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Rainy Day Women #12 And #35

by

Bob Dylan



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

With the line, "Everybody Must Get Stoned," this song is often associated with smoking marijuana, although Dylan insists it isn't, stating, "I have never and never will write a 'drug song.'" It is more likely about trials of relationships with women, and Dylan has hinted that it could have a Biblical meaning. Answering a question about people interpreting this song to be about getting high, Dylan told Rolling Stone in 2012: "These are people that aren't familiar with the Book of Acts."

The Book of Acts is from the Gospel of Luke, and contains an account of a stoning: "Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God... And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul."

In this story, Stephen received his sentence after giving a speech to authorities who were going to kill him no matter what he said. This relates to how Dylan felt about his critics, who were going to figuratively "stone" him no matter what he did.
The "official" explanation of how this song got its name: A woman and her daughter came into the recording studio out of the rain. Dylan guessed their ages correctly as 12 and 35.
A less official explanation: The song is about 2 women who came into the studio on a rainy day. Dylan apparently read an article about punishment for women in Islamic states - hence "Everybody must get stoned" because relationships are a trial and error thing. (thanks, Dave - Ballarat, Australia)
If you multiply 12 by 35, you get 420, a number commonly associated with smoking marijuana. 420 came about because 5 high school students in California could only smoke at 4:20 in the afternoon. This time was after school and before their parents came home, so it was a good time for them to get high. (thanks, Dave - Boise, ID)
This was one of the few songs Dylan released that was a traditional hit record, reaching the Top-10 in both the US and UK, and spending a week at #2 in America behind "Monday Monday" by The Mamas & The Papas. Perhaps relishing the opportunity to turn a song that repeats "everybody must get stoned" into a radio hit, Dylan cut the song down to 2:26 for the single release. On the Blonde On Blonde album, where it is the first track, the song runs 4:33. The single cuts out two verses and some instrumental passages.

Many radio stations received a publication called the Gavin Report that discussed new songs, and this one was described as a "drug song." Many stations refused to play it, but Dylan was so influential at the time that the song had no trouble getting plenty of airplay.
You can hear Dylan burst out laughing in this song. According to Down the Highway: the Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes, the musicians were having a lot of fun in the studio, passing around joints and swapping instruments as they kept the mood light and jovial.
This song was covered by The Black Crowes for the 1995 album Hempilation, a collection of songs about marijuana. (thanks, Tim - Columbus, OH)
Guitarist and bassist Charlie McCoy played the trumpet on this. He recalled to Uncut magazine March 2014: "(Producer, Bob) Johnston said,'Tonight he wants to do a song with a Salvation Army sound – we need a trumpet and trombone.' I said, 'Does the trumpet need to be good?' He's said, 'no!' I kept track: It took 40 hours to cut Blonde on Blonde."
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Comments (68):

I thought it was about women PMSing. 12 is when girls usually start and 35 is facing menapause. For example Stating they stone you when your walking out the door might mean they are bitchin at you when you leave, and when you doing anything
- michelle, San Diego , CA
Logan from Abilene, Texas, is correct. The song refers to literal stoning in Biblical sense. Napoleon XIV's later 66 hit "They're Coming to Take me away" uses the marching bass line from the intro to this. One of the earlier songs to be shortened as a single.
- Steve, Whittier, CA
In Rainy Day Women the discordant bleary riff played by trombone and harmonica ("WAHHH Wa Wa Wa") is borrowed from an early and obscure blues recording, The Rheumatism Blues from 1929. The artist who recorded The Rheumatism Blues was Gene Autry who began his career as a white blues singer only later becoming the singing cowboy. You can hear Rheumatism Blues on You Tube. So Bob Dylan borrowed the discordant riff which represents being stoned from the Singing Cowboy Gene Autry.
- Rick, Tulsa, OK
Talk about a super trio; Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen performed this song on Otober 20th, 1994 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, they also sang "Highway 61 Revisited"!!!
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
The Title of this song originally was long haired mule and a Porcupine, got this from Clinton Heylins Book The recording sessions
- Chris, hamilton, ON
OR maybe he's the next Nostradamus!! And that he's sayin 2 women being stoned, on Lsd with big doobs in their hands will come out of the rain and save us all from damnation!!!

