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Dennis McDougal’s Dylan & “Idiot Wind” Lyrics

September 8, 2014

Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. Bob Dylan

I just finished Dennis McDougal’s  Dylan (2014), a brilliant new biography about, well, Bob Dylan.  In addition to being thoroughly researched and meticulously documented, it gave me a new appreciation for the artist, the man and the mystery shrouding his personal life.  Some artists just aren’t as candid about their lives as others, and Dylan himself is notorious for misdirection, half-fictions and flat-out lies.

I was especially fascinated by the production anecdotes behind Blood On The Tracks, which author McDougal claimed to be one of the very first breakup albums in the history of rock and roll.  Dylan was so intent on making sure that the album was perfect that (after re-shuffling the track order), he scrapped half of the songs and re-recorded them weeks before its release.  Many Dylan fans consider the album a return to form for the first time since his famous motorcycle accident in 1966.

I’ve always loved Blood On The Tracks.  As an album, it took you on a journey from start to finish.  Sadly (in this post-iTunes era), the concept of a thematic album is a thing of the past.  Out of a newfound appreciation for the album, I thought I’d share the lyrics for one of my top 5 all-time favorite Dylan songs, “Idiot Wind” from Blood On The Tracks: 

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out but when they will I can only guess.
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts.
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at,
I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth,
Blowing down the back roads headin’ south.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven’t known peace and quiet for so long I can’t remember what it’s like.
There’s a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door,
You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle.

I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are makin’ me see stars.
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies.
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzin’ around your eyes,
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,
Blowing through the curtains in your room.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart.
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped,
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom.

I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed, your eyes
Don’t look into mine.
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone-faced while the building
Burned.
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees, while the springtime
Turned Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin’ I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin’ glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free,
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me.
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered nor the pain I rise above,
And I’ll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love,
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats,
Blowing through the letters that we wrote.
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves,
We’re idiots, babe.
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

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One comment

  1. Follow my Blog? I do reviews on Rock n Roll Autobiographies.

    therealrene.wordpress.com

    Like



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