They sat together in the park As the evening sky grew dark She looked at him and he felt a spark Tingle to his bones 'Twas then he felt alone And wished that he'd gone straight And watched out for a simple twist of fate
They walked along by the old canal A little confused, I remember well And stopped into a strange hotel With a neon burnin' bright He felt the heat of the night Hit him like a freight train Moving with a simple twist of fate
A saxophone someplace far-off played As she was walkin' on by the arcade As the light bust through a beat-up shade Where he was waking up She dropped a coin into the cup Of a blind man at the gate And forgot about a simple twist of fate
He woke up, the room was bare He didn't see her anywhere He told himself he didn't care Pushed the window open wide Felt an emptiness inside To which he just could not relate Brought on by a simple twist of fate
He hears the ticking of the clocks And walks along with a parrot that talks Hunts her down by the waterfront docks Where the sailors all come in Maybe she'll pick him out again How long must he wait? One more time, for a simple twist of fate
People tell me it's a sin To know and feel too much within I still believe she was my twin But I lost the ring She was born in spring But I was born too late Blame it on a simple twist of fate
Writer/s: Bob Dylan
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
Danny from Bronx, NyJoan Baez has an interesting cover of this, in which she sings one verse (the one about waking up, and the room being bare) in an imitation of Dylan's voice. She also makes several changes to the song's lyrics: the saxophone plays somewhere nearby, rather than far off, the reference to the talking parrot is omitted (the line is replaced by "small waves whisper to the rocks"), "Maybe she'll pick him out again" becomes "Perhaps he'll see her once again", and the whole last verse is changed around. Instead of talking about a "sin", she talks about a "crime": "People tell me it's a crime/To feel to much at any one time/All it cost me was a dime/But the bells refuse to ring", and "He [rather than She] was born in spring". What do these changes mean? I haven't a clue.
Valerie from Eureka, CaLol, I only visit this site once in a while but it cracks me up to read what people say they feel the meanings behind any of the songs on songfacts are. This one pretty much takes the cake so far. I thought I did too much thinking....lol, I haven't touched the surface of thought after reading this from the dude in Italy.
Alex from Gillingham, United KingdomGreat song, great album. One of two vinyl records that I own, and the first one that I bought. The other is Fresh Cream.
Alberto from Roma, ItalyThe woman is a prostitute ("he wished he'd gone straight"), he picks her up and takes her to a "strange hotel". Then the "twist of fate" happens: he and she "switch" their fates, their destinies: it's she who pays someone after leaving the hotel ("drops a coin.."; and the "blind man" represents HIM, who couldn't see what was happening inside him), it's she who may "pick him up again", while now he is spending his time at the waterfront dock: literally, he is a sailor now (the "parrot"), but actually he acts just like a prostitute does: he is the prostitute now, waiting to be picked up, waiting for sailors to come in. The song, therefore, is about a twist of fate, a "switching of lives", between the two persons: he "felt a spark" but didn't care to follow it ("he told himself he didn't care"), and now it's he who is desperate and needs love in order to survive, while she's gone away, therefore she is free. With the last verse, Dylan connects the story he just told with something real: he puts in relation the story, which is a "fiction", to something different, but deeply similar, that really happened (but we cannot say for sure that it is autobiographical; it may be, or it may be fiction too, on a different level of reading). This is my reading of this song. Ciao, Alberto (Italy)