"I Shall Be Released" as written by and Bob Dylan....
They say every man must need protection
They say every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above the wall
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Down here next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he's not to blame
All day long I hear him cry so loud
Calling out that he's been framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released


Lyrics submitted by twitty

"I Shall Be Released" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC

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I Shall Be Released song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentA man in prison waiting either to get out or be executed
    hayes6on December 15, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI always thought that this profoundly impressive song is about alienation and salvation a la mode Dylanesque. It may contain but cannot be limited to an anti-death penalty theme.
    TooDeadForDreamingon October 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation"I see my light come shining
    From the west unto the east."

    If sunlight is shining from the west unto the east, the sun is in the west and about to set. So if his light is shining from the west unto the east, his life is about to set (end).
    eawgoalieon April 08, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentincredible version at the band's The Last Waltz go get the dvd and be shockandawed
    youenjoymyselfon April 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see this as an anti-death penalty song. Written from the point of view of a man who is on death row and is innocent. He knows he will be released in a figurative sense when he is finally executed.
    johnnya2on December 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthe's very well read it's well known
    come on folks
    Great Gatsby?
    I see my light shinin'
    from the West on to the East
    let's discuss lepers and crooks for a minute here
    thats what its about
    Its about Jay
    nmustaphaon September 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEach time I listen to this song, it reminds me of the story of the Count of Monte Cristo. Seeing that Dylan liked the book (I think I read that in Chronicles Volume One), maybe he tried to tell this story, though with the intent to touch one or more themes discussed above.
    Zegveron June 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think "So I remember ev'ry face, of ev'ry man who put me here" is about how every person who comes into our lives teaches us something about ourselves, both good and bad, and that these teachings have made us who we are at this point in time. "....they say ev'ry man must fall. Yet I swear I see my reflection, some place so high above the wall." The perverbial "they". Who is "they"? Mother Culture, of course. Yet the writer sees the reflection of his true, higher self and "swears" he won't fall. The writer is also a product of the pain others have caused.......he's in great grief which, in and of itself, delivers him to a higher plane. However, when he sees his light come shining. so brightly that it seems to be coming from the west unto the east (which is backward from a normal day) that bright light beckons him to peace, which is the meaning of "I Shall Be Released".
    mamakaton May 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy reference:
    the myth of the cave.
    our world of shadows.
    (Socrates / Plato)
    cevitabron May 26, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song speaks to me.... and I haven't been imprisoned in an actual prison institution. I've listened to both Dylan's and The Band's version of this song and both are just beautifully touching. Right now I'm listening to The Band's version and it just makes me want to cry because the way I relate to the song is by relating it to my life or life in general. I think we can often times find ourselves in places in our lives where we don't necessarily want to end up in but do because life comes with obstacles. I just graduated (sort of ) and it was a struggled and I had to move back to my parents house to get myself back on my feet. I'm not rich so I can't just move somewhere else, let alone, I don't have a job yet. I'm just a bit overwhelmed by how helpless I am right now in my life, where I'm waiting for phone calls by employers so I can save money and get out of this town. I find myself in a prison situation because I want to get out of it but have to work through obstacles in order to get where I want to be.

    With that being said, I relate to the phrase "they say every man must fall" because of that reason. I feel like even though I got myself through a 4 year college, I find myself falling right now because I don't have a job and can't support myself right now. It's just a really sad song and it's beautiful and I'm grateful that I at least have my health and have a talent in art and know that I can do something with my future even though I may be stuck in a rut right now. Things really could be worse and this song gives me hope of a better tomorrow... and it just consoles my soul!

    Long live the love for music and art!! I love music so much and musicians who have the gift of touching your inner core :]
    blueberryhearton July 19, 2012   Link

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