Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue (Video)

Lyrics:

[Verse 1]
Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wondering if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was going to be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough
And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues
Getting through
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 2]
She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam, I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walking away
I heard her say over my shoulder
“We’ll meet again someday
On the avenue”
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 3]
I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I lucky was to be employed
Working for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 4]
She was working in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at the side of her face
In the spotlight, so clear
And later on, when the crowd thinned out
I was just about to do the same
She was standing there, in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name?”
I muttered something underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit, I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 5]
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 burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 6]
I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when it finally, the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

[Verse 7]
So now I’m going back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter’s wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t know what they’re doing with their lives
But me, I’m still on the road
A-heading for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in blue

Image result for Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue

Tangled Up in Blue” is a song by Bob Dylan. It appeared on his album Blood on the Tracks in 1975. Released as a single, it reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100Rolling Stone ranked it #68 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The Telegraph has described the song as “The most dazzling lyric ever written, an abstract narrative of relationships told in an amorphous blend of first and third person, rolling past, present and future together, spilling out in tripping cadences and audacious internal rhymes, ripe with sharply turned images and observations and filled with a painfully desperate longing.”[1]

“Tangled Up in Blue” is one of five songs on Blood on the Tracks that Dylan initially recorded in New York City in September 1974 and then re-recorded in Minneapolis in December that year; the later recording became the album track and single. One of the September 1974 outtakes was released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.

According to novelist Ron RosenbaumBob Dylan once told him that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue”, after spending a weekend immersed in Joni Mitchell‘s 1971 album Blue.[2]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue

Lyrics

“Tangled Up in Blue” is one of the clearest examples of Dylan’s attempts to write “multi-dimensional” songs which defied a fixed notion of time and space. Dylan was influenced by his recent study of painting and the Cubist school of artists, who sought to incorporate multiple perspectives within a single plane of view. As Neil McCormick remarked in 2003: “A truly extraordinary epic of the personal, an unreliable narrative carved out of shifting memories like a five-and-a-half-minute musical Proust.”[3] In a 1978 interview Dylan explained this style of songwriting: “What’s different about it is that there’s a code in the lyrics, and there’s also no sense of time. There’s no respect for it. You’ve got yesterday, today and tomorrow all in the same room, and there’s very little you can’t imagine not happening”.[4]

The lyrics are at times opaque, but the song seems to be (like most of the songs on the album) the tale of a love that has, for the time being, ended, although not by choice; the last verse begins:

So now I’m goin’ back again,
I got to get to her somehow…

and ends

We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view,
Tangled up in blue.

Dylan continually re-worked the lyrics even after the album was released; the version on his live album Real Live (and throughout the ’84 Europe tour) has radically different lyrics. In the first studio version (NYC sessions, September ’74) and often in live performances he has sung some of the verses from a third-person perspective (usually “he was laying in bed,” but sometimes even “she was laying in bed”), as opposed to the first-person point of view in the Blood on the Tracks version. Dylan has said that the version recorded on the 1984 Real Live album is the best.[5] Dylan has often stated that the song took “ten years to live and two years to write”.[6]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue

Covers and references

The song has been covered by various artists, including Great WhiteJerry GarciaDickey Betts and Great Southern, Mike McClureThe ByrdsHalf JapaneseRobyn Hitchcock, the Indigo GirlsKim LarsenKT TunstallAni DifrancoThe String Cheese IncidentJennifer Charles and The Whitlams.

In the Hootie & the Blowfish song “Only Wanna Be with You“, Darius Rucker sings: Yeah I’m tangled up in blue / Only wanna be with you / You can call me your fool / Only wanna be with you. The reference extends a string of mentions of Bob Dylan in the song, beginning at the start of the second verse: Putting on a little Dylan …. The song’s rhythm itself seems to be inspired by Dylan’s original track.

Barb Jungr and Louis Durra have recorded jazz versions.

The Belgian TV-host Bart Peeters, who is also a singer-songwriter, made a Dutch version of the song. The lyrics are modified by him, and as a result he tells a more personal story about how he met his wife. The Dutch title is “Prachtig in het blauw” ([looking] beautiful in blue).

Texas Country artist Hayes Carll includes the lyrics “You was openly frustrated / you said Dylan’s overrated / while singing Tangled Up In Blue” in his 2011 song “Another Like You”.

The song is a playable track on Rock Band 2, as the most difficult song in the vocal section, and the final song for the player to complete in the “Impossible Vocal Challenge”.

Science fiction author Joan D. Vinge published Tangled Up in Blue in 2000[7] as the fourth book in her Hugo Award-winning “Snow Queen” series.

A female artist named Sami quotes the lines, “We’ll meet again someday on the avenue/tangled up in blue” in Michael Corrigan‘s book These Precious Hours.

Former Dublin Gaelic Football player Dessie Farrell titled his autobiography Tangled Up in Blue.

The song appears in 2012 film People like us.

Footnotes

  1. Jump up^ McCormick, Neil (18 November 2013). “Bob Dylan: 30 greatest songs”

    . Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-11-19.

  2. Jump up^ Rosenbaum, Ron (2007-12-14). “The Best Joni Mitchell Song Ever”

    SlateISSN 1091-2339

    . Retrieved 2016-10-20.

  3. Jump up^ “The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan”, Nigel Williamson, ISBN 1-84353-139-9
  4. Jump up^ Interview with Jonathan Cott, Rolling Stone 11/16/78
  5. Jump up^ Toby Creswell (2007), “Tangled Up in Blue”, 1001 Songs

    , p. 469, ISBN 1742731481

  6. Jump up^ Sanburn, Joel (May 19, 2011). “The 10 Best Bob Dylan Songs”

    Time. Retrieved July 1, 2014.

  7. Jump up^ Tangled Up in Blue

    , Joan Vinge, TOR Books, 2000, ISBN 978-0-8125-7636-8

 

 

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