Monday, November 19, 2012

Bob Dylan Quotes

1. A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.


2. What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.

3. People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.


4. All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.

5. At times in my life the only place I have been happy is when I am on stage.

6. I am against nature. I don't dig nature at all. I think nature is very unnatural. I think the truly natural things are dreams, which nature can't touch with decay.

7. All I can do is be me, whoever that is.


8. I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me.






9. I don't think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking theres some kind of change.


10. Chaos is a friend of mine.

11. Democracy don't rule the world. You'd better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, but I guess that's better left unsaid.

12. Don't matter how much money you got, there's only two kinds of people: there's saved people and there's lost people.


13. All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.


14. He not busy being born is busy dying.

15. Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.

16. I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet.

17. A mistake is to commit a misunderstanding.


18. Being noticed can be a burden. Jesus got himself crucified because he got himself noticed. So I disappear a lot.


19. A poem is a naked person...Some people say that I am a poet.



20. This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by those that never listen to music anyway.

21. To live outside the law, you must be honest.


22. People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around - the music and the ideas.


23. I define nothing. Not beauty, not patriotism. I take each thing as it is, without prior rules about what it should be.


24. Money doesn't talk, it swears.

25. No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.

26. Yesterday's just a memory, tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be.

27. Basically you have to suppress your own ambitions in order to be who you need to be.


28. A song is anything that can walk by itself.


29. A lot of people can't stand touring but to me it's like breathing. I do it because I'm driven to do it.



30. I like America, just as everybody else does. I love America, I gotta say that. But America will be judged.

31. I say there're no depressed words just depressed minds.


32. I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.

33. There is nothing so stable as change.

34. The radio makes hideous sounds.

35. I think a poet is anybody who wouldn't call himself a poet.


36. In ceremonies of the horsemen, even the pawn must hold a grudge.


37. You're going to die. You're going to be dead. It could be 20 years, it could be tomorrow, anytime. So am I. I mean, we're just going to be gone. The world's going to go on without us. All right now. You do your job in the face of that, and how seriously you take yourself you decide for yourself.

38. When you cease to exist, then who will you blame?


39. I have dined with kings, I've been offered wings. And I've never been too impressed.


40. But even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.

41. I'm just glad to be feeling better. I really thought I'd be seeing Elvis soon.

42. Colleges are like old-age homes, except for the fact that more people die in colleges.


43. If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself.


44. I don't think I've ever been an agnostic. I've always thought there's a superior power, that this is not the real world and that there's a world to come.

45. Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything.

46. I stopped smoking. When I stopped smoking, my voice changed...so drastically, I couldn't believe it myself.


47. In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall.




48. Anybody can be specific and obvious. That's always been the easy way. It's not that it's so difficult to be unspecific and less obvious; it's just that there's nothing, absolutely nothing, to be specific and obvious about.


49. Being on tour is like being in limbo. It's like going from nowhere to nowhere.

50. Death to me means nothing as long as I can die fast.

51. Folk music is a bunch of fat people.

52. Having these colossal accolades and titles, they get in the way.


53. I became interested in folk music because I had to make it somehow.

54. Here's the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don't find it anywhere else.

55. I can't act!

56. I can be jubilant one moment and pensive the next, and a cloud could go by and make that happen.


57. I can't see myself singing the same song twice in a row. That's terrible.



58. I can't stand to see myself on television.



59. I don't think I'm tangible to myself.

60. I change during the course of a day. I wake and I'm one person, and when I go to sleep I know for certain I'm somebody else.


61. I felt like I might as well have been living in another part of the solar system.




62. I never saw myself as a folk singer.





63. I kinda live where I find myself.



64. I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that. Real people, real street scenes, behind the curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs, staged setups, architecture, grids, graphic design. Whatever it takes to make it work.


