Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited Meaning
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Highway 61 Revisited Lyrics
Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son", Abe says, "Man, U must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?", God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
anonymous Jun 11th, 2013 6:51am report
First verse: Pretty clear, poking fun at Old Testament God (you know before He lightened up and started loving everyone)
Second verse: Dylan was a political voice even if he hated it, he couldn't help but comment on his surroundings. Writers make observations constantly. LBJ's "Great Society" is part of this verse plus it also uses old Village drug references
Third verse: Red, White, & Blue shoe strings- an unravelled America.. Vietnam was tearing the nation apart along all kinds of demographics, 1000 telephones that don't ring are kids "beyond the command" of their parents
Fourth verse: References in this one go to Robert J... Second mother with the Seventh son, second mother is whore of Babylon who will give birth to seventh son which is associated with the anti-christ- it's a good vs evil verse and the blurred lines between the two
fifth verse: politicians and businessmen who only increase their status and wealth through the suffering of others, "put bleachers up for the next world war", one rule of politics is war is good business
But really, Dylan wants people to think and interpret for themselves things he says cause most stuff he had no idea he just knew it was good (Dylan was my semester project for a class on the Sixties), most musicians say they don't write songs they are just the "divining rod" that yanks them out of space and Bob claims this in the same way.. he's a junkie for literature and a search for, I don't want to say God, but an idea close to the idea of God. He recognizes change as a universal law like gravity and modeled his entire life after that law. His appearance changed more in the 1960's than Michael Jackson did throughout his entire life and he constantly changed musical genres, styles, and techniques. "An artist never has to reach a point where he feels comfortable. That's when he gets in trouble."- Bob Dylan
Also, Highway 61 is, here in the heart of the South, supposed to be some opening to hell, again to the RJ deal and Dylan says he sold his soul... when an artist says this it is not literal. It means they have found what they love and will never stop like a fantasy they can't believe. Jay-Z says he sometimes feels like he is getting away with murder and says the same regarding his soul. Dylan will die on stage because he sold his soul to music and in heaven, Satan was the musician of God.
joseph.hester.7 Jan 15th, 2013 1:35pm report
Highway 61 is the road/path linking New Orleans and Chicago taken by the old bluesmen, and the song exaggerates the many stories told by these bluesman where it seems that anything and everything happens out on the road...highway 61, revisited means that now he's out there travelling this road from place to place going from one gig to the next, and all things can and do happen to a
travelling minstral such as himself, and he's telling the stories of his time.
anonymous Aug 23rd, 2011 8:40pm report
if u look at a map of where highway 61 runs through our country it is the heartland, the middle of the country. i think the reference is to where things or people can get lost, how easy it is to con the american people, where to dump the unwanted, just send it all down highway 61.
Immanuelkant Jan 7th, 2011 1:42pm report
Bob Dylan was very familiar with Biblical scripture, with all those seemingly arbitrary allegories in the Old Testament with their references to the Seventh Son or the three Days in The Fish (it's not a Whale!) and Forty Days Forty Nights Forty years, etc. (If you thumb through The Book of Revelation, you'll find all sorts of numbers and Sons and Fathers and weeping women for Seven Years. Anyway, for a young man, as well as an unbeliever he knew more than most Christians (Ha!)
One critic penned these early songs as "Humories Impurities" (satirical jabs at Religious (esp. American Christianity) Self-Righteousness and blatant hypocrisy)--see the second song on Highway 61 Revisited--"John The Baptist after torturing a thief looks up to his Commander and Chief and asks is their a hole that I can get sick in?"
The bottom line is that Dylan has a great sense of humor. Whether this song is about saving the planet or an answer to the riddle of The Sphinx is immaterial--only addled-head Hippies thought that way about him and his work. The bottom line is that it's hilarious and a great tune for a College Toga Party. Ha!
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