Bob Dylan Throws A Curve

by Larry Fyffe

Treading in the footsteps of Friedrich Nietzsche and William Yeats, singing that eventually dead men we all shall be, songwriter/musician Bob Dylan nevertheless presents a recurrent vision of micro-, and macro-change in a number of his songs –  often symbolized by a ‘curve’ in the road.

It’s a wistful sign of a better world in the lyrics beneath:

But hope's just a word
That maybe you said, or maybe you heard
On some windy corner 'round a wide-angled curve
(Bob Dylan: Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie)

As proffered in the following song lyrics, a sign of fate in an uncaring universe; however, a destiny that can be altered to some degree:

On the rising curve
Where the ways of nature will test every nerve
You won't get anything that you don't deserve
(Bob Dylan: Born In Time)

A sign of possible reconciliation wrought up by empathy as depicted in the lines below:

I've had the Mexico City Blues since the last hairpin curve
I don't want to see you bleed, I know what you need
And it ain't what you deserve
(Bob Dylan: Something's Burning Baby)

In the lines beneath, a sign of sudden sadness due to could-have-been dire consequences:

Tuned to a station
I've never heard
While the moon glimmers
On Dead Man's Curve
(Jeff Kosoff: Tioga Pass ~ Dylan/Hunter/Kosoff)

Sourced from the following ‘teenage tragedy’ song:

Let's come off the line now, at Sunset and Vine
But I'll throw you one better if you've got the nerve
Let's race all the way to Dead Man's Curve
(Jan And Dean: Dead Man's Curve ~ Wilson et. al.)

The song lyrics of Bob Dylan are never as simple as they first appear; they are not written just to fit in a rhyme, or an assonant off-rhyme.

And, of course, the manner in which the music is played along with the way the lyrics are emoted by the singer makes all the difference how a listener is affected by the whole performance thereof.

Publisher’s note…

You can read more about all our regular writers here

If you would like to read more commentaries, Untold Dylan also has a very active Facebook group: Untold Dylan.

If you would like to see some of our series they are listed under the picture at the top of the page, and the most recent entries can be found on the home page.

If you would like to contribute an article please drop a line to

One comment

  1. Tony throws a curve (lol):
    The rendition of “Tiago Pass” presented above is by Paul Thomas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *