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A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

(Bob Dylan)

From the album: The Freewheelin' (1963)

 4.8/5 (287 votes)


Kevin I always thought the lines, a hard rain's a-gonna fall, meant bad thoughts pouring down in your mind. For me, the song is about being aware of the suffering in the world around you and the singer asks, what are you gonna do now? Then the singer tells you what he is gonna do now- he's going to continue to think about it, and continue to make you think about it. That is my take, and there sure is plenty of others out there ta go around. May 19, 2011
Dean DeHarppporte Dylan's best song. Voted one of the 3 best songs of the 20th century by Time Magazine. The haunting images are brilliant poetry and the mysterious weaving of the lyrics to make the song much more profound than even the images themselves is what sets Dylan apart from other song writers. Dylan is at his best in this song. Interesting that he wrote it at age 20. Unfortunately, it has been downhill ever since for Dylan though his writing still exceeds that of 99% of other song writers. When Dylan sings this song today it is even better than when he recorded it in 1963 because Dylan has so much more experience with life and another aspect of his genius is to express the lyrics with more gravity and emotion. The Naura Japan version of the song is the best I have ever heard, which makes it the best song I have ever heard, period. Mar 11, 2006
Bill Cohen This song is a most powerful prophecy. A hard rain is falling now. Floods, famine desolation, poverty, and the threat of nuclear rain. Dylan was once called a young man with the soul of an old prophet. In the summing up in the last book of the Old Testament, Moses predicted that when the children of God Almighty fail to live a moral life that there would be floods, plagues, and all sorts of horrible things. That is what is happening now. Death , destruction, Katrina. And all across the globe the world is reinacting the Cain and Able tragedy, all in the name of some God form. Dylan saw this coming, and maybe we are all going down to the deepest dark forest. There is chaos and despair everywhere, and there is no sign of it slowing down, or stopping no matter what the politicians say. Perhaps this is the second coming of the lord. we have destroyed everything he has given us, and each year it gets worse and worse. As Dylan once said in another song. There is a fear to bring children into this world. The song can be called a lament of doom, but as I look around. we are all living this very song. Mar 07, 2006
Ronny A wonderfull song one of Dylans best songs ever.Fantastic lyrics that something. Jan 13, 2006
Mike The height of Dylan's poeticism. Nov 27, 2005
Marie The meaning of many of the verses may be more to spark a clearer vision rather than a literal understanding. I almost crashed my car while listening to this song once. Have heard this song a thousand times over the years but seem to find something new or "feel" something new each time I hear it. It is, as all Dylan's songs and arrangements, a work of art. Nov 01, 2005
Nina This official original version of this song has seemed too perfect to me: the use of the traditional lyric as the frame sets up too perfectly the themes of loss of innocence, of a world itself corrupted by the generation the song's father-narrator belongs to and who now must suffer his son's visions of this corruption and destruction. The images themselves are chilling in exactly the way Baudelaire is chilling--through juxtapositions and modifiers that seem at first glance to be trivial and realistic, but which somehow shiver in the mind. The performance is a virtuoso demonstration of one of Dylan's characteristic virtuosities--the recitation of a catalogue that seems to deliver narrative and developing emotion, when on paper there is really nothing but a catalogue. The whole thing as it appears on Freewheelin' is perfect--a flawlessness in the world that's like a sheet of glass; my spirit just can't get a toehold on it, what I can do is relish the stupefaction of wonder. Not that this is a small thing, mind you. But. But I heard him perform this song just last month, and that pane of perfect glass shattered. Wow did it shatter. His voice sounding older than the moon itself, this catalogue can't possibly be the son's song of experience provoking the final image of heartbreaking heroism. Now it sounds like another kind of true vision: it's the vision of the underworld that Hamlet's father's ghost claims would harrow up Hamlet's soul if only he were allowed to describe it. That's what he sounds like now, singing this song--it's a truthful report of hell, and shakespeare was right to pretend no one should hear this. Hunched over his piano, in front of an astonishingly scarlet curtain, Dylan chanted out this vision, and when people cheered the line "where black is the color and none is the number," I have no idea whether this is comme il faut since this was the first time I'd ever heard him live--but the cheering was for me the sudden comfort of just plain knowing that other people were in the room with me and also facing the terrible emptiness, terrible terrible, of that image which on paper is basically meaningless. As the song went on, I actually grew angry, as though the singer were burdening me or poisoning me with this vision with no warning. It wasn't like any experience of *art* or *theater* or *performance* I've ever had. I regret being so weak that I am sure I couldn't bear up under it again. I'd like to say I'm envious of people who can *hear* these shadows of performances this powerful behind many songs, and I guess I am, but I also think my Hard Rain will last me a near llifetime. May 26, 2005
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Related songs & albums

All songs on The Freewheelin'
Track Song
1 Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan)
2 Girl from the North Country (Bob Dylan)
3 Masters of War (Bob Dylan)
4 Down the Highway (Bob Dylan)
5 Bob Dylan's Blues (Bob Dylan)
6 A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan)
7 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Bob Dylan)
8 Bob Dylan's Dream (Bob Dylan)
9 Oxford Town (Bob Dylan)
10 Talkin' World War III Blues (Bob Dylan)
11 Corrina, Corrina (Traditional)
12 Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (Bob Dylan, Henry Thomas)
13 I Shall Be Free (Bob Dylan)
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall appears on these albums
Year Album
1963 The Freewheelin'
1971 Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
2002 The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 - Live 1975
2004 The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 - Live 1964
2005 Live at The Gaslight 1962
2005 The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 - No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
2007 Dylan
2010 The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964
2012 The 50th Anniversary Collection