God Knows

Album: Under The Red Sky (1990)

Songfacts®:

  • Dylan first recorded "God Knows" for his 1989 album Oh Mercy, but didn't include it on the tracklist. The song evolved quite a bit by the time it was released on his next album, Under the Red Sky, with only one of the original seven verses remaining.

    Dylan is unambiguous on this one. The song is about God's omniscience, telling listeners they aren't alone. God sees them and knows their struggles, and even if they feel small and insignificant, they are valued in God's eyes. This sentiment is summed up right away in the first verse.

    God knows you ain't pretty
    God knows it's true
    God knows there ain't anybody
    Ever gonna take the place of you


    The songs ends on a comforting, though not necessarily "easy" note, with the evocative lines:

    God knows we can get all the way from here to there
    Even if we've got to walk a million miles by candlelight


    A million miles is a long, long way, and candles don't give a whole lot of light, but with enough perseverance we can get to the good place. According to Dylan, anyway.
  • Guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar on this one along with his older brother Jimmie Vaughan, also a guitar great.
  • Don Was played the bass on this track. Was shows up in the credits of many highly regarded albums; he produced The B-52s "Love Shack" and collaborated with Ziggy Marley on Family Time, which won the 2009 Grammy for Best Musical Album for Children winner.

    Was produced the Under the Red Sky album with his collaborator David Was and with Dylan, who is credited as the pseudonym Jack Frost.
  • Dylan recorded this version of the song on January 6, 1990. The location is uncertain.

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