What does A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall mean?

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Bob Dylan: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall Meaning

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A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall Lyrics


Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    m320753
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    Feb 14th 2011 report

    As I said it was about the cuban missile crisis, which didn't pop up one day but was a few months in the making.the blue eyed son is just a parent's name for their child. Bob wrote what he felt would happen if the crisis came to fruition, and what the world may be like after it. Guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children. Could be taken as the survivors having to revert to what we may have seen a few thousand years ago. There are so many lines that deal with the aftermath of a nuclear war, it is self evident this is what the song is about.the ending i'll stand on the ocean until I start sinking may be about losing faith as peter did when jesus called him out of the boat and to come to him.peter did okay until he realized what he was doing and started sinking where as jesus grabbed and said to him oh ye of little faith. Last last line but i'll know my song well before I start singing basically says hey!i'm looking into this and I don't like what I see. But i'm gonna research this because I fear we are going to be in big trouble any day now. Dylan said in an interview that he wrote the song because it put into words all the songs and ideas for songs he had in his brain ,but didn't think there was time enough left to write them all

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Jan 28th 2007 report

    So this song could have many meanings, but someone requested it.

    "A hard rain" conjures images of a storm that will destroy everything, wash everything clean. Make of it what you will.

    The "blue-eyed son" of this narrative symbolizes the youth of the world who see the wrongs committed and realize that it is wrong and will lead to destruction. Some of the things he sees include a preoccupation with violence "guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children", a suffering of the masses, racism ("a white man who walked a black dog"), maybe patriarchy? ("I met a young woman who's body was burning"), etc. It should also be noted that he sees good things, such as a "young girl who gave me a rainbow" (perhaps symbolizing the movements during that time period like the flower children or the anti-war movements).

    He seems to be point out that large masses of people are suffering, victims of the power structures and the institutions these structures control. "Where the people are many and their hands are empty, Where the pellets of poison are flooding the waters, Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison, Where the executioner's face is always well hidden, Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten". He wants to reach out to these people before it's too late, and he sees a "hard rain" coming, a sense of change that will shake the very roots of civilization (like an allusion to the Flood in Bibical times).

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    Nettythe1st
    click a star to vote
    Jun 24th 2017 report

    I would say 'hard rain' depicts napalm and that the song is about a father talking to his son about his experiences serving in the Vietnam War upon his return. This song was written in 1962 and the USA started backing South Vietnam in the conflict in November 1955. So the timing fits. Bob Dylan was 21 at the time of writing this song. His friends would have been called up for military service. Several of Bob Dylan's songs were about civil rights and he is clearly referring to the injustices of war. Apparently, Bob Dylan would not discuss the meaning of this song. I'm guessing the meaning I am suggesting would have been considered unpatriotic by some Americans.

  4. anonymous
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    Jan 27th report



    "Where black is the color and none is the number" is my favorite lyric of the song.

    I know exactly what this song means. I've felt it.

  5. AlexTona
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    Dec 13th report

    IT IS ALL PROPHETIC (bare with me):


    Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son
    And where have you been, my darling young one

    In Islam, the "white man" is described as the blue eyed deamon, which in this case, a "white man" can de described as a "Christian Man", it being known to Dylan and many Middle Eastern natives as a western faith in modern times. The Blue Eyed son could be Jesus upon his return or could also speak of profets, or even the antichrist. Reference "Sounds of Silence", which states: "The signs of the prophets are written on the subway walls.", also "Times are Changing" has Dylan stating "Come writers and critics, who are prophets with your pens..the chance won't come again (implying urgency in the matter). "Those whose time is worth saving (The Bible says that those who want to keep (Earthly) lives will lose them and that the last will be first. For the loser now will be later to win
    For the times, they are a-changin'"
    You can find Biblical reference in many Rock N Roll Songs.
    The book of Apocalypse states that there will be Thunder, Voices, and an Earthquake when the time has come. "Have you ever seen the rain" -Could be accompanied by a Thunder and a "Hard Rain", while it is also said that the son of God will come as lightning and that even so people will still lack faith in the rapture, it is said the speed of light (like lightning) can surround the earth 7.5 times in a single second.
    Ok getting carried away, lets continue.