Really guys?
Bob himself even said in the Time Magazine interview 1965 (feautured in "Don't Look Back")
"I got nothin to say about these things I write, I mean I just write em,I don't got anything to say about about em' I don't write em for any reason,There's no great message, I mean if you, if you wanna tell other people that, go ahead and tell em'; but I'm not gonna have to answer to it,and they're just gonna think, ya know, what's this time magazine telling us?"
NOW not saying he meant his words, but does it matter? Believe what you want, the only one who really knows IS BOB and so far? He hasn't really told has he? Or this discussion wouldn't be happening. It's a good song. That's part of the fun with music and why he's so liked, he leaves the audience wondering, you get to decide what's it about. It wouldn't be as fun if you knew exactly what it meant because then you're brain wouldn't have anything to play with. Sometimes, things are left better unknown.
;)
Mariah "Ry" Wilson
- Mariah, Dallas, PA
Trying to make heads or tails of all this talk of LSD12 or 35 or 25 or 50, there's this. The common, familiar LSD is LSD-25, which is short for 2,5-lysergic acid diethylamide. Which means that you take lysergic acid and tack on two ethylamide groups, one at carbon atom #2, and one at C #5, numberings that are according to a set of rules promulgated by the international organization that establishes these things for chemists (IUPAC, or something like that?). But one commenter mentioned LSD 25 and 50. I'm wondering whether these are maybe dosages, in micrograms? Anyway, this song, and Bob Dylan's 115th Dream, are the most fun he ever recorded. Hey, 115 = 5 x 23! Oh, nevermind.
- Fred, Laurel, MD
Reed, MN - Yeah, but if you SUBTRACT them, you get 23! Y'know, 23-skidoo, like in the 1920's, when getting stoned meant on booze, as in bootleg gin or whiskey at a speakeasy, 'cause prohibition was in effect. And 12^35 is 59066224016449915062205358917464096768, and I'm sure we all know what THAT means, don't we?
- Fred, Laurel, MD
It's astonishing reading these comments how much nonsense gets repeated here. This song is Dylan's reaction to the hostile reception he received when he switched from acoustic to electric. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DRUGS!!!
- tom, london, United Kingdom
Forgive me, that's wrong------i've always been terrible at math.
it adds up to 47...which doesn't mean a thing.
- Reed, New Ulm, MN
Being about getting high or not getting high...does it really matter-------you see, my theory is if you take those two numbers, #12 & # 35 and add them together..you get 57, which just happens to be the number of varieties of ketchup that Heinz makes! pretty interesting, ay?
- Reed, New Ulm, MN
this song is done so so well... it makes u think its about drugs... when the only reference to them are the laughing and the drunken singing.... excellent psychology..... i take it that its about bullies and gossips...
- gina, wexford, Ireland
this is a good song by a very good artist. bob dylan is one of my favorite.
- Mike, Quakertown, PA
Patrick in TX- Don't know about 50 but I DO know that L-25 is the purest form of LSD. Did it several times myself in the 70s. The clear liquid eye-dropped under my tongue and, of course, into the classic sugar cube.
- R.H., Pauls Valley, OK
When I was in ninth grade, My English class was taken to a different classroom, where there was another English class, so that both classes could be shown a rather disturbing 20-minute film called "Lottery," in which a drawing is held involving literally everyone in a small town, with the eventual loser being literally stoned to death. About seven or eight months LATER, I FIRST heard Dylan singing, "Everybody must get stoned." Right away I thought of that film, and ever since then I've regretted not knowing about that song at the time we were shown "Lottery." It would have been PERFECT to sing on the way back to our classroom.
- Steve, Princeton, NJ
The story that I read about this song in one of the Dylan biographies years ago, (I think it was the one by Anthony Scaduto) was that Dylan wanted the horns to sound like a Salvation Army band. So some of the backing musicians road around town until they found an SA band and brought the trumpet player back with them to perform on this song.
- Bob, Southfield, MI
It's kinda obvious it's not about getting stoned but it's a good drinking game XD
- Colleen, Allentown, PA
I read that Dylan said the song had nothing to do with drugs. He said, "every body must get stoned" was in reference to stoning someone in the biblical sense - i.e. "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" - or in the metaphorical sense.

If you look at the lyrics it seems pretty obvious: Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good,
They'll stone ya just like they said they would.
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home.
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.


