What does It's All Over Now, Baby Blue mean?

Bob Dylan: It's All Over Now, Baby Blue Meaning

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Album cover for It's All Over Now, Baby Blue album cover

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue Lyrics

You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast
Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out the saints are comin' through
And it's all over now,...

  1. anonymous
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    May 2nd 2023 !⃝

    We have a short life on earth, much of it wasted. From the time of our inception, death is searching for us. We search for love. We love and break up. We try over and overn again. We waste our time chasing rainbows and material objects. Some of us become workaholics, only to be put on the street with the trash when we are used up and burned out (The matches) We all become orhans when our parents die. Then we die, seeing the saints. and a sheet is pulled over our body and face. And, then its our time to go and its all over baby Blue.

  2. anonymous
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    May 2nd 2023 !⃝

    We have a short life on earth, much of it wasted. We love and break up. We waste our time chasing rainbows and material ojects, Then we die and its all over baby Blue.

  3. anonymous
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    Jan 22nd 2023 !⃝

    I think it's about a woman shot dead by her (now orphaned) child, who is in the accidental possession of a gun and realizes something horrific has happened (orphan with a gun - crying like fire in the sun). Maybe Dylan has read about a news event where a child accidentally shot its mother.
    The woman now lies on the floor and goes through the steps of dying: first she feels death approaching (saints are coming through - sky is falling over you). There is also the mentioning of her sheets (likely the sheets covering her body, and: the carpet folding over you). Seems as if she is considered dead, perhaps by her lover (who takes the blankets from the floor - blankets that might have kept her warm or soaked the blood).
    The lines: take what you need - whatever you wish to keep, grab it fast - take what you have gathered - suggest that she can take with her immaterial possessions such as memories. Meanwhile: "forget the debt you've left, that won't follow you" suggests the obvious: There are earthly things that cannot follow you into death.
    Lines such as "The highway is for gamblers" and "strike another match, go start anew" I would interpret as metaphors describing life as one moment in eternity of which there are many such as in the concept of rebirth. THey're suggesting that it'S time to move on from this to possibly another life.

  4. Kimbo
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    Oct 24th 2022 !⃝

    The song is about a once beautiful woman, who throughout her life has used her looks to get whatever she desired, now aging and having to face a life in which she will need to make her own way to survive, when she had never even though she would need to.

    You must leave (time offers no options to getting older) Take what you need you think will last (Nothing last forever)

    But whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.(Time waits for no body)

    Yonder stands your orphan with his gun. (An orphan is something you gave birth to and then abandoned, either by choice, or necessity. A gun is something you fight to the death with. She gave birth to a selfish carefree life style and fought as long, and as hard as she could to hang on to it. But age and the loss of her power to manipulate with her beauty, means she now 'must' abandon that life style)

    Crying like a fire in the sun (Nothing could be more futile than a fire in a blazing sun. What the future holds for her with the passage of time is beyond her control...crying about it is futile, nothing can be done)

    Look out, the saints are coming through. (Again, her situation is as inevitable as death itself) And its all over now baby blue (Your gigs up sis, karma has run over your dogma)

    The entire song fits this narrative, it 'all' fits, so I'm just gonna skip to the highlights from here.

    The highway its for gamblers, you better use your sense. Take what you have gather through coincidence (Keep in mind the time period in which the song was penned and the social norms of that time. At her age 35-40 maybe, most women are married, settled, secure in a family home. She gambled that she would land on her feet to, but didn't. Now she's on the hard lonely road of life and having to make her own way. She never had to learn any street smarts to get by so she will now need to use the skills she picked up by coincidence from those who had supported her in the past)

    The empty handed painter from your streets (Like her life so far, an empty handed painter paints nothing, achieves nothing, is pointless) Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets. (crazy patterns are also like her life to this point, meaningless) The sky to is folding under you. (When young, the sky is the limit, we look to the sky to dream. As we age, we reach our limit, we no longer look up and dream what might be, we look back to what they might have been.

    Sea sick sailors, reindeer armies and the lover who just walked out the door represent all the men in her life who have come and gone and won't be coming anymore. The taken blankets and moving carpets are the material things they took with them when they went leaving her with nothing.

    Leave your stepping stones behind, something call for you. (She can no longer chose the easy path, the path walked on the back of others. Age has now chosen her destiny and she has no choice but to follow the ugly path that lay ahead. Forget the dead you left behind, they will not follow you. (This narcissist woman has lied and cheated all of her adult life, she has never been with a man who didnt end up hating her...no past love is coming to her rescue) The vagabond wrapping at her door and standing in the clothes that she once wore is the new, old and poor her, the her she had hoped would never find her but has...and strike another match go start a new, well that's her refusing to accept her new reality, she's going to kick and scream all she can but its pointless,she might just as well go light another fire in the sun because there's no one left to listen...Bob always did write such cheery little jingles about women in a tail spin....once upon a time you dressed so fine.

