Simple Twist Of Fate

Album: Blood on the Tracks (1974)
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  • 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

Comments: 4

  • 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, 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)
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