No matter what you do, you're going to get "stoned" or criticized by somebody somewhere, but you shouldn't take it to heart, becuase it happens to everyone.
- Lisa, denison, TX
The only two types of lsd is 25 and 50. and yes its a proven fact, i know for sure and ive taken it many times. this song isnt about it anyways. its about smoking, and the the women coming in from the rain, and the stoning women could be just a cover up. they made jim morrison edit a lot of his songs for drug references
- patrick, san antonio, TX
ok wellll number one dylan was amazingly cryptic, and sometimes i think he didnt want everyone to know what he was writing about, and secondly i think that every one of his songs are mostly about things that only he can describe, maybe he was watching 2 women walk into his recording studio, or maybe he was just f*cked up beyond belief, but whatever it is, it was good.
- john, Jupiter, FL
Okay, Scott was closest about the whole 420 thing. It IS a police code used for reporting over the radio that they've got someone that was smoking Marijuana...but Christa, how do YOU know that #12 & #35 were the two types of LSD you could get? Is that really a FACT? Did you do that? Just curious. It's interesting. As far as the meaning of the song...I say it's just a double meaning...like a lot of songs back then.
- Mary, Phoenix, AZ
while im not goin to discredit the point of these comments that argue the true meaning of songs because i think its good for the debate, why dont we just understand that this, like all songs and poetry has to do with the readers/listeners interpretation?...i like to think its about getting fall-down drunk, since i dont smoke pot...not sh*tting on people who do smoke, but i can agree with both sides and i just love the song, whatever the hell hes talking about...hell for all we know the two girls thing really did happen and he is singing about girls... it its a great song that i listen to when im getting wasted...
- Andrew, Cleveland, OH
I have a pretty reliable account of many of Dylan's sessions because my dad was studio drummer Kenny Buttrey, and played on many of Dylan's largest hits. I've even heard that Dylan started recording in Nashville just so he could get my dad, Charlie McCoy and a few others to play on his records. According to my dad, the song had nothing to do with drugs, was a reference to being executed by stoning and the title "Rainy Day Women" was completely random on purpose in reflection of the randomness of its recording. The song was actually never meant to be released as it was just the band's way of screwing around. Everyone swapped instruments, except my dad who set his drums up backwards. Afterward, they decided to release it. I was told that the only time my dad ever heard Dylan laugh ( and he played on twelve albums with Dylan) was during the recording of this song.
- Kenzie, Nashville, TN
This is a very funny song and I'm sure if Dylan is reading these comments people are leaving about it he must still be laughing!

It is quite clear it has a double meaning:
1) It is generally about oppression, "stoning" as in killing somone by throwing rocks at him... Dylan is quite clear in the song about the fact that there'll allways be a reason for someone to stone you. It is part of "human nature", everybody must get stoned. Be it Dylan himself for trying an electric guitar on stage, be it the black person that, in the sixties, was trying to "keep his seat", be it in every man's personal history of trying to seduce women... Everyone is going to be "stoned" for a reason, basically because humanity's got this drive to push people to conformism.

-It is also about getting high ! Many clues show that. The title itself, "Rainy Day Women": a slang term describing marijuana... (Make a parrallel with songs of other great writers: Jimmy Hendrix's "Rainy Day, dream away" or Bob Marley's "Kaya".
It is true also that 12*35 = 420.

And... I can understand some people don't like the music of the song, but really, they litteraly sound like a "stoned marching band"... Also Dylan laughs while he sings, which would suggest he is really high on marijuana.

Last but not least, in this 1978 interview for french magazine "L'Express", Dylan himself recognises the many meanings of the song and implicitely recognises it talks about marijuana too:
Philippe Adler: Knowing the influence that you exercise over millions of young people, don?t you think it is dangerous to go on singing Everybody Must Be Stoned? (sic)
Bob Dylan: But that song has lot of other meanings.
PA: Maybe, but it does have a precise one.
BD: Marijuana isn?t a drug like the others (a pause). Today there are drugs that are a lot more dangerous than in my time.

I said at the beginning of this comment Dylan would be laughing reading these comments today! I can really read some people "stoning" others for thinking that Dylan would lower himself to writing a song about drugs ! Dylan did mean to talk about drugs too and in a way the same people are stoning Dylan, not recognizing his freedom to write a song about using marijuana, pretending it's "too low" for his genius. And in the same way, the people that pretend the song has no other meaning than drug usage are stoning Dylan too...