65. I really didn't consider myself happy or unhappy.

66. I realize I don't do a very good job in keeping up to date, but I try to.

67. I think I have a dualistic nature.

68. I'm inconsistent, even to myself. 


69. I'm not a playwright.

70. I'm mortified to be on the stage, but then again, it's the only place where I'm happy.

71. I'm more of an adventurous type than a relationship type.

72. I'm sick of giving creeps money off my soul.


73. I'm not the kind of cat that's going to cut off an ear if I can't do something.

74. I'm speaking for all of us. I'm the spokesman for a generation.

75. I've never written a political song. Songs can't save the world. I've gone through all that.

76. Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.

77. It's not easy to define poetry. 


78. Look, when I started out, mainstream culture was Sinatra, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Sound of Music. There was no fitting into it then and of course, there's no fitting into it now.



79. It's hard to speculate what tomorrow may bring.


80. My range is limited. 


81. My songs always sound a lot better in person than they do on the record.

82. My father probably thought the capital of the world was wherever he was at the time. It couldn't possibly be anyplace else. Where he and his wife were in their own home, that, for them, was the capital of the world.

83. Nothing can affect my voice, it's so bad.


84. People have different emotional levels. Especially when you're young.


85. Some formulas are too complex and I don't want anything to do with them.



86. The people in my songs are all me.

87. The land created me. I'm wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I'm more at home in the vacant lots.


88. Some people seem to fade away but then when they are truly gone, it's like they didn't fade away at all.



89. The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.

90. What did I owe the rest of the world? Nothing.


91. Well, the future for me is already a thing of the past.


92. You call yourself what you want to call yourself.

93. What good are fans? You can't eat applause for breakfast. You can't sleep with it.

94. You can't be happy by doing something groovy.


95. You can't do something forever. 








96. You just don't wake up one day and decide that you need to write songs.

97. You hear a lot about God these days: God, the beneficent; God, the all-great; God, the Almighty; God, the most powerful; God, the giver of life; God, the creator of death. I mean, we're hearing about God all the time, so we better learn how to deal with it. But if we know anything about God, God is arbitrary.


98. You can't imagine parlor ballads drifting out of high-rise multi-towered buildings. That kind of music existed in a more timeless state of life.



99. You learn from a conglomeration of the incredible past - whatever experience gotten in any way whatsoever.


100. Play it f... loud!

101. Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.

102. And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinking.

103. Don't criticize what you can't understand.

104. Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don't mean.


105. I think women rule the world and that no man has ever done anything that a woman either hasn't allowed him to do or encouraged him to do.


106. Gonna change my way of thinking, make my self a different set of rules. Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.

107. May your heart always be joyful. May your song always be sung.


108. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.




109. When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it - don't back down and don't give up - then you're going to mystify a lot of folks.


110. Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.





111. You can never be wise and be in love at the same time.


112. DESTINY is a feeling you have that you know something about yourself nobody else does. The picture you have in your own mind of what you're about WILL COME TRUE. It's a kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it's a fragile feeling, and you put it out there, then someone will kill it. It's best to keep that all inside.


113. If you try to be anyone but yourself, you will fail; if you are not true to your own heart, you will fail. Then again, there's no success like failure.



114. You need something to open up a new door, to show you something you seen before but overlooked a hundred times or more.

115. To live outside the law you must be honest.


116. Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues; you can tell by the way she smiles.


117. Even if you don't have all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have that you don't want (Bob Dylan's dad)

118. It's a wicked life, but what the hell, the stars ain't falling down.

119. You're gonna have to serve somebody; well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna have to serve somebody...


120. I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now.

121. When you asked me how I was doing, was that some kind of joke?

122. There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate, so let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

123. If the point is sharp, and the arrow is swift, it can pierce through the dust no matter how thick.

124. Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison.


125. There's no black and white, left and right to me anymore; there's only up and down and down is very close to the ground. And I'm trying to go up without thinking about anything trivial such as politics. They has got nothing to do with it. I'm thinking about the general people and when they get hurt. 


126. Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. 


127. That ear - I mean, Jesus, he's got to will that to the Smithsonian.  (In reference to Brian Wilson, Newsweek 1997)


128. Because Dickens and Dostoevsky and Woody Guthrie were telling their stories much better than I ever could, I decided to stick to my own mind.

129. Sometimes you say things in songs even if there's a small chance of them being true. And sometimes you say things that have nothing to do with the truth of what you want to say and sometimes you say things that everyone knows to be true. Then again, at the same time, you're thinking that the only truth on earth is that there is no truth on it. Whatever you are saying, you're saying in a ricky-tick way. There's never time to reflect. You stitched and pressed and packed and drove, is what you did.


130. The road out would be treacherous, and I didn’t know where it would lead but I followed it anyway. It was a strange world ahead that would unfold, a thunderhead of a world with jagged lightning edges. Many got it wrong and never did get it right. I went straight into it. It was wide open. One thing for sure, not only was it not run by God, but it wasn’t run by the devil either.

131. I put one on the turntable and when the needle dropped, I was stunned - didn't know whether I was stoned or straight.  (Referring to the first Woody Guthrie record he ever heard, on Chronicles 2004)

132. Morality has nothing in common with politics. (Chronicles: Vol. One 2004)


133. I had ambitions to set out and find, like an odyssey or going home somewhere… set out to find… this home that I’d left a while back and couldn’t remember exactly where it was, but I was on my way there. And encountering what I encountered on the way was how I envisioned it all. I didn’t really have any ambition at all. I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be, and so, I’m on my way home, you know? (No Direction Home 2005)

134. He's a pinboy. He also wears suspenders. He's a real person. You know him, but not by that name... I saw him come into the room one night and he looked like a camel. He proceeded to put his eyes in his pocket. I asked this guy who he was and he said: "That's Mr. Jones." Then I asked this cat: "Doesn't he do anything but put his eyes in his pocket?" And he told me: "He puts his nose on the ground." It's all there, it's a true story. (When asked about the meaning of the song "Ballad of a Thin Man" during a 1965 interview.)

135. Someone handed me Mexico City Blues in St. Paul (Minnesota) in 1959 and it blew my mind. It was the first poetry that spoke my own language. (On the influence of Jack Kerouac, as quoted in Jack Kerouac (2007) by Alison Behnke, p. 100)

136. It’s not a character like in a book or a movie. He’s not a bus driver. He doesn’t drive a forklift. He’s not a serial killer. It’s me who’s singing that, plain and simple. We shouldn’t confuse singers and performers with actors. Actors will say: "My character this, and my character that." Like beating a dead horse. Who cares about the character? Just get up and act. You don’t have to explain it to me. (Bob Dylan, interview with Bill Flanagan. telegraph.co.uk 13 Apr 2009).

137. It's peculiar and unnerving in a way to see so many young people walking around with cellphones and iPods in their ears and so wrapped up in media and video games. It robs them of their self-identity. It's a shame to see them so tuned out to real life. Of course they are free to do that, as if that's got anything to do with freedom. The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets. (Rolling Stone 14 May 2009, p. 45)

138. When I first heard (Elvis Presley's) voice I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.


139. Those are songs from the Tree of Life. There's no love on the Tree of Life. Love is on the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Good and Evil. So we have a lot of songs in popular music about love. Who needs them? Not you, not me. You can use love in a lot of ways in which it will come back to hurt you. Love is a democratic principle. It's a Greek thing.

140. Well, my daddy, he didn't leave me much, you know he was a very simple man, but what he did tell me was this, he did say: "Son," he said, "you know it's possible to become so defiled in this world that your own father and mother will abandon you, and if that happens, God will always believe in your ability to mend your ways. (from his acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 1991)


141. There was no great significance to that visit, but I'm interested in the fact that Jews are Semites, like Babylonians, Hittites, Arabs, Syrians, Ethiopians. But a Jew is different because a lot of people hate Jews. There's something going on here that's hard to explain. (on a visit to Israel in the early 1970s)



142. The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the "Blonde on Blonde" album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That's my particular sound. I haven't been able to succeed in getting it all the time. Mostly I've been driving at a combination of guitar, harmonica and organ.

