Winterlude by Bob Dylan. The meanings and implications

By Tony Attwood

  • WINTERLUDE is a Finnish Dylan Forum. ..
  • Michael Gray, an expert on Bob Dylan and contributor to Telegraph Travel, is planning a series of “Winterlude Weekends” at his home in south-west France next February and March.
  • The song was featured in The Comic Strip‘s 1998 special “Four Men In A Car”.
  • Winterlude is a song on New Morning.

Yep, I found all of those on the internet when researching this song.   And I can tell you there is no agreement anywhere on what Winterlude (the song) is, although the one thing it most certainly is (a waltz, one of only a few in the Dylan canon) is only mentioned in two of three places.

One thing is for sure though, the people who comment all over the place saying this is a Dylan made up word (you know who you are) are wrong.  It is the winter festival held in Canada’s National Capital Region.   Come celebrate winter in the Capital during three fun-filled weekends in February. Grab your skates or rent some here and glide along…   you get the idea.

Is Dylan singing his waltz to a woman, or to a celebration in February?  The latter seems odd but I wouldn’t put anything past Dylan.

Winterlude, Winterlude, oh darlin’
Winterlude by the road tonight
Tonight there will be no quarrelin’
Ev’rything is gonna be all right
Oh, I see by the angel beside me
That love has a reason to shine
You’re the one I adore, come over here and give me more
Then Winterlude, this dude thinks you’re fine

In one sense the song sounds a bit like Ramona, almost as if someone had heard Ramano and was messing about with it, trying to make fun of what Dylan is and what he does.  Which when you think about it, is thoroughly odd.  But as we know Dylan could write waltzes, such as Sara, so why do this?  Or at least why, having done it, preserve it on an album?

Unless, unless, Sara is the key.  A nickname for her?  Certainly it is a very comfortable easy going piece of music that hardly stretches us.  A song between a couple who have become very comfortable with each other?

Certainly this is a turn away from the world, a cozy up by the fire.  In fact it is like You Angel You – its a nice little love song, either about a place, or a time of year or about a woman.  It’s a stroll along the roadside with all sorts of odd rhymes thrown in for good measure.

Winterlude, Winterlude, oh darlin’
Winterlude by the road tonight
Tonight there will be no quarrelin’
Ev’rything is gonna be all right
Oh, I see by the angel beside me
That love has a reason to shine
You’re the one I adore, come over here and give me more
Then Winterlude, this dude thinks you’re fine

It is three chords simple pop.  It is a song about the simple life, and why not.  Whoever said everything should be intellectual a deep in meaning?

Whoever said that every line should have a meaning?  I mean, what does

The snow is so cold, but our love can be bold
Winterlude, don’t be rude, please be mine

actually imply?

I really have no idea.

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1 Response to Winterlude by Bob Dylan. The meanings and implications

  1. Hello Tony, Yes another interesting analysis. Join us inside Bob Dylan’s Music Box http://everybobdylansong.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/bob-dylan-song-149-winterlude.html and listen to every version of every song.

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