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

Search Login

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

Tagged: Rain [suggest]

Get "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall Lyrics

Play "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"
on Amazon Music

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...


    click a star to vote
    Jan 28th, 2007 1:34pm 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).


    click a star to vote
    Nov 13th, 11:09am 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


    click a star to vote
    Jul 13th, 7:06pm 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.


    click a star to vote
    Jan 12th, 2018 1:06am 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."

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Dec 18th, 2017 12:03am 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.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 24th, 2017 6:05am 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.


    click a star to vote
    Nov 22nd, 2015 11:56pm 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.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 25th, 2015 8:21am report

    This one is to easy. 'Rain' is a poetic reference to the lies and tyranny from the elite, the false churches, false prophets...government, the'military/industrial complex'. I. E.: any entity that lies (rain = lies) to you.
    Doesn't matter what the rest of the song is about, it's a call, a cry...to the sheep...wake the heck up is what Bob is singing about. See also lyrics to: when the rain comes, beatles. Who'll stop the rain, CCR. Many more, enough said.
    T high out,but I'd like to thank the band and I hope I passed the audition.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 29th, 2015 6:56am report

    I saw him in an interview and was asked about the meaning of this song. He said the skies were dark and it looked like it was gonna rain hard. No hidden meaning.


    click a star to vote
    Sep 29th, 2014 9:56am report

    I'd say he'd been experimenting with illegal substances when he wrote it.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 27th, 2014 6:27pm report

    It is about a young man in a small town

    seeing jobs lost peoples lives lost

    about a man facinfg depression and fear

    and yet their is the will for stength to face the world around him


    click a star to vote
    Dec 21st, 2013 12:40pm report

    My guess.
    This song is about a left leaning revolution, overthrowing what he thought were evil capitalist Christian dominated systems.
    The "blue eyed son", is the privileged white wasp who dominates the world circa 1962. He who starts wars and is a racist and subjugates the weak and the meek etc etc.
    1962 there is still Jim crow in the south and all the civil right protest etc.

    Look at it from a left/Jewish perspective a mere 15 years or so from the holocaust.
    I am guessing this based on the times he grew up and who he hung out with(pete seeger etc).
    He is saying look "wasp" look at what you have wrought etc.
    I am not saying I agree with the thoughts, just saying I think this is what he means by the songs.
    It also might explain why he is so coy in explaining it's meaning all these years later.


    click a star to vote
    Jan 15th, 2013 1:40pm report

    I think it means that all these things are happenning in the world, and its going to come to a head, and something is going to happen, maybe something that will wipe the slate clean and start all over


    click a star to vote
    Sep 24th, 2012 9:10am report

    Its a song of hope in youth, and aplea to the people to fight injustices before they go even further. Its a fearless naming of the injustices he sees and encouragement on others to go out and fight them, it was inspired by anti racist and war movements of the time probly but signalled a large scale movement in the west to fight injustices that has blossomed into massive protest groups and ngos.


    click a star to vote
    Feb 1st, 2012 2:17am report

    The new born baby surrounded by wolves was Ho Chi Mins new Republic Of Vietnam and the wolves was all the countries that wanted to fill The void France left when they pulled out. And by the way, U.S. military advisors were in Vietnam in the late 50 s doing just that.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 1st, 2011 7:48am report

    heard the first explanation years ago about cuban Missile Crisis and yada yadayada. its just something Dylan said to get an interviewer off his back anyone who was into following Dylan (a bit too closely) knows he didn't give a straight interview ever. This song is one of my favorites and I think it means whatever you get out of it. Like Dylan's two or three, depending on how you think, surrealistic folk-rock albums, Dylan now is blown away by what he wrote...it just came through him. It took 40 years for me to find out he felt a lot like other WRITERS , poets, songwriters whatever at times feel; when you write something you know is special it feels like you are taking dictation from somewhere else. the words just come to you. I've experienced this myself. for example somewhere in No Direction Home, the film,Dylan plainly explains this. My generation had a lot of us wondering what Dylan meant and the whole time he didn't even know. Its good poetry, not the protest stuff, but "Hard Rain" "chimes of 'Freedom" and the 5t, 6th Dylan album`and maybe Blonde on Blonde songs, though I see a big dropoff on that one.

‹ prev 12

More Bob Dylan song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Glowing anonymous
Glowing anonymous
Must Have Been the Wind anonymous
One Night in Bangkok anonymous
Just a Dream anonymous
Thank U, Next anonymous
Empire (Let Them Sing) anonymous
MIROH anonymous
Where is the love? anonymous
We Don't Live Here No More anonymous
Cold Ethyl anonymous
Dead Hearts anonymous
Dangerous anonymous
everything i wanted anonymous
Not A Love Song anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Blue Collar Boys
Luke Combs
Angels Workin' Overtime
Luke Combs
Dear Today
Luke Combs
New Every Day
Luke Combs
Every Little Bit Helps
Luke Combs
Kelsea Ballerini
Does To Me
Luke Combs
All Over Again
Luke Combs