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Desolation Row 1

Bob Dylan © 1965 Warner Bros. Music, renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

(Official lyrics @ www.bobdylan.com)


4 Aug 1965
cd imgHIGHWAY 61 REVISITED

  Highway 61 Revisited session 5, Columbia Studio A - 4.aug.1965, take 5, album version  


They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor's filled with sailors, the circus is in town.
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to go
As lady an' i look out tonight from desolation row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy, it takes one to know when she smiles
An' puts her hands in her back pockets, Betty Davies' style
Then in comes Romeo he's moanin', ''You belong to me i believe''
An' someone says, ''You're in the wrong place my friend, you'd better leave''
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on desolation row.

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide
The fortune teller lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain an' Abel an' the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is makin' love or else expectin' rain
And the good samaritan he's dressing, he's gettin' ready for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight on desolation row.

Ophelia she's neath the window, for her i feel so afraid
On her twenty second birthday, she already is an old maid
To her death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession's her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
An' though her eyes are fixed upon Noah's great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into desolation row.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drain pipes an' reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing electric violin on desolation row.

Doctor Filth he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients they're tryin' to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the cyanide hole
An' she also keeps the cards that read, ''Have mercy on his soul''
They all play on the penny whistle you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from desolation row.	

Across the street they've nailed the curtains, they're gettin' ready for the feast
The phantom of the opera in a perfect image of a priest
They' are spoonfeeeding Casanova to get him to feel more assured
Then they kill him with self confidence after poisoning him with words
An the phantom shoutin' to skinny girls, ''Get outta here if you don't know
Casanova is just bein' punished for going to desolation row''.

At midnight all the agents and the super human crew
Come out an' round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory where the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders an' then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to desolation row.

Praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody's shoutin', ''Which side are you on?''
An' Ezra Pound an' T.S. Eliott fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them an' fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
An' nobody has to think too much about desolation row.

Yes i received your letter yesterday about the time the door knob broke
When you asked me, how i was doing, was that some kind of joke
All these people that you mentionned, yes i know them they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces an' give them all another name
Right now i can't read too good, don't send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them from desolation row.  up
    

home  D
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Desolation Row 2


30 July 1965
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 7 NO DIRECTION HOME
cd imgTHE LONESOME SPARROW SINGS (T-349)
cd imgHIGHWAY 61 REVISTED AGAIN (T-174)

  Highway 61 Revisited session 3, Columbia Studio A - 29.jul.1965, take 1  

They're sellin' postcards of the hangin', they're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor's filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance
One hand's tied to the tight rope walker, the other's nailed is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to go
As lady an' i look out tonight from desolation row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy, it takes one to know when she smiles
An' puts her hands in her back pockets, Betty Davies' style
Then someone comes in screaming, ''You belong to me i believe''
An' someone says, ''I'm sorry my friend, but i'm afraid you'd better leave''
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on desolation row.

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars they pretend to hide
The fortune telling lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain an' Abel an' the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is a-makin' love or else expectin' rain
An' the good samaritan's dressin', he's getting ready for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight on desolation row.

Now Ophelia she's neath the window, for her i feel so afraid
On her twentieth birthday, she already is an old maid
To her death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession is her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
An' though she always looks upon Noah's rainbow
She spends her time peeking into desolation row.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in his trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculate as he bummed a cigarette
Then he wen' off sniffin' drain pipes an' recitin' the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin on desolation row.

Doctor Filth he keeps his world inside of his leather cup
But all his sexless patients they're plannin' to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the cyanide hole
She's also in charge of the cards that read, ''Have mercy on his soul''
They all play on the penny whistle, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from desolation row.	

Across the street they've closed the curtains, they're gettin' ready for the feast
The phantom of the opera, a perfect image of a priest
Now he's spoonfeeeding Casanova, the boiled guts of birds
Then he'll torture him with self confidence and poison him with words
An' the phantom shouts to skinny girls, ''Get out if you don't know
Casanova's just bein' punished for going to desolation row''.

Now at midnight all the agents and the super human crew
Come out an' round up everybody that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory and the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their bossoms an' then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to desolation row.

Praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
An' everybody's shoutin', ''Which side are you on?''
An' Ezra Pound an' T.S. Eliott fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them an' fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
An' nobody ever thinks too much about desolation row.

Now i got your letter yesterday about the time the door knob broke
When you asked how i was doing, was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mentionned, yes i know them they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces an' give them all another name
Right now i don't feel so good, i don't want your letters no more, no
Unless of course you mail them from desolation row.  up
    

home  D
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Desolation Row 3


2 Aug 1965
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition) #3

  Highway 61 Revisited session 5, Columbia Studio A - 2.aug.1965, take 5 remake  


They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor's filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to go
As lady an' i look out tonight from desolation row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy, it takes one to know when she smiles
An' puts her hands in her back pocket, Betty Davies' style
Then here comes Romeo moanin', ''You belong to me i believe''
An' someone turns an' says to him, ''My friend you'd better leave''
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on desolation row.

