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Bob Dylan's Fifteen Best Closing Lines

Updated on May 22, 2020

Bob Dylan Usually Finished His Songs With A Flourish

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One year shy of becoming an octogenarian, Bob Dylan celebrates birthday number 79 on Sunday, May 24. The Pulitzer Prize winning songwriter, whose influence has been incalculable, has a new album coming out just a few weeks after he blows out the many candles on his cake.

While we await that new record, however, let us look back on the wealth of words in his discography, a very weighty list with albums ranging from folk to rock to spiritual to blues. Although the music runs the gamut of genre, the one aspect of Dylan that all of the works have in common is the lyrical quality.

What has always impressed me most about his poetry are his closing lines, whether they intone anger, sadness, or philosophy. Thus, in honor of his birthday, here are fifteen of Dylan's best endings,

1. "Don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road"
Song: The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
Album: John Wesley Harding

2. "Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?"
Song: Ballad in Plain D
Album: Another Side of Bob Dylan

3. "I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes, you'd know what a drag it is to see you"
Song: Positively Fourth Street
Album: Blond on Blonde (bonus track)

4. "If you don't underestimate me, I won't underestimate you"
Song: Dear Landlord
Album: John Wesley Harding

5. "I never asked for your crutch, now don't ask for mine"
Song: Fourth Time Around
Album: Blond on Blonde

6. "Concerning all the boys that come down a road like me, are they enemies or victims of your society?"
Song: Ballad of Donald White
Album: The Times They Are a-Changin' (Bonus track)

7. "I'll watch as you're lowered down to your deathbed, and I'll stand over your grave till I'm sure you are dead."
Song: Masters of War
Album: Freewheelin''

8. "If God's on our side, He'll stop the next war"
Song: With God On Our Side
Album: The Times They Are a-Changin'

9. "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles"
Song: Subterranean Homesick Blues
Album: Bringing It All Back Home

10. "At times I think there are no words but these to tell what's true, there are no truths outside the gates of Eden"
Song: Gates of Eden
Album: Bringing It All Back Home

11. "Outside in the distance a wild cat did growl, two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl"
Song: All Along the Watchtower
Album: John Wesley Harding

12. "Stay free from petty jealousies, live by no man's code, hold your judgment for yourself lest you wind up on this road"
Song: I am a Lonesome Hobo
Album: John Wesley Harding

13. "Like the red rose of summer that blooms in the day, time passes slowly and fades away"
Song: Time Passes Slowly
Album: New Morning

14. "True love needs no company, it can cure the soul, make it whole, if dogs run free"
Song: If Dogs Run Free
Album: Planet Waves

15. "Beyond the horizon, the sky is blue, I've got more than a lifetime to live lovin' you"
Song: Beyond the Horizon
Album: Modern Times

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