Bob Dylan: Singer, songwriter, author, actor, poet and Nobel Literature Laureate. The icon is known for crafting phrases that sum up the concerns, hopes and fears of a generation, as well as writing highly personal meditations on love and loss that cut straight through the soul. And he's justly celebrated for those literary achievements.
But there's another side of Bob Dylan that's less lauded -- Dylan the Funny Man. Sure, he's not exactly "Weird Al" Yankovic or Tom Lehrer, but Robert Zimmerman has given us many wry, witty and hilariously outlandish lyrics over the years.
From his absurdist comic rants to his double entendres to cheeky asides, here are our picks for the 10 funniest Bob Dylan lyrics.
"Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan outtake, recorded 1962)
Note: The song is a satire of conservative paranoia over socialists, or "Reds."
Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they was Red stripes on the American flag!
That ol' Betsy Ross . . .
"Talkin' World War III Blues" (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963)
Half of the people can be part right all of the time
Some of the people can be all right part of the time
But all of the people can't be all right all of the time
I think Abraham Lincoln said that
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours"
I said that
"Motorpsycho Nitemare" (Another Side of Bob Dylan, 1964)
Then in comes his daughter
Whose name was Rita
She looked like she stepped out of
La Dolce Vita
"Bob Dylan's 115th Dream" (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
Well, I rapped upon a house
With the U.S. flag upon display
I said, "could you help me out
I got some friends down the way"
The man says, "get out of here
I'll tear you limb from limb"
I said, "You know they refused Jesus, too"
He said, "You're not him"
"Subterranean Homesick Blues" (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
Don't follow leaders
Watch the parkin' meters
"Tombstone Blues" (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
"The sun's not yellow -- it's chicken"
"Highway 61 Revisited" (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe said, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God said, "No" Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want, Abe, but
The next time you see me comin', you better run"
"Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" (Blonde on Blonde, 1966)
She said that all the railroad men
Just drink up your blood like wine.
And I said, oh, I didn't know that,
But then again, there's only one I've met
And he just smoked my eyelids
And punched my cigarette
"Idiot Wind" (Blood on the Tracks, 1975)
They say I shot a man named Gray
And took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks
And when she died it came to me
I can't help it if I'm lucky
"Floater (Too Much to Ask)" (Love & Theft, 2001)
Romeo, he said to Juliet, "You got a poor complexion
It doesn't give your appearance a very youthful touch"
Juliet said back to Romeo, "Why don't you just shove off
If it bothers you so much"