“Rainy Day Women, #12 & 35”

Twenty stones get hurled in “Rainy Day Women, 12 & 35“; that’s a lot of stoning. And with all that stoning going on along with the double-meaning of getting stoned, what gets lost is the word “alone,” rhyming with “stoned” five times, once in each verse. But “alone” is not alone in its rhyming partners in this song; twice it rhymes with “home.”  Once in the first verse:

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone

and then with a return to home in the last:

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone
They’ll stone you when you are walking home

No other way to get stoned is repeated in the song, just the one having to do with home.

Can there be a greater feeling of loneliness than getting stoned? The rump-pah-pah New Orleans funeral parade sound underscores the presence of death–death by stoning– No one’s safe from stoning, getting stoned, everybody must, and everyone like Odysseus is trying to get home.

Here’s Dylan singing it for “Live Aid” in 1986; as always a crowd-pleaser, just like a good ole stoning used to be:

(I really like the scarf.)

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ ’long the street
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ on the floor
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ to the door
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

They’ll stone ya when you’re at the breakfast table
They’ll stone ya when you are young and able
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck
They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say, “good luck”
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone
They’ll stone you when you are walking home
They’ll stone you and then say you are brave
They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

 

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