Daniel And Dylan: The True Story


By Larry Fyffe

In today’s entertainment news:

Big time wrestler Yahweh refuses to step aside and allow business partner Messiah establish peace in the Middle East.

The excuses given by the God of the Hebrews for not doing so are wearing thin, according to anonymous news sources; they claim that this is leading to cynicism among His followers. It’s also reported that cat-calls can be heard coming from audiences attending the Promised Land Wrestling Concert. Apparently, the crowds do not expect any of the fights on the card to end in Yahweh’s favour.

Yahweh’s manager Daniel re-assures the Hebrews by telling them a few of the funny things that happened to him on the way to the Forum. He also tells them that it was faith in his favourite star wrestler that kept him from being eaten by the lions:

And He worketh signs and wonders in heaven and earth
Who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions
(Daniel 6: 27)

At the concert, Daniel listens to Dylan singinging songs about fighting for what one believes in:

Oh, the hours, I’ve spent inside the Coliseum
Dodging lions and wastin’ time
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle
I could hardly stand to see’em
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb
(Bob Dylan: When I Paint My Masterpiece)

Dylan’s guest throws promotional pamplets into the audience, telling them to keep the faith. If they do, Daniel promises that there’ll be a really, really ‘big shew’ coming up around the bend – the climatic showdown between the forces of good and evil.

Yahweh’s manager plasters the place with posters that say – Be there or be square; times they are a-changing; forget about the Assyrian and the Babylonian gang members, and those Persians drunkards.

Daniel describes a vision he had of a wrestler that’s going to bring the house down:

And behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible
And strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth
It devoured and brake in pieces
And stamped the residue with the feet of it
And it was diverse from all the other beasts that were before
And it had ten horns
(Daniel 7: 7)

Declares Daniel – Yes – Zeus – the twisted storm-cloud Thunder God, – the one and only head deity of the Roman Empire!

Many of the images in his songs, Bob Dylan draws from the surrealistic preFreudian stories that Daniel promotes in his book about Judeo-Christian wrestling.

Daniel’s stories are modernized a bit by Dylan in the song lyrics.The good news is that life down here on earth will indeed get better; the bad news is there’s a-gonna be a big bloody blockbuster smack-down before that happens. But the important news is that the wrestling match between Zeus and Yahweh will be held in America’s capital city, not in Judea’s:

Thunder on the mountain heavy as can be
Mean old twister bearing down on me
All the ladies of Washington scrambling to get out of town
Looks like something bad gonna happen, better roll your
airplane down
(Bob Dylan: Thunder On The Mountain)

Zeus, the skirt-chasing god of the Romans, and the Hebrew God of ‘Exodus’, are given equal billing by Bob:

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning
That there were thunders and lightenings
And a black cloud on the mountain
And the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud
So that all the people that was in the camp trembled
(Exodus 19:16)

To further promote the wrestling motif, a number of Dylan songs present the United States as the New Babylon with the American Civil War serving as the fulfilling of Daniel’s apocalyptic vision:

And there followed hail and fire mingled with blood
And they were cast down upon the earth
And the third part of trees was burnt up
And all the green grass was burnt up ….
And there fell a great star from heaven burning as it were a lamp
And if fell upon the third part of the rivers
And the fountains of waters
(Revelations 8: 7,10)

And so sings Dylan:

I cross the green mountain
I slept by the stream
Heaven burnin’ in my head
I dreamt a monstrous dream
Something’ came up out of the sea
Swept through the land of the rich and the free ….
In the deep green grasses
Of the blood-stained woods
They never dreamed of surrenderin’
They fell where they stood
Stars fell over Alabama
And I saw each star
You’re walkin’ in dreams
Whoever you are
(Bob Dylan: ‘Cross The Green Mountain)

Surrounded by smoke, thunder and lightning, Zeus will then step into the ring.

What else is on the site

1: Over 470 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also produced overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.

3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines and our articles on various writers’ lists of Dylan’s ten greatest songs.

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews


One comment

Leave a Reply

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