ANSWERS: 6
  • When I started writing this answer, I played the song in iTunes for some inspiration while writing, and found that I have eight different versions of this song in my library. This song was originally released on Dylan's "John Wesley Harding" album. U2, Neil Young, Dave Matthews Band, and numerous others have covered this song. Jimi Hendrix's version is easily the most famous cover. The song itself starts off in a conversation between two people, the Joker and the Theif: " 'There must be some kind of way out of here,' Said the joker to the thief." The conversation continues between the two, discussing the how the values of life held by established society are wrong, or unappreciated “There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief. Businessmen, they drink my wine, Plowmen dig my earth. None of them along the line Know what any of it is worth.” The theif then reassures the Joker, telling him that while others may take life for granted, the two of them know better, and then set off to make things right. “'No reason to get excited,' The thief he kindly spoke. '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.' ” In the next verse, the scene shifts dramatically. Instead of following this conversation any further, we hear a description of a place gaurded by a watchtower, with princes patrolling it: "All along the watchtower, Princes kept the view," While inside the gates, people go about their lives, oblivious: "While all the women came and went — Barefoot servants too. Next, the writer describes a scene of impending doom, out in the distance, change itself (in the form of the two riders, the joker and the theif) is charging the fortress "Outside in the cold distance, A wildcat did growl. Two riders were approaching, and The wind began to howl." So, the synopsis of the song is this: The Joker and the Theif represent those who see all the injustice and exploitation in the world, and seek to bring about a change. The watchtower and the princes patrolling it represent those who would try to maintain the status-quo. This strong imagery of the watchtower and the coming threat of the two riders in the distance represent just what a epic undertaking it would be to bring about a change in society's views.
  • As many would expect, the song has many meanings; however, the most fitting, in my opinion, is a Biblical reference to end of time. The song opens with a conversation between a Joker and a Thief: "There must be some kind of way out of here. Said the Joker to the Thief." "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief." "Businessmen they drink my wine, Plowmen dig my Earth." "None of them along the line, Know what any of its worth." The Joker is talking to the Thief, describing, quite simply, acts of a thief (businessmen drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth..). Then the thief speaks: "No reason to get excited, The thief he kindly spoke." "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." In this verse the thief 'calls out' the Joker (There are many here among us, who feel life is but a joke..). He then explains that the hour is getting late, signalling that something major is about to happen. "All along the watchtower, Princes kept the view." "While all the women came and went, Barefoot servants, too." Some know something is about to happen, but most are oblivious. "Outside in the cold distance, A wildcat did growl." "Two riders were approaching, The wind began to howl." The two riders are coming for the Joker and the Thief. Biblically, the Joker and Thief represent sinners, and their symbolic time for judgement has arrived.
  • Hey I am WATCHMAN curt robinson, I found half this answer four years ago. I had not been sleeping or eating for some days wanting to understand the meaning of life and all that. I was reading the bible when this song came on the radio. Im not positive on the first part of the song as it can be speculated many ways. but the second half that begins with "All along the watchtower" comes directly from isiah 20 and 21. In chapter 20 of isiah you can read of the barefoot servants and women, in chapter 21 the watchtower, the princes, the wildcat, the two riders, the howling wind and more. I'll never forget reading the exact passage that inspired the song at the exact time the radio station played it after 3 or 4 days of no sleep and food. YEAH IT TRIPPED ME OUT but maybe so i could come here and share it with whoever started this question, probably dylan himself 8-) www.myspace.com/curtrobinson check out my tunes please if ya like my answer. ---WATCHMAN---
  • Dylan loved having multiple meanings in one poem, old with the current. Dylan wrote this song after his folk music fans had turned against him and he was burned out on the music counter culture scene. He had recently broke several vertebrae in his neck after a bad motorcycle wreck. Dylan always thought highly of himself and he was reading the bible a lot before writing these lyrics. I think Dylan and his big ego is comparing his problems with Jesus's death. " 'There must be some kind of way out of here,' Said the joker to the thief." Jesus or Dylan is the Joker. In old cards Jesus is symbolized as a joker. The thief may be Elvis also burned out star at the time (Dylan thought little of Elvis and Elvis's dislike for African americans but stole their music) or one of the thiefs also being crucified next to Jesus. Jesus is having second thoughts about the whole thing Dylan is having second thoughts about being a music superstar. "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief." "Businessmen they drink my wine, Plowmen dig my Earth." "None of them along the line, Know what any of its worth." Dylan is frustrated that he can not escape being a celebrity. Music business makes money off his songs and simple down to earth folk music fans are booing him because Dylan had recently tried electric rock. Dylan is smart enough to know his place in history as a poet for future generations. He knows his talent will out last his critics at the time. Jesus also sees himself as an everlasting martyr the romans can laugh at him but he knows he is the one. "No reason to get excited, The thief he kindly spoke." "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." For Jesus the thief says that we believe that their is a purpose we had our doubts but death is coming soon on our crosses so time to make our peace. Elvis tells Dylan to stop taking life so serious, many think songs and lyrics are jokes that don't last but people will never forget us even though our careers are at their end. "All along the watchtower, Princes kept the view." "While all the women came and went, Barefoot servants, too." Reworded from the bible, watchtower is a reference to critics will continue to claim what is great what is not. Elvis and Dylan will still have groupies, short term romances, people that take care of them because their famous but... "Outside in the cold distance, A wildcat did growl." "Two riders were approaching, The wind began to howl." Dylan had recently almost died when his bike crashed. Death he thinks for himself is near. Or the world is likely to perish soon, nuclear war and his celebrity life will be over.
  • Just heard a great synopsis by a Catholic priest on YouTube. It is pretty neat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0Tckg686L4
  • Wherefore art thou, Lady Fuschia?

Copyright 2017, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy