One Morning,” “Dead Landlord,” “Early Roman Kings,” “Everything Is Broken,” “Going Going Gone,” “The Groom’s Still Waiting At the Alter,” “Life Is Hard,” “Long And Wasted Years,” “Never Gonna Be The Same Again,” “Neighborhood Bully,” “One Of Us Must Know,” “Pay In Blood,” “Roll On, John,” “Scarlet Town,” “Spirit On The Water,” “Tin Angel,” “When The Deal Goes Down,” “Who Killed Davey Moore.”

*midnight, n., adj.: “Abandoned Love,” “Ain’t A-Gonna Grieve,” “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Beyond the Horizon,” “Can’t Wait,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “Dark Eyes,” “Desolation Row,” “Dignity,”  “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,” “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” “Something’s Burning, Baby,” “Soon After Midnight,” “Standing in the Doorway,” “Trying to Get to Heaven,” “When the Deal Goes Down.

on, prep.: “Long Time Gone,”

one, n., adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

*past, n., adj., adv., prep.: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,'” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” “Bye and Bye,” “Can’t Wait,” “Changing of the Guards,” “Don’t Fall Apart,” “Don’t Ya Tell Henry,” “I Shall Be Free No. 10,” “Idiot Wind,” “If You See Her Say Hello,” “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,” “Mississippi,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Political World,” “Restless Farewell,” “Romance in Durango,” “Silvio,” “Spirit on the Water,” “Summer Days,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Tangled Up in Blues,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Tin Angel,” “Tough Mama,” “TV Talkin’ Song,” “Visions of Johanna,” “Wedding Song.”

plains, n.:”Long Time Gone,”

quotation(s), n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

ramble(s), v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

rhyme(s), n.: “Bye and Bye, “Highlands,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,””Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” T.V.Talkin Song,” “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,”

ride, n., v.: “Long Time Gone,”

*said, v, adj.: “All Along The Watchtower,” “As I Went Out One Morning,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,'” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Bob Dylan’s Blues,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” “Brownsville Girl,” “Caribbean Wind,” “Clean Cut Kid,” “Cry A While,” “Dignity,” “Down Along The Cove,” “Drifter’s Escape,” “Floater,” “Fourth Time Around,” “Frankie Lee And Judas Priest,” “From A Buick 6,” “Going, Going, Gone,” “Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking,” “Had A Dream About You Baby,” “Handy Dandy,” “High Water,” “Highlands,” “Highway 61,” “Hurricane,” “I Don’t Believe You,” “I Shall Be Free,” “I Shall Be Free #10,” “I Threw It All Away,” “Idiot Wind,” “In The Garden,” “Isis,” “It’s All Good,” “Joey,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “Last Thoughts on Woodie Guthrie,” “Lenny Bruce,” “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Lilly Rosemary, And The Jack Of Hearts,” “Man In The Long Black Coat,” “Man On The Street,” “Maybe Someday,” “Million Miles,” “Mississippi,” “My Back Pages,” “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” “Neighborhood Bully,” “North Country Blues,” “One Of Us Must Know,” “Percy’s Song,” “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” “Rambling Gambling Willie,” “Senior,” “Shelter From The Storm,” “Sign On The Window,” “Slow Train,” “Standing In The Doorway,” “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” “Talkin’ New York,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Tangled Up in Blues,” “Thunder On The Mountain,” “Tight Connection To My Heart,” “Tin Angel,” “TV Talkin’ Song,” “Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum,” “Unbelievable,” “Union Sundown,” “The Ugliest Girl In The World,” “Up To Me,” “Wedding Song,” “Went To See The Gypsy,” “Who Killed Davey Moore.”

same, adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

*shoe(s), n.: “Black Diamond Bay, “Cats in the Well,” “Changing of the Guards,” “Down the Highway,” “Fourth Time Around,” “Gates of Eden,” “Gypsy Lou,” “I and I,” “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” “John Brown,” “Living the Blues,” “Man of Peace,” “Man on the Street,” “Positively 4th Street,” “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” “Summer Days,”  “Tangled Up in Blues,” “Tombstone Blues,” “Under the Red Sky,” “Union Sundown,” “Walkin Down the Line,” “Wiggle, Wiggle,”  “Workingman’s Blues #2.”

silence, n. v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

situation(s), n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

son, n.: “Long Time Gone,”

song, n.: “Long Time Gone,”

*spread, spreading, v., n.: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Changing of the Guards,” “Hard Times In New York Town.”

