Dark Eyes

Album: Empire Burlesque (1985)

Songfacts®:

  • Dylan laid this down this tune on March 3, 1985 as the final track for his Empire Burlesque album. Recorded live-to-tape with no video editing, overdubbing, or embellishment, the song features just Dylan on guitar and harmonica.
  • The disturbing, forlorn tune was written by Dylan virtually on demand when producer Arthur Baker suggested something simpler for the album's closing track. Baker recalled to Uncut magazine: "I mentioned this idea about doing an acoustic song to him, and then the very next day, he came in with this 'Dark Eyes.' I really thought it was a song he'd had. Because he had so many songs, he'd bring cassettes out, and he had just tons of songs. I never thought for a second that he'd just written this."
  • In his memoir Chronicles, Dylan wrote that the song was inspired by a meeting with a prostitute who "had a beautifulness, but not for this kind of world."

Comments: 1

  • Jeff from Lacey, WashingtonI've always felt this was one of Dylan's most under-appreciated songs, both in terms of quality and theme. It's a statement of the worldview started expressing way back in his early days, a distrust for the superficial world of the everyday and a love and devotion for the world of his muse. Whatever he meant by it, it's one of the beautiful songs he ever put down, in my humble opinion.
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