Bob Dylan’s rise to fame is no secret. Songs like “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “Chimes of Freedom” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” fueled the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements in the U.S., turning Dylan into the face for change, albeit reluctantly, during the 1960s. But the Voice of Protest also had a heart whose strings were plucked as much as his old Gibson J50. Dylan wrote about love, heartache and everything in between, doing so better than many of his peers or those that proceeded him. Really, everything you need to know on the subject can be taught by listening to Dylan. Here are seven aspects of love and heartache that you can learn from seven of Dylan’s songs.
You’ll Do Crazy Things For Love
Song: “She Belongs to Me”
You will start out standing
Proud to steal her anything she sees
But you will wind up peeking through her keyhole
Down upon your knees
Don’t let the song title fool you – you are NOT in charge here. You’re so smitten that you will do anything the person asks and are powerless to do otherwise. Maybe something as crazy as steal (a car? Who knows, you’re totally unstable right now).
Love Can Be Really Depressing
Song: “Love Sick”
I’m walkin’ through streets that are dead
Walkin’, walkin’ with you in my head
My feet are so tired
My brain is so wired
And the clouds are weepin’
Love is literally taking a physical toll on your body: you can’t sleep, can’t eat and absolutely cannot think straight. Yup, love can be a total downer sometimes.
Love Can Turn Your World Upside Down
Song: “‘Til I Fell In Love With You”
I just don’t know what I’m gonna do
I was all right ’til I fell in love with you
You just go about your normal day: eat, sleep, work, watch TV, maybe you go bowling on Wednesday nights – whatever floats your boat. But then that certain someone walks into your life and it all goes to hell. You find yourself lost in daydreams and in at least a perpetual half-smile. Goodbye, normalcy.
Love Can Make You Bitter
Song: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time But don’t think twice, it’s all right”Love can leave a bad taste in your mouth, and we mean that in the most figurative way possible.
It’s OK To Let The One That Left You Be Happy
Song: “If You See Her, Say Hello”
If you get close to her kiss her once for me
I always have respected her for doing what she did and getting free
Oh whatever makes her happy I won’t stay in the way
We defer to the man who has endured the highest of highs and the lowest of lows when it comes to love and heartache: Californication‘s Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny). We chose “If You See Her, Say Hello,” but Hank recommends Blood on the Tracks in its entirety.
Sometimes You Rather Have Love, But Presents Are OK Too
Song: “Boots of Spanish Leather”
And yes, there’s something you can send back to me
Spanish boots of Spanish leather
This song is about a couple who tries to keep it together after the woman goes abroad, but once the man realizes she’s never coming back, he asks her to send him the boots in question. All you want is for the person you love so deeply to return to you, but if you can’t have that, sometimes material things will temporarily dull the pain.
Still, Love Can Be The Greatest Thing Ever
Song: “Lay Lady Lay”
I long to see you in the morning light
I long to reach for you in the night
Stay, lady, stay, stay while the night is still ahead
It’s pretty simple. Sometimes the best thing in life is being in love and holding that person for what feels like forever. There’s no place you rather be than with them. Of course we were going to leave you on a high note. We’re not monsters.
– E.J. Judge, WCBSFM New York
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