*star(s), n.: “Angelina,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Blind Willie McTell,” “Boots of Spanish Leather,” “Brownsville Girl,” “Clean Cut Kid,” “Covenant Woman,” “Desolation Row,” “Goin’ To Acapulco,” “Idiot Wind,” “If You Ever Go to Houston,” “Jokerman,” “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie,” “Make You Feel My Love,” “Man of Peace,” “Mississippi,” “Neighborhood Bully,” “One More Cup of Coffee,” “One More Night,” “Po Boy,” “Shooting Star,” “Standing in the Doorway,” “Summer Days,” “Time Passes Slowly,” “This Dream of You,” “Tin Angel,” “Unbelievable,” “Where Are You Tonight?”

station(s), n., v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

*still, adj., n., adv.:  “Abandoned Love,” “Ain’t Talkin,” “Are You Ready,” “Beyond The Horizon,” “Born In Time,” “Brownsville Girl,” “Bye and Bye,” “Can’t Wait,” “Caribbean Wind,” “Changing Of The Guards,” “Chimes of Freedom,” “Cold Irons Bound,” “Dirge,” “Disease Of Conceit,” “don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” “Drifter’s Escape,” “Duquesne Whistle,” “Early Roman Kings,” “Floater,” “Gates of Eden,” “The Groom’s Still Waiting At the Alter,” “Handy Dandy,” “Hazel,” “Heart of Mine,” “Honest With Me,” “Hurricane,” “I and I,” “I Believe In You,” “I Don’t Believe You,” “Idiot Wind,” “If You Ever Go To Houston,” “If You See Her, Say Hello,” “In The Summertime,” “Isis,” “Lay Lady Lay,” “The Levee’s Gonna Break,” “Life is Hard,” “Lily, Rosemary, And The Jack of Hearts,” “Lonesome Day Blues,” “Million Miles,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” “My Wife’s Hometown,” “Narrow Way,” “Neighborhood Bully,” “Not Dark Yet,” “Precious Angel,” “Rambling Gambling Willie,” “Sara,” “Saving Grace,” “Scarlet Town,” “Seeing The Real You At Last,” “Shake Mama Shake,” “She’s Your Lover Now,” “Shooting Star,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Something Is Burning,” “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” “Summer Days,” “Tangled Up In Blues,” “Tight Connection To My Heart,” “Till I Fell In Love With You,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “To Ramona,” “Visions of Johanna,” “What Good Am I,” “When The Deal Goes Down,” “When The Ship Comes In,” “When You Gonna Wake Up,” “Who Killed Davey More.”

tell, v.: “Long Time Gone,”

*throne, n.: “Abandoned Love,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Tin Angel,” “When He Returns,” “No Time To Think.”

through, prep.: “Long Time Gone,”

train(s), n.: “Long Time Gone,”

tremble(s), v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

twelve, n., adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

upon, prep.: “Long Time Gone,”

view, n.: “Long Time Gone,”

violence, n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

wall, n., v.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

*went, v.: “All Along The Watchtower,” “All Over You,” “As I Went Out One Morning,” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” “Brownsville Girl,” Caribbean Wind,” “Clean Cut Kid,” “Clothes Line Saga,” “Cold Irons Bound,” “Cry A While,” “Desolation Row,” “Dignity,” “Dirge,” “Don’t Ya Tell Henry,” “Floater,” “Fourth Time Around,” “Hurricane,” “I Shall Be Free,” “I Shall Be Free #10,” If You See Her, Say Hello,” “Isis,” “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “Joey,” “Lilly, Rosemary, And The Jack of Hearts,” “Life Is Hard,” “Man In The Long Black Coat,” “Million Dollar Bash,” “Most Of The Time,” “Narrow Way,” “Oxford Town,” “Roll On, John,” “Sign On The Window,” “Slow Train Comin,” “Sugar Baby,” “Talkin World War III Blues,” “Tears Of Rage,” “Tempest,” “Tin Angel,” “Tough Mama,” “Under The Red Sky,” “Up To Me,” “Wedding Song,” “Went To See The Gypsy,” “You Ain’t Goin Nowhere.”

