Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan on life, love, idiots, war mongers, religion, self-esteem, desire, fashion and insufferable people

Bob Dylan photographed in 2016 at Desert Trip in Indio.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times )

Bob Dylan has penned thousands of couplets that touch on countless themes.

Below, a sampling of lyrics that earned him the Nobel Prize for literature.

On love: “Love is all there is, it makes the world go ’round/ Love and only love, it can’t be denied/ No matter what you think about it/ You just won’t be able to do without it/ Take a tip from one who’s tried.” — “I Threw It All Away”

On war mongers: “And I hope that you die/ And your death’ll come soon/ I will follow your casket/ By the pale afternoon.” — “Masters of War”

On generational shifts: “Come mothers and fathers throughout the land/ And don’t criticize what you can’t understand/ Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command/ Your old road is rapidly aging.” — “The Times They Are a-Changin’”


On idiots: “Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth/ You’re an idiot, babe/ It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.” — “Idiot Wind”

On self-esteem: “Don’t trust me to show you beauty/ When beauty may only turn to rust/ If you need somebody you can trust, trust yourself.” — “Trust Yourself”

On religion: “Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord/ But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” — “Gotta Serve Somebody”

On grace: “May you grow up to be righteous/ May you grow up to be true/ May you always know the truth/ And see the lights surrounding you.” — “Forever Young”

On desire: “I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue/ I’d go crawling down the avenue/ There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do/ To make you feel my love.” — “To Make You Feel My Love”

On fashion: “You know it balances on your head/ Just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine/ Your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat.” — “Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat”

On insufferable people: “They chirp and they chatter/ What does it matter?/ They lie and dine in their blood/ Two timing Slim/ Who’s ever heard of him? I’ll drag his corpse through the mud.” — “Soon After Midnight”

On life: “He not busy being born is busy dying.” — “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).”

On the afterlife: “When the cities are on fire/ With the burning flesh of men/ Just remember that death is not the end.” — “Death Is Not the End”

On God: “In the fury of the moment I can see the master’s hand/ In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.” — “Every Grain of Sand”

Random advice: Light yourself a candle/ Don’t wear sandals/ Try to avoid the scandals/ Don’t wanna be a bum/ You better chew gum.” — “Subterranean Homesick Blues”


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