I believe this is Dylan's genius in this song: people actually stoning each other over the obvious different meanings of the song... Pure genius, really ! Everybody must get stoned !
- Arnaud, Brussels, Belgium
I think it's about both. Obviously, it isn't as poetic as some of his others. This song is meant to be funny guys!!
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I dont understand why your even talking about this song its really really average, who cares what it means!! Im a massive fan of Dylan and his lyrics but this song has to be about the low point in his career, lyrics are nothing special at all and the sound is just irritating. Give "i threw it all away" or "ballad of a thin man a listen"....
- max, london, England
I don't know why everyone's taking this song so seriously. Yes, it has its deeper meanings about trials and such, who says Bob didn't just think it was funny to say "Everybody must get stoned," in a song and let it have two meanings. Penultimate poet or not, even Bob liked to have fun. He laughs during the song because he's having fun playing a tongue-in-cheek song with a bunch of studio musicians. Give a man a chance to tell a little joke. Not everything can be Mr. Tambourine Man.
- Luke, Nashville, TN
It's insulting to Dylan to suggest that there's anything profound about this song. The lyrics are corney, the music is lousy (sounds like an out of time marching band), and he laughs repeatedly while singing. The double meaning is so damn obvious and so uncharacterstic of serious Dylan songs. Contrast this with just about any other song Dylan has written- most of which are infused with his unique insight and hauntingly poetic lyrics- and its clear that he wrote this song as a joke.

Heres the story:
Late one night Bob asked the Nashville band he was playin with "what do you guys do here?" and they replied "beer". Bob told them he had a new song but the refrain was "everybody must get stoned" and he refused to record the song with straight people so he sent Ed Gazzar to Irelands bar and he came back with a huge leprechaun cocktail for everyone in large milk shake cartons. Joints were passed arround and everyone was wiped out. On the original recording McCoy put a call thru to Wayne doc Butler who brought his trumpet down to the studio. The other musicians all swapped instruments which resulted in that raggy marchign band sound. Strzelecki gave his bass to al kooper and he played the piano but he couldnt work the pedals with his feet so he had to lay beside the piano and push them with his hands. The voice that you can hear braying with laughter is Strzecki on the piano. After the session in the contol room. Bob was asked "whats the name of this song", "rainy day women #12 & 35" this recording had no rehersals and was released as is.
- Joel, Sydney, United States
Perhaps Dylan new what he was doing while he was writing the song. For the ignorant people who enjoy listening to the topical meaning of songs, he wrote it with a direct reference to getting high, and for those who enjoy his poetry, he wrote a deeper meaning. Dylan has said numerous times, in many interviews that he is "NOT a topical songwriter".....but to some people it doesn't matter if it comes directly from his mouth or not, they'll believe what they want to believe.
- Kayla, London
I think everyone is thinking to hard about it. I believe that this song was about oppresion and how everyone will be critisized in life, but because it has the term "stoned" in it, Dylan decided to poke fun at it. It is just a fun song that does have a deeper meaning to it, but is taken to a lighter note with the way it is played.
- Riley, Naval Reserve, SC
At Bob Dylan's 1969 Isle of wight concert, this song was the encore.
- Barry, New York, NY
It's not uncommon for Bob Dylan to give a title to a song that makes absolutely no sense. If this song had some deep meaning and serious theme, I don't think Dylan would be laughing while he is singing it. This is Dylan's equivalent song to Chuck Berry's "My Dingaling".
- Steve, Fenton, MO
I like Dylan as much as most people...but PLEASE...this song IS about getting stoned (as in pot). It's a throw-away song that Dylan is no doubt embarrassed about. It uses a double meaning for stoning. All the lines about how a person gets persecuted followed by the chorus which is about getting stoned on pot. It sounds like the guy is messed up on something while he's recording it.
- Steve, Fenton, MO
It really pisses me off when people think this is about drugs. Dylan, of course, did use drugs and was starting to get into them pretty heavily around the time of the Blonde on Blonde sessions. But Dylan was not a man to write a song about pot. This song is clearly about oppression and women that will put you down. The line "But I would not feel so alone" has nothing to do with stoners liking to get high together. It's telling whoever Dylan is singing to that everybody is faced with this oppression in one way or another. Anyone that thinks this is about drug use is pretty ignorant IMO.
- Chad, Reading, PA
I don't see why everyone thinks it's about smoking pot, listen to the song. They'll stone you noone matter what you do meaning people are going to hate and thrash you for everything you do. And everybody must get stoned I think means everyone is critizied in life, not just Bob. So if i might steal from ricky nelson "you can't please everybody so you mine as well please yourself"
- Maurice, Philly, PA
Even though I like the song, I feel that the line "Everybody must get stoned" promotes drug use. Along with Positively Fourth Street, the title is not mentioned in the song.
- Howard, St. Louis Park, MN
Isent 5:15 (the Who, ooh yea) the time that the pot smockers get the last puff before they have to go?
- David Corino, Hawley, PA
Did anyone stop to think, why would Bob Dylan call this song "rainy day woman" if it were about weed?? If the chorus is so obvious when saying 'everybody must get stoned' why wouldn't he also name the title a more obvious reference to weed if thats what it were really about
- Kayla, London, Canada
The 420 thing is not about drugs, if anything its a coincidence, its like saying there was a man on the grassy noll, of cause there was someone on the grassy noll, but they didnt shoot JFK.

