Song of the Day #3,369: ‘Tears of Rage’ – Bob Dylan

A nice Random Weekend selection today from Bob Dylan’s album The Basement Tapes, which was released in 1975 but largely recorded in 1966. Dylan was backed by members of The Band on many of these songs, which were recorded in various homes in Woodstock, New York.

‘Tears of Rage,’ the closing track of Disc One, was written by Dylan and Richard Manuel. It is widely interpreted as an indictment of American materialism in the aftermath of the Vietnam war.

Manuel didn’t know about all that, but he did write a lovely melody. Describing the composition of ‘Tears or Rage,’ he said that Dylan “came down to the basement with a piece of typewritten paper … and he just said, ‘Have you got any music for this?’ … I had a couple of musical movements that fit … so I just elaborated a bit, because I wasn’t sure what the lyrics meant. I couldn’t run upstairs and say, ‘What’s this mean, Bob: “Now the heart is filled with gold as if it was a purse”?'”

[Verse 1]
We carried you in our arms on Independence Day
But now you’d throw us all aside and put us all away
What dear daughter ‘neath the sun could love a father so
To wait upon him hand and foot and always tell him no?

[Verse 2]
Tears of rage, tears of grief
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know we’re so low
And life is brief

[Verse 3]
It was all so very painless for you to run and receive
All of that false instruction we never could believe
And now the heart is filled with gold as if it was a purse
Oh, but what kind of love is this that goes from bad to worse?

[Verse 4]
Tears of rage, tears of grief
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know we’re so low
And life is brief

[Verse 5]
We pointed you the way to go and scratched your name in sand
But you thought it was nothing more than a place for you to stand
I want you to know that while we watched, you discovered no one would be true
And I myself was among the ones who thought
It was just a childish thing to do

[Verse 6]
Tears of rage, tears of grief
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know we’re so low
And life is brief

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,369: ‘Tears of Rage’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Nice collaboration.

  2. Peg says:

    Interesting especially since we are watching Ken Burns Vietnam series

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