143. Oh, some are about four minutes; some are about five, and some, believe it or not, are about 11 or 12. (when asked what his songs are "about") 


144. It's the thing to do, to tell all the teeny-boppers: "I dig The Beatles" and you sing a song like "Yesterday" or "Michelle". Hey, God knows, it's such a cop-out, man, both of those songs. If you go into the Library of Congress, you'll find stuff a lot better than that. There are millions of songs like "Michelle" or "Yesterday" written in Tin Pan Alley. (1966)

145. I've only written four songs in my whole life, but I've written those four songs a million times.


146. I know there are groups at the top of the charts that are hailed as the saviors of rock 'n' roll and all that, but they are amateurs. They don't know where the music comes from…I wouldn't even think about playing music if I was born in these times…I'd probably turn to something like mathematics. That would interest me. Architecture would interest me. Something like that.

147. People can learn everything about me through my songs, if they know where to look.


148. His influence on me was never in inflection or in voice. What drew me to was that hearing his voice, I could tell he was very lonesome, very alone and very lost in his time. That's why I dug him. (about Woody Guthrie)

149. They'd like to use my tunes for different beer companies and perfumes and automobiles. I get approached on all that stuff. But, shit, I didn't write them for that reason. That's never been my scene.


150. Critics usually don't like a song like this coming out of me because it didn't seem to be autobiographical. Maybe not, but the stuff I write does come from an autobiographical place. (on his song "Everything Is Broken")

151. My childhood is so far away…it's like I don't even remember being a child. I think it was someone else who was a child.

152. You don't necessarily have to write to be a poet. Some people work in gas stations and they're poets. I don't call myself a poet because I don't like the word. I'm a trapeze artist.


153. I didn't want to be part of that thing. I liked the town. I felt they exploited the shit out of that, going up there and getting 15 million people all in the same spot. That don't excite me. The flower generation - is that what it was? I wasn't into that at all. I just thought it was a lot of kids out and around wearing flowers in their hair taking a lot of acid. (on the legendary Woodstock Festival)

154. What the songwriter does is just connect the dots. The ends he sees and the ones given to him and he connects them.


155. The town didn't have a rabbi, and it was time for me to be bar mitzvahed. Suddenly a rabbi showed up under strange circumstances for only a year. He and his wife got off the bus in the middle of winter. He showed up just in time for me to learn this stuff. He was an old man from Brooklyn who had a white beard and wore a black hat and black clothes. They put him upstairs above the café, which was the local hangout. It was a rock and roll café where I used to hang out, too. I use to go up there every day to learn the stuff, either after school or after dinner. After studying with him an hour or so, I'd come down and boogie. (on his hometown of Hibbing, MN)

156. The bootleg records, those are outrageous. I mean, they have stuff you do in a phone booth. Like, nobody's around. If you're just sitting and strumming in a motel, you don't think anybody's there, you know… it's like the phone is tapped and then it appears on a bootleg record. With a cover that's got a picture of you taken from underneath your bed and it's got a striptease-type title and it costs $30. Amazing. Then you wonder why most artists feel so paranoid.

157. I wasn't a good husband…I don't even know what a good husband is.







158. I think of myself as a song-and-dance man.

159. Maybe in the '90s or possibly in the next century people will look upon the '80s as the age of masturbation, when it was taken to the limit; that might be all that's going on right now in a big way.


160. Because I felt so damned guilty all the time. (on why he renounced his faith in Christianity)






161. Art is the perpetual motion of illusion. The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do? What else can you do for anyone but to inspire them?

162. It rubs me the wrong way, a camera…It's a frightening thing…Cameras make ghosts out of people.


What do you think of Bob Dylan's quotes?


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