Bob Dylan And The Tombstone Blues (Part V)

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By Larry Fyffe

A song of comedy from the happy days of youth:

Well, my telephone rang, it would not stop
It's President Kennedy calling me up
He said "My friend Bob, what do we need to make the country grow"
I said "My friend John -  Brigitte Bardot"
(Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Free)

A song of tragedy from the sorrowful days of adulthood – in the song lyrics below, the  singer/songwriter laments the murder of President Kennedy, the first Catholic elected to that position:

The day they killed him, someone said, "Son
The Age of the AntiChrist has just only begun"
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)

Construed it can easily be that some of the US presidents following Kennedy are manifestations of the metonymical AntiChrist as described by an unknown ‘someone’ in the Holy Bible:

Little children, it is the last time
And as ye have heard that AntiChrist shall come
Even now are there many AntiChrists
Whereby we know that it is the last time ....
Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ?
He is AntiChrist, that denies the Father and the Son
(1 John 2: 18, 22)

Words that echo, albeit ambiguously so, in the lines below:

Hush little children ....
The Beatles are coming, they're going to hold your hand
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)

Dylan obfuscates on the matter; nevertheless, it is apparent that President Obama, the first ‘black’ elected to that position, is excluded, like the idealized Kennedy, from the list of possible AntiChrists ruling the New Babylon.

President Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Bob Dylan at the White House:


There is no doubt that President Obama is the presenter. I know a witness. In the process of being 3D’ed in the White House, behind the seated President stands my bearded nephew Graham Fyffe, son of my twin brother:

US Presidents following Kennedy are Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr,  Obama, Trump.

US Presidents following Kennedy are Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr,  Obama, Trump.


The following song quite surely takes a jab at about-to-be-ousted Pesident Nixon:


While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
But even the President of the United States
Must sometimes have to stand naked
(Bob Dylan: It's Alright Ma)

Carter, a fan of Dylan’s lyrics, mentions the above song in his presidential nomination speech: “We have an America that, in Bob Dylan’s phrase,  is busy being born; not busy dying”  though the precise phrasing is “that he not busy being born is busy dying”.

The lyrics below ponder the role played by Kennedy’s ‘how-many-kids-did-you-kill-today’ replacement:

Airforce One coming in through the gate
Johnson sworn in at two-thirty-eight
(Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)

As one might expect, analyst Kees de Gaaf throws down a ‘red herring’ and attempts to interpret the song above as one really about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ rather than about the assassination of President Kennedy.

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