Freewheelin’ Bob nabs the Nobel

As has been documented here over the years, I’m a long-time Dylan fan, so wasn’t completely surprised when it was announced today that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Although, as I said in an email to a friend, I do wonder whether Bob should’ve been disqualified from consideration due to his Victoria’s Secret commercial years ago.)

Bob Dylan in November 1963 (Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Bob Dylan in November 1963 (Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Nonetheless, this year the committee chose to honor Bob Dylan’s work which, on a personal note, feels very fitting because Zebu is studying in Sweden right now. The award also feels fitting because of one Dylan song in particular that tragically never, ever goes out of style. For “Masters of War” alone, I’m good with Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Masters of War
Written by Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand o’er your grave
’Til I’m sure that you’re dead

© 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music

8 thoughts on “Freewheelin’ Bob nabs the Nobel

  1. Paul Simon says there must be 50 ways to leave your lover, but you proved there are 70 ways to love Bob Dylan …
    Random Dylan Items:
    –I always thought that when he was on stage with the Rolling Stones at LiveAid, it was a real missed opportunity to do “Like a Rolling Stone.” Maybe he thought it was too obvious.
    –Dylan is really good at writing songs that other people can sing and make something totally different of. I always like Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” for example.
    –I always liked his “story” songs, like “Positively 4th Street” and “Tangled Up in Blue.” But just for sheer catchiness, I like “Subterranean Homesick Blues.”


    • “… make a new plan, Stan. No need to be coy, Roy…”

      I never thought that about the LiveAid concert. Dylan for sure doesn’t like obvious, except for when he does. (You know, that old double fake-out thing).
      -I completely agree about Dylan interpretations. There are so many of them and Jimi’s is the classic example. I remember reading that Dylan liked that version better than his own.
      -I love the story songs, too, and “Shelter From the Storm” remains a favorite but my first story-song love was “Isis.”
      -And “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was the start of music videos!
      -Thank you for taking the time to read my 70 memories, Jenn. (I reread them for the first time in years after linking to that post, and very much enjoyed my little stroll down memory lane. I’m honored you took the stroll.)


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