Entertainment & Arts

Bob Dylan's most famous lyrics

Bob Dylan Image copyright AFP

Over a career lasting more than five decades, Bob Dylan has written hundreds of songs - ranging from elegant ballads to anthemic protests.

The musician has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for creating "new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition".

Here is just a small selection of lyrics that have helped make his reputation as one of the world's greatest singer-songwriters.

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 cannonballs fly

Before they're forever banned?

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

The answer is blowin' in the wind


Copyright 1962 by Warner Bros. Inc. Renewed 1990 by 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'


Copyright 1963, 1964 Warner Bros. Inc. Renewed 1991, 1992 Special Rider Music

I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it

I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it

I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'

I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'

I saw a white ladder all covered with water

I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken

I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard

And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall


Copyright 1963 Warner Bros. Inc. Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

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


Copyright 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 DA

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


Copyright 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?


Copyright 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 13th 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


Copyright 1974 by Ram's Horn Music. Renewed 2002 by 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


Copyright 1985 Special Rider Music

And, finally, one that may not have contributed to the Nobel panel's decision...

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a bowl of soup

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a rolling hoop

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle like a ton of lead

Wiggle - you can raise the dead


Copyright 1990 Special Rider Music

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