*will, n., v.: “Ain’t Talkin’,” “Angelia,” “As I Went Out One More Morning,” “Are You Ready,” “Ballad In Plain D,” “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” “Billy 4,” “Billy 1,” “Black Crow Blues,” “Black Diamond Bay,” “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Born In Time,” “Buckets Of Rain,” “Bye and Bye,” “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” “Can’t Wait,” “Changing Of The Guards,”  “Cold Irons Bound,” “Covenant Woman,” “Dead Man, Dead Man,” “Dirge,” “Disease of Conceit,” “Early Roman Kings,” “Emotionally Yours,” “Frankie Lee And Judas Priest,” “Gates Of Eden,” “Got My Mind Made Up,” “I Am A Lonesome Hobo,” “I Believe In You,” “I Threw It All Away,” “Idiot Wind,” “If You Ever Go to Houston,” “If You See Her, Say Hello,” “Is Your Love In Vain,” “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Joey,” “Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie,” “Let Me Die In My Footsteps,”  “The Levee’s Gonna Break,” “Life is Hard,” “The Man In Me,” “Masters Of War,” “Maybe Someday,” “Mississippi,” “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine,” “Nettie Moore,” “No Time To Think,” “Not Dark Yet,” “North Country Blues,” “One More Night,” “One More Weekend,” “One Too Many Mornings,’ “Pay In Blood,” “Po Boy,” “Precious Angel,” “Rambling, Gambling Willie,” “Ring Them Bells,” “Romance In Durango,” “Scarlet Town,” “Senor,” “She Belongs To Me,” “Shooting Star,” “Silvio,” “Something Is Burning,” “Spanish Harlem Incident,” “Spirit On The Water,” “Standing In The Doorway,” “Stop Crying,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” “Things Have Changed,” “This Wheel’s On Fire,” “Thunder On The Mountain,” “Til I Fell In Love With You,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “To Ramona,” “Trust Yourself,”  “TV Talkin’ Song,” “Under Your Spell,” “The Ugliest Girl In The World,” “Watered-down Love,” “We Better Talk This Over,” “When He Returns,” “When The Night Comes Falling,” “When The Ship Comes In,” “Winterlude,” “Who Killed Davey Moore,” “Working Man’s Blues #2.”

wing, n.: “Love Minus Zero, No Limit,”

wrong, adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

young, adj.: “Long Time Gone,”

*denotes complete through Tempest

Dylan’s First Rhyme

Under the assumption that “Song to Woody” actually was penned before “Talkin New York,” Dylan’s first rhyme paired the words “things” and “kings.”  Here’s the stanza:

I’m out here a thousand miles from my home
Walkin’ a road other men have gone down
I’m seein’ your world of people and things
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings

“home” and “down” have the look of a rhyme, but even Dylan doesn’t stretch the sound of either “o” to meet  the other.  So “things” and “kings” it is.  Both of those words will get their time in the spotlight at some other time in this blog, but while I search for Dylan’s use of “throne” I thought it interesting to note the presence of royalty in his first rhyme.



The word “throne” is used only once on the entire Together Through Life CD, and that is in the opening stanza of “Beyond Here Lies Nothin.”  For anyone who has seen the video of this song (see link below) this should not come as a surprise.  Certainly, the authority, violence, and power that a throne conveys are present in the male character in this film.


The word “throne” does not appear once in the so-called trilogy consisting of Modern Times, Love and Theft, and Time Out of Mind.


Dylan did not use the word “throne” on any studio album of original songs in the 1990′s.


I’m still in the 80′s in my search for “throne,” but I sneaked into the 70′s remembering the last lines of “When He Returns”:

Of every earthly plan that be known to man, He is unconcerned
He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne
When He returns

The rhymes with “thrown” are internal, but LOOK: they are the same words used to rhyme with “thrown” in the first stanza of “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”:

I love you pretty baby
You’re the only love I’ve ever known
Just as long as you stay with me
The whole world is my throne
Beyond here lies nothin’
Nothin’ we can call our own

Now there’s a skipping reel of rhyme if I’ve ever seen one!


