‘Written in my soul from me to you:’ Some Bob Dylan lyrics

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, here’s a look at some of the words that made him famous

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(FILES) This file photo taken on June 3, 1984 shows US singer Bob Dylan performing during a concert at the Olympic stadium in Munich, southern Germany. US songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Literature Prize on October 13, 2016, the first songwriter to win the prestigious award and an announcement that surprised prize watchers. - Germany OUT/ AFP / DPA / Istvan Bajzat

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, lauded for creating “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. Here are lyrics from just a few of the hundreds of songs that he has written over his career. Click on the song name for a YouTube video of it.

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?

Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly

Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1962 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1990 Special Rider Music

Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside

And it is ragin’.

It’ll soon shake your windows

And rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1991, 1992 Special Rider Music


Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?

I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’,

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their 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,

Where black is the colour, where none is the number,

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,

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.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1963 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music


Wintertime in New York town,

The wind blowin’ snow around.

Walk around with nowhere to go,

Somebody could freeze right to the bone.

I froze right to the bone.

New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years”

I didn’t feel so cold then.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1962, 1965 Duchess Music Corp.

Renewed 1990, 1993 MCA


Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll

We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing

As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing

Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight

An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night

An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1964 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1992 Special Rider Music


Maggie comes fleet foot

Face full of black soot

Talkin’ that the heat put

Plants in the bed but

The phone’s tapped anyway

Maggie says that many say

They must bust in early May

Orders from the D. A.

Look out kid

Don’t matter what you did

Walk on your tip toes

Don’t try “No Doz”

Better stay away from those

That carry around a fire hose

Keep a clean nose

Watch the plain clothes

You don’t need a weather man

To know which way the wind blows


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1965 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

You raise up your head

And you ask, “Is this where it is?”

And somebody points to you and says

“It’s his”

And you say, “What’s mine?”

And somebody else says, “Where what is?”

And you say, “Oh my God

Am I here all alone?”

Because something is happening here

But you don’t know what it is

Do you, Mister Jones?


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1965 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns

When they all come down and did tricks for you

You never understood that it ain’t no good

You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you

You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat

Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat

Ain’t it hard when you discover that

He really wasn’t where it’s at

After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1965 Warner Bros. Inc

Renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe

“I thought you’d never say hello,” she said

“You look like the silent type.”

Then she opened up a book of poems

And handed it to me

Written by an Italian poet

From the thirteenth century.

And every one of them words rang true

And glowed like burnin’ coal

Pourin’ off of every page

Like it was written in my soul from me to you,

Tangled up in blue.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press

Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess.

They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,

She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.

I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act

Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.

Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at,

I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that

Sweet lady.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,

Blowing down the backroads headin’ south.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,

You’re an idiot, babe.

It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1974, 2002 Ram’s Horn Music

Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside,

They’re drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide.

I live in another world where life and death are memorised,

Where the earth is strung with lovers’ pearls and all I see are dark eyes.


(Words and Music by Bob Dylan)

1985 Special Rider Music