Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Slow Train ComingReleased: 1979Charted:
This song is about finding meaning in life through serving God. At the time of writing, Bob Dylan was a born-again Christian, hence the song's religious message: "You're gonna have to serve somebody/Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord/But you're gonna have to serve somebody."
John Lennon thought this song was "embarrassing" and wrote "Serve Yourself" in response to it. The song criticized Dylan's preaching and instead asserted: "You gotta serve yourself/Ain't nobody gonna do it for you."
would cover this song live as their Christian rock alter-egos, Dove.
Natalie Cole (the daughter of Nat King Cole) covered this on her 1999 album, Snowfall on the Sahara. This cover version featured a new verse that Dylan had written especially for Cole.
In 1980, this song was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Male. Dylan performed the song at that same ceremony.
Slow Train Coming was Bob Dylan's first release since becoming a born-again Christian. Much of the album thus deals with Dylan's faith and Christian teachings. While the religious nature of the record alienated many of Dylan's older fans, the album also gained Bob a new wave of Christian fans.