“Throne” does not appear on any original Bob Dylan song in the 1980′s.
The word “throne” is found in the second stanza of “No Time to Think” off the 1978 Street Legal album, Bob’s last secular one as many said about it in the 80′s. It is used as an internal rhyme with the word “alone,” which ends the line, only to have the rhyme extend to the beginning of the next line with “unknown.” Those three words linked by rhyme summon Shakespeare’s Henry V for me, especially in the scene when Hal wanders from camp to camp hooded (as Dylan was often found in the 1990′s) taking the temperature of his soldiers’ feelings towards him and their attitude towards the battle that awaits them at daybreak. “A little touch of Harry in the night,” the chorus calls his presence among his men, before “the scene must to the battle fly” (indeed not much “time to think” the night before a war). I love where Bobby sends my mind from a little touch of the words he unites with rhyme.
If “Abandoned Love” “speaks volumes about . . . a man’s (Dylan’s?) deepest feelings” during the time of his failed marriage with a woman (Sara Lownds?), as Robert Shelton suggests in No Direction Home, the word “throne” used at the end of the song certainly puts her on the pedestal the man wants her to come down from:

One more time at midnight, near the wall
Take off your heavy makeup and your shawl
Won’t you descend from the throne, from where you sit?
Let me feel your love one more time before I abandon it

After all, he’s no leader in this song, a follower instead (“Baby, let me follow you down,” “in the jingle-jangle morning I’ll come following you”?), of the children:

Wherever the children go I’ll follow them

“throne” doesn’t get the royal treatment of rhyme in this song; neither does the woman fated to be abandoned not followed.  The painful yearning on this song is heartfelt.   The Other End, 1975:


“Tin Angel” uses “throne” with the tables turned: man returns home
To a deserted mansion and a desolate throne
Servant said: “Boss, the lady’s gone
She left this morning just ‘fore dawn.”

But the man is not a king, merely a boss to the women later referred to as a queen

His face was hard and caked with sweat
His arms ached and his hands were wet
“You’re a murderous queen and a bloody wife
If you don’t mind, I’ll have the knife”

A throne left alone, with a John Webster/Seneca pile of bodies left on stage by the end. A throne never seems to bode well in Dylan.

This Blog’s Purpose

As a passionate fan, student and teacher of Bob Dylan, I have felt a need to create a concordance of  the lyrics to Dylan’s songs.  The only one I’ve come across is one published by Steve Michel, whose book includes over 8,000 words and is inclusive of the songs on 1992’s CD, Under the Red Sky.

My plan is to start from Bob’s latest CD (a new one called Tempest arrives September 11, 2012) and at first key on the words Bob Dylan rhymes. In an interview with Bill Flanagan, Bob once said, “I love rhyming for rhyming sake. I think it’s an incredible art form.”  So I want to start there–where Dylan sees “an incredible art form,” and allow those words to go from song to song where they’ve been used before maybe to help form unexpected patterns for fans, students, and educators to admire and contemplate.  Words themselves can create “some amazing hallucinogenic experiences,” something Dylan said in his 1978 Playboy interview about looking out his window in Hibbing, MN.

I also will not, at least initially, focus on common or popular Dylan rhyming words.  For instance, in “Beyond Here Lies Nothin,” the first rhyme is baby/me.  I could probably find those words in one of every three of Bob’s songs.  The second rhyme, known/throne/own gives us a word worth pursuit, “throne.”  “Known” and “own” tickle my brain, too, for where else they reside in Dylan’s lyrical universe, but I think “throne” will prove to be a word less traveled by Dylan and it should be interesting to see how that word has been used for its sound and meaning for Bob in his published songs for over fifty years.

I’m choosing a blog platform, too, so it can be interactive.  I want to comment on and inspire discussion about Dylan’s words.  I’ve never met Dylan and probably never will, but I bet he’d love a place where people just talk about the words he chose to rhyme.  I think those words must be special to him, like strangers he’s introduced to each other who will always be friends.

A work in progress concordance blog also lets the process be as valuable or satisfying as the product.  This may be a life long labor of love, but why wait til the end to see what people think.