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars they begin to hide
Even the fortune telling lady has taken all her things inside
All except for Cain an' Abel an' the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody else is making love or else expecting rain
An' the good samaritan he's dressing, he's getting ready for the show
He's going to the carnival on desolation row.

Ophelia she's neath the window, for her i feel afraid
On her twenty-second birthday, she already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession is her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
An' though her eyes are fixed upon Noah's rainbow
She spends her time peeking into desolation row.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
Then he wen' off sniffin' drain pipes an' reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin upon desolation row.

Doctor Filth he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients they are tryin' to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the cyanide hole
She also keeps the cards that read, ''Have mercy on his soul''
They all play the penny whistle, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from desolation row.	

Across the street they have nailed the curtains, they are getting ready for the feast
The phantom of the opera in a perfect image of a priest
He is spoonfeeeding Casanova, the guts of birds
Then he'll flock him with self confidence and poison him with words
An' the phantom shouts to skinny girls, ''Get out here if you don't know
Casanova is just being punished for going to desolation row''.

Now at midnight all the agents and the super human crew
Come out an' round up everybody that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory and the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders an' then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to desolation row.

Praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody is shouting, ''Which side are you on?''
An' Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliott fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them an' fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
An' nobody ever has to think too much about desolation row.

I received your letter yesterday about the time that the door knob broke
When you asked how i was doing, is that some kind of a joke?
Yes all these people that you mentionned, i know them, they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces an' give them all another name
Right now i 'm just walkin' by himself, don't write me no more letters, no
Unless of course you mail them from desolation row.  up
    

home  D
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Desolation Row 4


4 Aug 1965
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition)

4 Aug 1965
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition) #2

  Highway 61 Revisited session 7, Columbia Studio A - 4.aug.1965, take 1 
  THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 1965-1966 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition), track B15, 11:18 --> 
  Highway 61 Revisited session 7, Columbia Studio A - 4.aug.1965, take 2, piano demo 
  THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 1965-1966 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition), track B16, 2:01 -->

They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor's filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to go
As lady an' i look out tonight from desolation row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy, it takes one to know when she smiles
Puts her hands in her back pocket, Betty Davies' style
Then in comes Romeo is moaning, ''You belong to me i believe''
An' someone turns an' says to him, ''My friend you'd better leave''
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on desolation row.

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide
The fortune telling lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain an' Abel an' the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody else is makin' love or else expecting rain
An' the good samaritan he's dressing, he's getting ready for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight on desolation row.

Ophelia she's neath the window, for her i feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday, she already is an old maid
Now to her, death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession is her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
An' though her eyes are fixed upon Noah's great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into desolation row.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculate as he bummed a cigarette
Then he wen' off sniffin' drain pipes an' reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin upon desolation row.

Doctor Filth he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
An' all his sexless patients they're tryin' to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the cyanide hole
She also keeps the cards that read, ''Have mercy on his soul''
They all play on the penny whistle, you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from desolation row.	

Across the street they've nailed the curtains, they're getting ready for the feast
A phantom of the opera in a perfect image of a priest
He is spoonfeeeding Casanova, boiled guts of birds
He will kill him with self confidence after poisoning him with words
An' the phantom is shouting to skinny girls, ''Get out here if you don't know
Casanova is just being punished for going to desolation row''.

Now at midnight all the agents and the super human crew
Come out an' round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they take them to the factory and the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders an' then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that no one is escaping to desolation row.

Now praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody is shouting, ''Which side are you on?''
An' Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliott they're fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them an' fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
An' nobody has to think too much about desolation row.

I received your letter yesterday about the time the door knob broke
When you asked how i was doing, was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mentionned, yes i know them they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces an' give them all another name
Right now my head is breaking, don't send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them from desolation row.  up
    

home  D
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

Desolation Row 5


13 Apr 1966
cd imgHAPPY DYLENNIUM (T-686)

19 Apr 1966
cd imgBOB DYLAN'S DREAM Vol. 1 (T-118)

5 May 1966
cd imgDUBLIN MAY 5 1966 (T-119)
cd imgLIVE IN ENGLAND MAY 1966 (T-124)
cd imgBLACK NITE CRASH (vinyl bootleg)

10 May 1966
cd imgLEICESTER '66 (T-299)

15 May 1966
cd imgLEICESTER '66 #2 (T-299)

17 May 1966
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 4 BOB DYLAN LIVE 1966
cd imgGUITARS KISSING & THE CONTEMPORARY FIX (T-024)

27 May 1966
cd imgMANCHESTER PRAYER (T-120)

  Live, Stadium, Sydney Australia - 13.apr.1966  
  Live, Festival hall, Melbourne Australia - 19.apr.1966  
  Live, Adelphi Theatre, Dublin IRL - 5.may.1966  
  Live, Colston hall, Bristol UK - 10.may.1966  
  Live, De Montfort hall, Leicester UK - 15.may.1966  
  Live, Free Trade Hall, Manchester UK - 17.may.1966  
  Live, Royal Albert Hall, London UK - 27.may.1966  

They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor's filled with sailors, the circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner, they've got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight rope walker, the other is in his pants
And the riot squad they're restless, they need somewhere to go
As lady an' i look out tonight from desolation row.

