Positively Bob Dylan

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Mr. Tambourine Man

(Bob Dylan)

From the album: Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

 4.6/5 (624 votes)


chris stone in some version bob has left out verse three chris Jan 02, 2010
Bill This is the Song Of Man....we are wracked by tragedy....irrevocable loss....Yet..."dance beneathe the diamond sky! Amen Brother! Mar 19, 2009
john Tks for that BillCohen. I will look at that scene. Benedict "we sit here stranded, tho we're all doing our best to deny it" this poet (BD) is aware of his lost connection with God. "sometimes I think there are no words but these to tell what's true: there are no truths outside the Gates of Eden." (St. Augustine when prayng said to God: "Our souls are restless until they rest in thee." Good poets will eventually write about God, Great writers will find Him, Apr 29, 2008
r.bard just a beautiful,magical song,and the lyrics/imagery are unapproachable ! thank you bob ! Dec 20, 2007
Derek Elmer During 1995 I was teaching English at the Tuvalu Government School on Vaitupu, an island in the Tuvalu group. A line from "Mr. Tambourine Man", "Before the sky there are no fences facing" helped me understand how my polynesian students thought, whereever they looked was the horizon no limit to their view. Linear and lateral thinking. Useful insight, linear thought is not necessarily superior! May 06, 2007
Larry The first psychedelic vision of rock May 05, 2007
Pete The last verse has been my personal touchstone for close on 42 years now -- "... to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free" ... living in the moment, not ignoring but effectively transcending the tragedy of existence ... Jan 20, 2007
mac The song brings to mind the chapter of the same name in a fascinating book entitled: Redwing, a year and a day. It claims to follow Dylan's stint in a Minnesota reform school in 1958. I couldn't put it down! Jan 20, 2007
Benedict Many people say this is a song about drugs, and yes there are many references, but thats just scratting the surface. Dylan had just abandoned topical songwriting and had written Mr Tambourine Man on a road trip but left it off Another Side of Bob Dylan. In my opinion this song is about inspiration (whether this is inspiration from drugs is debatable). Dylan is restless and aimless he is searching for something, and the places he has been are "too dead for dreaming" and he needs a purpose or somewhere he can go. That is my opinion. Anyone else have any ideas? Sep 06, 2006
BillCohen I believe that Dylan was motivated to do this song, which is so full of imagry from a movie called Zorba The Greek, starring the late Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates. Quinn plays a lost soul soul who is hired in instuct the childish Alan Bates about what it is to be a man. The scene takes place on a beach in Greece under a diamond sky. He tells Bates that there is only one Sin that is unforgivable " that a woman whould invite you to her bed and that you should refuse" Anthony Quinn Goes into a dance, under the beautiful sky with one hand swinging free above his head with tambourines playing in the background. In this fantastic scene Quinn is drunk and high, and his dancing and the visual imagary is very magnificant. In Bob Dylan's song I feel and see a recreation of this lonely kid, drunk and mixed up out on some deserted street in the village dreaming about being Anthony Quinn, or feeling lile the lost person Quinn plays, and asking for some help and direction. In this early sleepless morning he says "I'll come following you" Dylan has said in interviews that he never writes when he feels good. He only writes when he feels sick. The imagery he is able to recreate is very powerful, as his feeling of being lost at the time he wrote that song. People say that nobody sings Dylan like Dylan. I believe that this is very true. The only person who I ever heard sing this song as well as Dylan was an artist named Melanie Saka. The amazing thing about Dylan is that he can bathe himself into the sickness of a song, and then come out again. Melanie had a short career, and never did come out. Mar 26, 2006
PeterK No contest Mar 02, 2006
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Related songs & albums

All songs on Bringing It All Back Home
Track Song
1 Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan)
2 She Belongs to Me (Bob Dylan)
3 Maggie's Farm (Bob Dylan)
4 Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Bob Dylan)
5 Outlaw Blues (Bob Dylan)
6 On the Road Again (Bob Dylan)
7 Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (Bob Dylan)
8 Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan)
9 Gates of Eden (Bob Dylan)
10 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bob Dylan)
11 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
Mr. Tambourine Man appears on these albums
Year Album
1965 Bringing It All Back Home
1967 Greatest Hits
1979 At Budokan
1985 Biograph
1997 The Best of Bob Dylan
1998 The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 - Live 1966
2000 The Essential Bob Dylan
2002 The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 - Live 1975
2004 The Bootleg Series Vol. 6 - Live 1964
2005 The Best Of Bob Dylan
2005 The Bootleg Series Vol. 7 - No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
2007 Dylan
2010 The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964
2010 The Best of the Original Mono Recordings
2015 The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge (1965-1966)