Do you honestly believe bob dylan, the greatest poetic musician would make a line so obvious as "everyone must get stoned" to a drug refrence.

Mr. Tambourine man for instance-is so careful with the wording that if you deconstruct it you get the dealer relationship but otherwise you wouldnt have a clue.
- Dave, Ballarat, Australia
I think it's about relationships and oppression, but it definitely makes sense why the song would be about drugs. Either way, it's hilarious!!!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
People then had no clue what 420 was....12 and 35 were the two kinds of LSD then. You could have #12 or #35. Dylan was hanging around the factory a lot at this time and i'm sure everyone was doing LSD. Thats what it means.
- christa, seattle, WA
What schools let out at 4:20? Anyway I think that Bob was simply using the term "stoned" because of it's double meaning, he probably meant getting stoned in the biblical sense of tribulation. He fully knew that people would read drug use into the term, so left it in. Many famous authors through time have used double meanings, so did many contemporary songwriters.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
Are you guys kidding? do not post a comment unless you know what you are talking about. the song was made in 1965, well before 1971. It is about being opressed and about being booed offstage at the newport folk festival in 1965 for playing the electric guitar. It is about how Dylan is trying to be innovative but people just stone him with their words. Nothing to do with marijuanna and because it was misconceived that it was about weed, april 20th became the unofficial stoner day.
- John, Oakland, MI
Primary meaning was about getting high. The rainy day women are Mary and Juana. "Number" was a slang term for a marijuana cigarette. Secondary meaning could be anything.
- Presley, Bronx, NY
the song is definately about getting screwed over by women. bob dylan is a much deeper artist than to write such a blunt weed song. he may poke a little bit towards a double meaning with the line "everybody must get stoned." that is just so ignorant people who can't think past what is layed out before them, can enjoy the song too.
- scott, peoria , IL
The Black Crowes did a cover of this song on the album Hempilation:Freedom is NormL(Not a mistake btw)Its decent.And the album is about pot.
- Brandon, Morristown, TN
420 has been around for much longer than 1974, wherever that random number came from, the day wasn't probally celebrated before that. But the history of 420 is that when a cop talks over the radio and the crime involves some kill they nick named it 420. It's been like that since 1960s so it's possible for that. But i don't see how it's against the government i think it's just about stoners with the lack of ambition they all seem to have and that the world is out to get me lets smoke pot motto.
- Scott, Middletown, you know TMI,, PA
Today the song would be called "Women with PMS ages 12 to 35". The term PMS wasn't used when Dylan wrote this. You know how women with PMS (rainy day women) will "stone you", "rag on you", "get in your face, or what ever you want to call it for just no reason. Like when you're just sitting at the breakfast table or when you're young and able". Hey, but you shouldn't feel all along (either male or a female) everyone must "get stoned". And everyone in the background is like yelling "you got that right, brother" "right on" and "how true that is". Not the exact words, but that's what they're meaning to say.
- Red, Toms River, NJ
LOL ok.. I wont fight it anymore.. BUT I am telling you as per High times. 4:20 came around in 1974.. BUT some other references to 4:20 The movie Refer madness had it copy right done on what date???...you got it April 20th 1936...LOL I mean who knows why all of this is like this. Then there is the Nursury Ryme "4 and 20 black birds baked in a pie".... LOL so .. I give up.. we are thinking WAY TOO MUCH about this.
- Vaughn, New York, NY
I think this song is actually only about pot and drugs. Every line can be related to smoking pot. The main chorus EVerybody Must Get Stoned is how every stoner feels that if they are with someone they are getting stoned. Stoners actually like smoking pot with other people more than being alone and I know from experience that stoners never like smoking alone (unless they rely solely on drugs). Also, the line they'll stone you when you're trying to be so good is about how the slingers (dealers) always are asking u if u want any pot everytime the weekend comes along they've got a new brand or better bud, etc. If u need any more lines explained just ask.
- erik, OC, CA
Listen man this is a song u cant look too far in2 its obviously about getting high and 4 20 was not started in 1974 its been around ever since the discovery of acid which was discovered way before dylans first album so there is definitely a drug reference and o yeah 4 20 is the time that I think his name is Hoffman took the first ever known acid so it couldve def been known at the time of this songs release so it is def about drugs while it also is about society and evrything that ppl were saying in previous posts. Case closed.
- erik, OC, CA
This might be a Pot song but the concidence of 12
times 35 = 420 CANT be for marijuana because the term "420" was not associated with pot until about
1974 when as high times puts it a group of high school students in california had the idea to make a code "4:20" for the time that they would get together after school and smoke pot. this was written in 1966 so it could not have to do with that.
- Vaughn, New York, NY
i'm no expert on this, but little nuances of the english language change. for instance, being gay in the sixties meant you were happy. today it means something entirely different. in ac/dc's song "have a drink on me", he screams at the end "get stoned!" he's clearly is talking about drinking and not about smoking weed. i'm only 27, so i have no clue if my theory is true, but i don't think getting stoned meant the same thing forty years ago as it does today. in fact, i think that it might be the other way around. i think that bob dylan's popularity among pot smokers in the sixties may have caused this song to give the phrase "get stoned" it's new meaning. this of course is just an unproven theory, so if anyone has any real knowledge about this subject, please enlighten me. according to www.snopes.com, an urban legend website, the term "420" originated in 1971 which is 5 years after this songs copyright. so that the 12 x 35 = 420 theory is a bust.
- Brett, Anchorage, AK
ya, i think there is more than one meaning to the song, the obvious giddiness throughout the song resembles getting high, but then the actual lyrics are more like society being against each of its members. I think it's about both; in order to deal with being stoned by the system, "everybody must get stoned" with a puff puff.
- Natasha, Chico, CA
ha, that's interesting that 12 x 35= 420. I always wondered why there was those numbers in the title, i just thought they were the # of women, in numerical order, that dylan knew.
- Natasha, Chico, CA
Alright, I'll throw my opinion in... stoned is in the Biblical sense, where people literally threw rocks at people for their crimes. Ever feel like everyone's taking aim at you, trying to bring you down in some way? They're trying to stone you man. Just my thoughts, read the lyrics and tell me it doesn't make sense though.
- Logan, Abilene, TX
Great song I love it! its just Dylan having fun with his own talents.
- Kieran, Harlow, United States
Dylan laughs and people hoot and shout throughout the song.There are clearly 2 meanings in the lyrics, but one of them certainly is in reference to getting high. I agree that the 2nd meaning is oppression (by women or otherwise).
- sydbarrett, Oxford, England
It's a bit of a stretch to reject the possibility that the line "Everybody must get stoned" has the double meaning of getting high.