    I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
    (?)

    I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
    (?)

    I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
    (7 continents)

    I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
    (7 seas +5 Oceans)

    I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
    10k in the Bible is a number that represents an endless count, which could be a metaphor for Jesus suffering damnation and Death for us, still ultimately defeating it.

    And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
    (End of times)

    Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son
    And what did you see, my darling young one

    I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
    (?)

    I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
    Diamonds "live forever": which could mean the path to faith or righteousness. Unsure though.

    I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'


    I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
    (Oil Drilling. It is said that those who drink the nectar of the Eufrates which is a river which is now in what used to be Babylon will be judged. My opinion is that the nectar is petrol.)

    I saw a white ladder all covered with water
    (Water is the only thing that isn't mentioned in creation, so there was always water for Gods spirit to cover, even in Eternity, it making sense to have a correlation to The End as much as the beginning :Higher up.)

    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
    "Voices of the apocalypse."
    And there were flashes of lightning, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since men were upon the earth--so great was the earthquake, so mighty,-States Revelation 16;18

    I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
    (War)-Could mean militia recruited children but unsure.

    And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

    And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
    And what did you hear, my darling young one?
    I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'

    And there were flashes of lightning, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since men were upon the earth--so great was the earthquake, so mighty,-Revelation

    Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
    Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'

    Usually speaking of drums pre-war. Still unsure.

    Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'

    Again the voices in revelation, madness, silent cries of the oppressed.

    Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'

    It is a spiritual ritual to stop eating but Christ states that the ritual he loves in this manner is to give to the poor, and love one another, otherwise it'd be useless to starve yourself.

    Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
    Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley

    There are two prophets in the book of Revelation who will judge but ultimately be killed in suffering.

    And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
    Oh, what did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
    Who did you meet, my darling young one?

    I met a young child beside a dead pony
    (?) It is said the first horseman will carry a bow. Saggitarius? One of the brightest stars at the beginning of 2020 (40), was that which belonged to the sagitarius constellation, along with Draco and Serpens (The Dragon and The Small Snake).

    I met a white man who walked a black dog
    (?)

    I met a young woman whose body was burning
    It could mean lust, could mean the warning of pregnancies during end of times (also biblical).

    I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
    (¿Gender equality?)

    I met one man who was wounded in love
    I met another man who was wounded with hatred

    Wounded in love (Jesus) and hatred (Satan)?

    And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
    And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
    And what'll you do now, my darling young one?

    I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
    Before the end.

    I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
    One of the seven sad Forrests (continents)

    Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
    Where do you think?

    Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
    ???

    Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
    Almost..

    And the executioner's face is always well hidden
    Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
    (No food, nor Christianity)


    Where black is the color, where none is the number
    (Race and Faith)-AFRICA.

    And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
    Preaching from the Spirit.

    And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
    Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
    Until faith wavers.

    But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
    And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
    It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall

    It is all, already written.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 13th report

    Hard rain is the coming violence in the USA..just as a hail storm destroys the fragile crops.. so the polyglot nature of USA will bring destruction..Dylan studied the newspapers of the US civil war..and saw how quickly men rallied to kill each other.. over what?..nothing.historians know it was not about freeing the black slaves..as Lincoln actually let the south keep their slavery.. if you care to look at the legislation...no.. the USA wants war-it wants continuous wars-it has started a war EVERY generation since arrival- before the mayflower, I mean since ROANOAK and Jamestown..and the reason is very simple but always ignored by your commentators because it makes a lie of 'the god fearing nation'.. it speeds up business and huge profit making..the money men want wars to go on and on..because people(tax payers) have to continually pay them to replace all the destroyed weapons,homes,lives,.. it makes the money move and move fast into their pockets..'the executioner's face is always well hidden'..the words speak for themselves..after all ,you all have to pay the executioners for your demise

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 9th report

    A hard rain is a cleansing, as we see the filth and suffering in the world. The cleansing will make the world good again by washing away the filth and the suffering.

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 8th report

    Definitely speaking about life after a nuclear war and how he saw civilisation. in his own poetic mind.
    We all read what we want in many songs written in a Lyrically poetic and riddle based tune

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2020 report

    Talking about how amazing this great country is and how these vets got treated horribly

  10. anonymous
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    Feb 12th 2020 report

    This song is older then people think Pete Seeger played it in 1956.
    when dylan was on the road woody showed him how to make songs from newspapers. so when dylan was at the New York Public Library looking at pictures on microfiche.
    so the song is a bunch of pictures he looked at in a library that people read into there own meaning

  11. anonymous
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    Jan 29th 2020 report

    I think he describes the situation that he expects after the rather violent brake up with his girlfriend on the cover.

  12. anonymous
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    Dec 16th 2019 report

    See incredible parallels to imagery of Picasso's magnum opus mural picturing the grotesque rubble remainders of a nuclear holocaust.

    Could Dylan have been so observant of another master's genius that they both drew inspiration from the same sagacious taproot?

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 6th 2019 report

    This song screams from the heart and soul of those who lived through the 60’s and early 70’s generation. I lived this too. The only generation that experienced so much change in a short period of time. I was a writer and poet, from this generation and what came from my heart, then, no one understood my words. It was a generation of traumatic change, of loss, of renewals, of open love, peace, war, confusion, drugs, freedom, hate, spontaneous living, pain, homeless living by choice, Nixon, chaos, soul searching, and nothing gave answers that made us feel empowered. These lyrics spilled out from a soul who was living in that generation. It doesn’t need to make sense, these lyrics were like automatic writing, (search the meaning of that). His words were much like the way I wrote. He was true to himself, true to his time and life. It’s that simple to him but that complicated to another. Let it be.


  14. anonymous
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    Nov 13th 2019 report

    I think that he wants us as a society to improve the way that we treat another, like for once treat us like human beings and not objects that u can use

  15. anonymous
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    Jul 13th 2019 report

    It means whatever you think it means and has absolutely no reference or relation to what you think it means: simultaneously.

    If it must "mean" something I humbly suggest it means that Mr. Dylan is a genius and a gift to be treasured. After all: a hard rain's gonna fall.

  16. Teluogirl
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    Jan 12th 2018 report

    Stop trying to "interpret " these words. Just think of this song as a shower for your mind and soul. We accumulate all this dirt,grease and pain from the mass media,political lies and horrors we are forced to witness daily. Let Bob Dylan's powerful poetry pour over you and wake you up.
    He gives us "a rainbow."

  17. anonymous
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    Dec 18th 2017 report

    The motivation and inspiration for this song was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. And with nuclear war looming, it excoriates those people and institutions that not only allow war to happen but also profit from it.

    It was not about the Vietnam War since it had not yet entered the consciousness of the American people. Vietnam didn't become an issue until around 1967 or so. Likewise, it's unlikely that there are references to flower children or flower power since this movement didn't begin until later in the decade.

  18. kooljohn176
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    Nov 22nd 2015 report

    Yes, you can say in some way this song by Bob Dylan [Robert Zimmerman] became prophetic to the people after experiencing the frighting times during this period with the Cuban president Fidel Castro and our American president John F. Kennedy that got themselves in crisis with the Russian nuclear missiles that could've went nuclear on all of us, thank God they did not, but sadly not to long after these crisis our pres. John F. Kennedy was assasinated [sacrificed] that was followed by many many tears that came down as a hard hard rain on us that slowly pushed us head long into the cultural Marxism of terrorism that was beginning to capture our young children to de-Christianized them away from family falues and to alien them in doing they own thing that also turned into a cultural pessimism in our youth and society that was breaking apart.

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