Category Archives: The Songs

Dark Eyes: the meaning behind the Bob Dylan song

This review was updated in September 2016 By Tony Attwood There is a picture on the inner sleeve of Empire Burlesque of a dark haired woman, drawn in the same style (although without the broken face) of the woman who … Continue reading

Posted in Empire Burlesque, The Songs | 11 Comments

What was it you wanted? The meaning behind the music and the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song

What was it you wanted This new review and analysis by Tony Attwood written in 2013 replaced the initial review from 2009. A slow introduction, and from line one we go; a song in a minor key packed with minor … Continue reading

Posted in Oh Mercy, The Songs | 2 Comments

Blind Willie McTell: the meaning behind Bob Dylan’s song

Blind Willie McTell This review updated 8 October 2016 including the addition of the link to the Dylan recording of the electric version of this song – see the end of the review, and some further thoughts on the lack … Continue reading

Posted in Bootleg Series volume 3, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 7 Comments

“Where were you last night?” by Bob Dylan. The meaning behind the lyrics and the music

Updated July 2016 By Tony Attwood The songs on the Traveling Wilburys albums are credited to the band as a whole rather than individual artists, but it is clear that this track from Volume 3 is a Dylan composition with … Continue reading

Posted in The Songs, Traveling Wilburys | 1 Comment

Not Dark Yet

    Not Dark Yet is one of the triumphs of Dylan’s later work – a pivotal point on the album, the darkest moment (despite the title) which then leads the way towards light. I’ll consider the album as a … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs, Time out of mind | 10 Comments

All along the watch tower: Bob Dylan’s eternal masterpiece.

By Tony Attwood According to some the imagery in this song comes from the 21st chapter of the prophet Isaiah when a watchman on the watchtower sees two riders approaching.  Here is the text in the King James Version. 6 For … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 9 Comments

It Ain’t Me Babe

    Coming back to the songs from the early albums after 40 years or more it is interesting to see how beautifully constructed they are. It is as if Dylan spent far more time on these early pieces, crafting … Continue reading

Posted in Another Side, Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 2 Comments

Blowing in the wind (1962). The meaning of the music and the lyrics.

By Tony Attwood Coming back to Blowing in the Wind after 45 years is a strange experience. There was a time when I, and all those like me, not only listened to it every day but also played it every … Continue reading

Posted in Freewheelin, The Songs | 3 Comments

Positively 4th Street (1965): the meaning of the music and the lyrics of Dylan’s song

By Tony Attwood.  This review revised September 2014 Two lines of music – just eight bars long – repeated over and over and over. And yet it is brilliant, a song one never tires of because the record is so … Continue reading

Posted in Essential Bob Dylan, The Songs | 5 Comments

Visions of Johanna: the meaning of the music and the lyrics

By Tony Attwood. This article updated June 2017 This is Dylan’s reply to Eliot.  Where TS Eliot wrote about watching the women come and go talking of Michaelangelo, and measuring out a life in coffee spoons, so Dylan gives us … Continue reading

Posted in Blonde on Blonde, The Songs | 13 Comments

Bob Dylan’s “Time passes slowly” (1970). The meaning of the music and the lyrics

By Tony Attwood This is a deceptively simple song, which seeks to offer an insight into Dylan’s very private world – at least the private world he was contemplating in the rural simplicity of parts of New Morning. But it … Continue reading

Posted in New Morning, The Songs | 1 Comment

Mississippi (Tell Tale Signs): the meaning of the music and the lyrics

By Tony Attwood Rolling Stone called “Mississippi” “A drifter’s love song that seems to sum up Dylan’s entire career,” and before I came back to what was the first song I reviewed in this series, thinking I ought to re-write … Continue reading

Posted in Tell Tales Signs, The Songs | 4 Comments