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Like A Rolling Stone

Like A Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited

Song Meaning and Background to Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan

According to one report, Dylan's lengthy poem was 20 pages long; another said it was six pages long. Dylan described the poem as "just a rhythm thing on paper all about my steady hatred, directed at some point that was honest."

Over the course of three days, Dylan honed the song at home in Woodstock, New York, until it was down to that aggressive chorus and four tense lines that were rife with incisive metaphor and succinct truth

In 1965, after returning from a tour of the United Kingdom documented in the film Dont Look Back, Dylan was unhappy with the direction his career was taking, and considered quitting the music business.

He said in a 1966 Playboy interview: 'Last spring, I guess I was going to quit singing. I was very drained, and the way things were going, it was a very draggy situation ... But 'Like a Rolling Stone' changed it all. I mean it was something that I myself could dig. It's very tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don't dig you.'

Dylan told interviewers that "Like a Rolling Stone" began as a long piece of "vomit" (10 pages long according to one account, 20 according to another) that later acquired musical form.

It is regarded as one of the most important pieces in postwar popular music because it helped Dylan complete the transition from folk performer to rock star.

Song Lyrics of Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan

Once upon a time you dressed so fine

You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"

You thought they were all kiddin' you

You used to laugh about

Everybody that was hangin' out

Now you don't talk so loud

Now you don't seem so proud

About having to be scrounging for your next meal


How does it feel?

How does it feel

To be without a home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?


You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely

But you know you only used to get juiced in it

And nobody's ever taught you how to live out on the street

And now you're gonna have to get used to it

You said you'd never compromise

With the mystery tramp, but now you realize

He's not selling any alibis

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes

And say do you want to make a deal?


How does it feel?

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

A complete unknown

Like a rolling stone?


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

When they all 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?


Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

They're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made

Exchanging all precious gifts

But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe

You used to be so amused

At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used

Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse

When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose

You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal


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?

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Bob Dylan


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