Dirge

Album: Planet Waves (1974)

Songfacts®:

  • In his book Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, Oliver Trager offers these possible meanings for this song:
    Dylan giving up on his "voice of a generation" tagline.
    A way to vent the anger he felt toward his wife, Sara Dylan.
    A trip to Lower Broadway
    A confession to a heroin use.
    Releasing news of an affair he originally covered up. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    henry - baltimore, MD

Comments: 3

  • Mat from Portland, OrI always thought this had something to do with Edie Sedgwick. This probably sounds like another cliche reference to her (I hate to associate them after that movie that was made about her), but it seems the song was written the year after her death. He talks about doom, the hotel (I'm thinking the Chelsea), and a painted face. It was a painted face that characterized her. Not necessarily literally, but in the fact that she was among a crowd of people who embraced facades. Suicide Road... well, not exactly sure about this, but it could just mean that the girl he's talking about lived a fast, dangerous lifestyle - like that of a drug user (especially a young one) - who still sees the romanticism of it. It sounds like something of a eulogy to me.
  • Chuck from Concord, NhUnfortunately, this Dylan album gets overlooked by most. It's always been one of my favorites. In the late 70's I heard The Wedding Song on the radio from this same LP and searched forever trying to find it as all I had were some of the lyrics, no title. I ended up buying several of Dylan's LP's in my search (oh, how easy it is NOW to identify songs via the internet!!). I'm not sorry that I basically built my Dylan LP collection in my search for that song, the process made me a Dylan fan forever as I discovered gem after gem. Give The Wedding Song a listen, it's a heartfelt, beautiful love song in drastic contrast to Dirge - which is also one of my favorites!
  • Ret from Bristol, United KingdomWhat better, more wretched way to down with a fight than to say "I hate myself for loving you". The wretchedness battered out on the obsessive piano riff and the tearing guitar lines. Can it be that no one out there knows about this song?
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