Pass it Around

"If I made records for my own pleasure, I would only record Charley Patton songs." - Bob Dylan

Time to Retire Forever Young and Knocking on Heaven's Door...and I have the Replacement

I must confess to believing two of the songs Dylan is most famous for, both about mortality, are not my favorites. One is trite (not that I could come even close) and the other is just too familiar. I speak of Knocking on Heaven's Door and Forever Young. I am sure Bob has received royalty checks, one after the other, for Forever Young alone for a million dollars every few years...but it is time to retire both songs and I have a replacement.

Forever Young probably took a night and was recorded to fill an album before the reunion tour with the Band. A big event and a big song. Knocking on Heaven's Door was written for a film. Intended as a big event, it flopped.

Forever Young is a great, great song. So many covers proves it...but despite the melody as beautiful as anything Stephen Foster wrote, it has been played at far too many birthday parties and encores. Refresh your memory and listen to the version he recorded with the Band, originally, in 1973 if you want to bring the song back to life, but for me it blends in with the background and every time I hear it I long for something more challenging.

Same with Knocking on Heaven's Door, but that one wasn't much of a song to begin with, and Axl Rose didn't help it. Sorry.

A song just as beautiful as Forever Young and even more profound, as it was written by Dylan closer to the actual, rather than an imagined mortality is Not Dark Yet. It is sublime, mature, just gorgeous and most exceptional. It is also a measure of his talents far more than either the others. Catchy? Not quite...but then that is the point of the song.

Not quite.

Not Dark Yet
Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day

It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away

Feel like my soul has turned into steel

I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal

There’s not even room enough to be anywhere

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain

Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain

She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind

She put down in writing what was in her mind

I just don’t see why I should even care

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree

I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea

I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies

I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes

Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will

I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still

Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb

I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from

Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer

It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music