  5. MichaelS
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    Apr 17th 2021 !⃝

    The song is the 1950 film noir "Gun Crazy" put to music. The plot of "Gun Crazy" is sort of "Bonnie and Clyde" in nature. In this case the character Bart Tare is an orphaned boy living in a small town and has an obsession with guns. "Yonder stands your orphan with his gun". He gets in trouble and is sent to reform school. Eventually he ends up in the Army teaching marksmanship. At a carnival he meets (and ends up marrying) a sharpshooter named Annie Laurie Starr. "Strike another match..." is in reference to a crown of stick matches she wears on her head as part of the act. Bart shoots at the matches from a distance and the bullets light each of the matches.

    They go on a rampage and she kills some people. "Forget the dead you've left, they will not follow you". They travel the highways during their killing spree. "The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense". The police corner them. Bart friends Dave and Clyde show up to attempt to save their lives. That's were we get the line "Look out the saints are comin' through". Laurie was going to shoot them but Bart instead shoots and kills Laurie to save his two friends lives. At that point, "It's all over now Baby Blue". Then Bart is killed by the cops.

  6. anonymous
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    Jan 29th 2020 !⃝

    First verse: "You must leave now, take what you think will last." I believe this is about a breakup, maybe a divorce, but it speaks about a serious relationship that is over. Time to finally say goodbye. Divorces are ugly when the couple starts dividing up the house hold possessions. Most of the time, the female picked out all of the household items so she naturally wants to take them. Dylan questions: Is this what you think is important? These possessions? What about the love we had, the relationship we had? Next verse: "But whatever you want you better grab it fast." I think this is kind of a cheesy rhyme but the meaning is a warning. He is about fed up with her taking possessions and not caring about their lost relationship. The next verse tells more: "Yonder stands your orphan with his gun." He is watching this complete gutting of their life from possessions, to money and their relationship and he is so angry he could shoot her! What about him, his feelings, he is orphaned by her! Alone, no family! But, he makes his feelings clear in the next verse: "Crying like a fire in the sun." Dylan is so angry he could shoot her but he is so hurt that he is crying and sobbing at the loss of their relationship. Crying like a fire in the sun represents a wonderful analogy between a fire in the daytime that no one stands close to because they don't need the heat or the light as apposed to a fire at night that warms everyone around the fire and lights their faces. The next verse is back to the finality of this breakup. "Look out, the Saints are coming through!" Yes, the Saints represent the dead and this relationship is dead, over, finished. Then the next verse brings it all home: "It's all over now Baby Blue!" Dylan is Baby Blue and he is speaking to himself and he has come to the realization that this relationship is over! The next verse is a warning: "The highway is for gamblers, better use your sense!" Dylan is talking to her and explaining that you (maybe with their kids too) are heading out on your own. You need to beware and take care. Previously, Dylan's manager, accountants, bankers, lawyers and others took care of "all" of life's issues. Now she is headed out on her own with no one to advise her. That road is for gamblers so you had better use your sense or you could lose everything. Next verse states: "Take what you have gathered from coincidence." They met, they had a relationship or married and it was just the happenstance of life. Now she is taking most of the personal possessions and a whole bunch of his money because of divorce laws or just separation payment so she doesn't go public and wreck his career and life. The next verse is: "The empty handed painter from your streets, is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets." Dylan was experimenting with artwork and I believe this is a reference to himself as an artist. Your empty handed painter refers to her cleaning him out in the divorce/separation so he is empty handed but he still has his easel and her old sheets on the floor and as he paints to express some of his pain, much as Van Gough expressed, and of course, the dripping paint makes crazy patterns on the sheets. Then Dylan speaks about the end again when he says: "The sky too is folding under you!" I think Dylan is referencing the day going away as the sun folds the day under the earth. Just like with the day being at an end, so is their life together. And, once again Dylan reaches finality with the refrain by telling himself: "And it's all over now Baby Blue." Baby Blue is Dylan and he is facing the facts of the end of this relationship. He then reminisces about their life together and beliefs that they held together: "All your seasick sailors are rowing home and all your empty handed armies are going home." Dylan is referring to the anti war thinking that was prevalent as they fell in love and how he was on the cutting edge of the peace movement. The chosen leader of the movement, whether he wanted that title or not! But, Dylan has moved on philosophically and this may have been part of the break up. She is still a very intent peace/folk person and Dylan is moving away from the Folk Music/Peace philosophy. He is telling her, we don't have to argue about these issues any longer. The army and navy can all go home now. He goes on with the next verse: "Your lover who just walked out the door, has taken all his blankets from the floor." He is her lover but it is over and he is out the door. Taking all his blankets from the floor may be a reference to then not sleeping together and all he had were blankets while sleeping on their couch and not a bed and more importantly, not her bed. And, it could also be restating that all he has left after she has taken everything are a few blankets. But, once again, it is over! The next verse: "The carpet too is moving under you." Guess what, the moving truck is there and not only has Dylan "taken all his blankets from the floor", the movers are taking the rug out from under her feet too. Dylan follows this with the refrain, "It's all over now Baby Blue", which is once again referring to himself and the end of this relationship. Next, Dylan gives words of encouragement. "Leave your stepping stones behind". She has grown through their time together and she is not the innocent young person as in the beginning of their relationship. Dylan continues: "There's something that calls to you." Dylan is talking about how unhappy she is, to the point of wanting to leave the relationship. She believes there is something better out there, away from him. It is calling to her. He adds more encouragement: "Forget the dead, they will not follow you." He is letting her know that their relationship will not come back to haunt her. He is not going to seek to damage or hurt her in any way. He did write this song about her but it is so vague and remote that people are still arguing over what it is about. Dylan continues: "The vagabond that's rapping at your door, is standing in the clothes that you once wore." Dylan is saying the relationship is already over. He is on the outside looking in. He is a vagabond because she has destroyed their home, he is gone, she has taken everything and destroyed his life. Dylan is "standing in the clothes that she once wore". Meaning: She began their relationship with nothing, now she has taken everything and he has nothing! But, Dylan ends on a positive note: "Strike another match and start anew," Dylan is striking a note of acceptance and a lilt of optimism. Start your life over with out me! And, of course, the refrain speaking to himself: "It's all over now Baby Blue!"