The other meaning is harder to define. The context of the lyrics makes it obvious that "they'll stone you..." is referring to some sort of oppression.

Personally, I think the title points to the interpretation that relationships with women involve them "stoning" you. Knock you for an emotional loop? The commitment feeling like a millstone around your neck? Nagging feeling like biblical stoning?

Someone must have seen a discussion of this elsewhere in articles about Bob Dylan.
- R, Seattle, WA
Ha! 420. Of course, that doesn't mean that stoned can't have more than one meaning.
- sarah, Salem, MA
12 times 35 is 420. what? o well i think this song is about the government stoning us and brainwashing us and stuff
- Mr.Gatz, Waterville, ME
It couldn't be that simple for Bob... There is more to the song then getting high... There has to be...

But, Consider this... Take Number 12 and Times it by Number 35 and what do you get???
- Brian, Grand Forks, ND
cause being about drugs is just so unoriginal. Dylan was better than that.
- Nick, San Francisco, CA
I always thought "everybody must get stoned" had to do with the government and oppression and all that... no matter what you do, The Man is gonna get you.
- Nick, San Francisco, CA
"They'll stone you" doesn't mean they're gonna get you high. It's a reference to back in the old days when they used to chuck stones at criminals until they were dead. The song basically gives the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" impression. The song means that no matter what you do, someone won't like it.
- Elliot, Ottawa, Canada
well im sure its also possible to have two meanings in a song. You cant tell me that when Dylan wrote this the thought of getting stoned didnt happen. But Mike im sure is also write about the relationship meaning too.
- Justin, Bakersfield, CA
well if you look at the song in context obviously its not talking about drugs. i think some people put a little more thought into there songs than just what they are using at the time
- sarah, whoville, Canada
nah its about getting high..lol I belive when this song came out he was touring with the Band. Or perhaps it was before that. anyway correct me if im wrong. thanks
- Justin, Bakersfield, CA
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Al Jourgensen of MinistryAl Jourgensen of Ministry
In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.