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I Am a Lonesome Hobo

(Bob Dylan)

From the album: John Wesley Harding (1968)

 3.7/5 (69 votes)


Bill Cohen I am a lonesome Hobo, without family or friends. Where another man's life begins, that's exactly where mine ends. I'v e tried my hand at bribery, blackmail and deceit. The only thing that he is not guilty of is begging on the streets. Very sad lyrics at a very sad and unsettled time in his life. It was after his motorcycle accident, and he was stranded upstate NY with members of "The Band" He had been thinking about packing it in. He was exhausted, emotionally drained, and yet extremely sucessful. They expected him to carry the torch of rebellion, and subject himself to the job of being a crusader of patriots, madmen, and hangers on. He felt abandoned and at odds with his father who publicly stated that his son was a "corporation" not a person. He knew that if he came back into the mainstream that he would be a lackey, having to do what would make money for Columbia Records, and lead the rebellion. In the end, he did come back, and was always the subject of rumor and gossip. He hated it but never said anything publicly. In his song "Fairwell Angeline he says " call me anything you like, I will never deny it, but fairwell Angelina, the sky is on fire, I must go where it's quiet" It wasn't till the publishing of Modern Times that he ever tells us of his agony and grief, or the years of lonliness and regret. Jan 05, 2007
Bill Cohen This is one of Dylan's very depressing songs. In the lyrical comment he states "I am a lonesome hobo, without family or friends. Where another man's life begins, that's exactly where mine ends" This is an awareness of his wealth, and the fact that in order to win, he must lose many of the things he loves. In a later song "Sylivo", which he performs with the Grateful Dead he says "I can tell you fancy, I can tell you plain, you give something up for everything you gain". Dylan is so aware of gain and loss, but understands that in his case "If you're not busy being born, you're busy dying". There is always an awareness that nothing comes from nothing. Tremendous insight! Aug 17, 2006
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Related songs & albums

All songs on John Wesley Harding
Track Song
1 John Wesley Harding (Bob Dylan)
2 As I Went Out One Morning (Bob Dylan)
3 I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Bob Dylan)
4 All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
5 The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest (Bob Dylan)
6 Drifter's Escape (Bob Dylan)
7 Dear Landlord (Bob Dylan)
8 I Am a Lonesome Hobo (Bob Dylan)
9 I Pity the Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan)
10 The Wicked Messenger (Bob Dylan)
11 Down Along the Cove (Bob Dylan)
12 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan)
I Am a Lonesome Hobo appears on these albums
Year Album
1968 John Wesley Harding