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 29th 2020 !⃝

    It's about his girlfriend leaving, while they had true love.

  8. anonymous
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    Jan 22nd 2020 !⃝

    I am surprised that no one thinks it is about death. Your orphan standing in the door can only mean that you are dead.

  9. loveminuszero000
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    Nov 24th 2019 !⃝

    It's about the hypocrisy of the folk movement and how it was falling apart. All his words are very deliberate and related here. When says "empty handed painter from your streets, drawing patterns on your sheets" It conveys opposite lifestyles. One is a picture of a homeless artist, while the other, a picture of pampered domesticity. The painter is scrawling messages like the writing on the wall. He's saying that the protagonist lost her authenticity when her art became about making money. Which is a metaphor for the folk scene. To me, it's also about how far removed the rich kids in the folk scene were from the people they were supposedly fighting for. Maybe that's what the "yonder stands your orphan" line is about. The verse "the vagabond who's rapping at your door", is also about the lack of authenticity within the movement and how all these rich kids used to pretend to be down and out in the trenches but now they've retreated back to their comfortable domestic lifestyles. The vagabond is the metaphorical chicken who has come home to roost. It's a "put up or shut up" line. This song and Queen Jane are very much related. He's imploring Blue to jump ship now before she goes down with it. All the sailors have gone, the soldiers have gone, even her lover,(closest to her heart) has gone. He's also saying that there's something new coming so it's ok to let go of the past. When he wrote the song, the beat movement/folk movement was on it's way out and the hippie movement was on it's way in.

  10. anonymous
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    Jun 18th 2019 !⃝

    All about a brief interlude with heroin.

  11. grayson
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    Nov 16th 2017 !⃝

    i think it's about change and moving on. people may have wanted him to stay a certain way, but it bored him. their loss, our gain

  12. Phobee
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    Jul 6th 2017 !⃝

    I'm new to this so forgive an amateurish attempt but I'm going through a sort of breakup of my own and I wonder...could the song be about an actual breakup with his lover who has had an abortion? The orphan with his gun crying like a fire in the sun could be the child that that is angry and never had a chance. Then the saints are coming through - taking the child's spirit away or at least adding a religious tonality. Later he tells her to leave her dead behind they will not follow you and to start over. I don't know Dylan's religious or political leanings but just thought I'd ask what people thought. BTW I'm the female in this breakup.

  13. anonymous
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    Oct 23rd 2016 !⃝

    To me it has always been clear. Good bye to the Folk Music that made him The Headliner at Newport in 1965 and hello to his future as a Legend in Folk-Rock.
    You can be both and he is. That's what inspired artists do, others should have seen it coming.

  14. anonymous
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    Nov 9th 2015 !⃝

    In the long paragraph above, the writer pretty well nails it, though it shouldn't take that long. This was one of several songs Dylan wrote about the time when he "moved on" from what many considered the sacred camp of "real folk music." The other two are Maggie's Farm which he sang at Newport that famous night in 1965, and also Tamborine Man. "To dance beneath the velvet sky with one hand waving free..... and but for the sky there are no fences facing." But everybody wants you too be just like them. They sing while you slave and I just get bored" Dylan was moving on, following (as always) his own muse, but I think he felt some degree of hurt at the vehemence of those who felt he was a Judas. But for that pristine and holy "real folk music" movement, it was indeed "all over now." The times were changing fast. Breaking free of outside constraints and being free are recurring themes in many Dylan songs.

  15. anonymous
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    Oct 7th 2010 !⃝

    This song is simple: A bad breakup, resulting in possessions being grabbed and even street people getting a hold of your sheets and clothing. Hit the highway (51 ?) ? Time to go back home like the soldiers and sailors...... leaving your previous life behind (stepping stones, your dead). Light another cigarette and move on.

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