Cinderella, she seems so easy, it takes one to know when she smiles
An' puts her hands in her back pockets, Betty Davies' style
Then in comes Romeo he's moanin', ''You belong to me i believe''
An' someone says, ''You're in the wrong place my friend, you'd better leave''
And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up on desolation row.

Now the moon is almost hidden, the stars are beginning to hide
The fortune teller lady has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain an' Abel an' the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is makin' love or else expectin' rain
And the good samaritan he's dressing, he's gettin' ready for the show
He's going to the carnival tonight on desolation row.

Ophelia she's neath the window, for her i feel so afraid
On her twenty second birthday, she already is an old maid
To her death is quite romantic, she wears an iron vest
Her profession's her religion, her sin is her lifelessness
An' though her eyes are fixed upon Noah's great rainbow
She spends her time peeking into desolation row.

Einstein disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculately frightful as he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drain pipes an' reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him but he was famous long ago
For playing electric violin on desolation row.

Doctor Filth he keeps his world inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients they're tryin' to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser, she's in charge of the cyanide hole
An' she also keeps the cards that read, ''Have mercy on his soul''
They all play on the penny whistle you can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough from desolation row.	

Across the street they've nailed the curtains, they're gettin' ready for the feast
The phantom of the opera in a perfect image of a priest
They' are spoonfeeeding Casanova to get him to feel more assured
Then they kill him with self confidence after poisoning him with words
An the phantom shoutin' to skinny girls, ''Get outta here if you don't know
Casanova is just bein' punished for going to desolation row''.

At midnight all the agents and the super human crew
Come out an' round up everyone that knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory where the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders an' then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles by insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping to desolation row.

Praise be to Nero's Neptune, the Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody's shoutin', ''Which side are you on?''
An' Ezra Pound an' T.S. Eliott fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them an' fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea where lovely mermaids flow
An' nobody has to think too much about desolation row.

Yes i received your letter yesterday about the time the door knob broke
When you asked me, how i was doing, was that some kind of joke
All these people that you mentionned, yes i know them they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces an' give them all another name
Right now i can't read too good don't send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them from desolation row.  up
    

 Recording dates & record list

30 July 1965 2 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 7 NO DIRECTION HOME
THE LONESOME SPARROW SINGS (b)
HIGHWAY 61 REVISTED AGAIN (b)
2 Aug 1965 3 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition) #3
4 Aug 1965 1 HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED
4 Aug 1965 4 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition)
THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 12 THE CUTTING EDGE (DeLuxe Edition) #2
3 Sep 1965 ELECTRIC BLACK NITE CRASH (b)
13 Apr 1966 5 HAPPY DYLENNIUM (b)
19 Apr 1966 5 BOB DYLAN'S DREAM Vol. 1 (b)
5 May 1966 5 DUBLIN MAY 5 1966 (b)
LIVE IN ENGLAND MAY 1966 (b)
BLACK NITE CRASH (vb)
10 May 1966 5 LEICESTER '66 (b)
15 May 1966 5 LEICESTER '66 (b) #2
17 May 1966 5 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 4 BOB DYLAN LIVE 1966
GUITARS KISSING & THE CONTEMPORARY FIX (b)
27 May 1966 5 MANCHESTER PRAYER (b)
8 Oct 1987 FLASHING FOR THE REFUGEES (b)
18 Oct 1990 THANK YOU EV'RYBODY (b)
12 Feb 1991 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Volume 4 (vb)
29 June 1993 HARD TIMES IN MARSEILLE (b)
17 Nov 1994 COMPLETELY UNPLUGGED (b)
UNPLUGS IT ONCE MORE (b)
18 Nov 1994 MTV UNPLUGGED
COMPLETELY UNPLUGGED (b) #2
20 Apr 1996 THE MAINE EVENT (b)
18 Jan 1998 VOICES IN THE GARDEN (b)
30 June 1998 NEVER ENDING TOUR IN FRANCE Vol. 1 - PARIS (b)
Sep 2000 SCEWG 2000 COMPILATION (b)
8 Nov 2000 PATHWAY TO THE STARS (b)
30 Apr 2002 PARIS SECOND 2002 (b)