"One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" as written by and Bob Dylan....
I didn’t mean
To treat you so bad
You shouldn’t take it so personal
I didn’t mean
To make you so sad
You just happened to be there, that’s all
When I saw you say “goodbye” to your friend and smile
I thought that it was well understood
That you’d be comin’ back in a little while
I didn’t know that you were sayin’ “goodbye” for good

But, sooner or later, one of us must know
That you just did what you’re supposed to do
Sooner or later, one of us must know
That I really did try to get close to you

I couldn’t see
What you could show me
Your scarf had kept your mouth well hid
I couldn’t see
How you could know me
But you said you knew me and I believed you did
When you whispered in my ear
And asked me if I was leavin’ with you or her
I didn’t realize just what I did hear
I didn’t realize how young you were

But, sooner or later, one of us must know
That you're just doin' what you’re supposed to do
Sooner or later, one of us must know
That I really did try to get close to you

I couldn’t see
When it started snowin’
Your voice was all that I heard
I couldn’t see
Where we were goin’
But you said you knew an’ I took your word
And then you told me later, as I apologized
That you were just kiddin’ me, you weren’t really from the farm
An’ I told you, as you clawed out my eyes that I
Never really meant to do you any harm

But, sooner or later, one of us must know
That you just did what you’re supposed to do
Sooner or later, one of us must know
That I really did try to get close to you


Lyrics submitted by D4kido

"One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) song meanings
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33 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song really hit me when I heard it as somone contacting an ex, and declaring that eventually one of them is bound to realize that neither is to blame for the failed relationship. That they both tried and both loved each other.
    Fypaston August 31, 2005   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is about Sedgwick:

    I didn't mean to treat you so bad
    You shouldn't take it so personal
    I didn't mean to make you so sad
    You just happened to be there, that's all

    It's really clear, in fact, he's saying sorry, but at same time excusing himself.

    When I saw you say "goodbye" to your friends and smile
    I thought that it was well understood
    That you'd be comin' back in a little while
    I didn't know that you were sayin' "goodbye" for good

    She said bye to Warhol and all his Factory for Bob, but he doesn't believe her, he tought she would come back to his friend and all this madness. But Edie really left all that behind for Dylan.

    But, sooner or later, one of us must know
    You just did what you're supposed to do
    Sooner or later, one of us must know
    That I really did try to get close to you

    We have tried but for some reason it hasn't worked, is not you blame or mine, but we must know that this isnt going anywhere, Edie.

    I couldn't see what you could show me
    Your scarf had kept your mouth well hid
    I couldn't see how you could know me
    But you said you knew me and I believed you did
    When you whispered in my ear
    And asked me if I was leavin' with you or her
    I didn't realize just what I did hear
    I didn't realize how young you were

    He couldn't see what she really was, and what she really feel, cause was in some aspects really superficial about her look and clothes, and he couldn't believe for sure she loves him. So he wasn't sure about her, cause she was so charming in many ways, but finally when they were close he forgot that and believe anything she said. Then I think is talking about Edie and Sara, they must had talk about that in some moment, and he was "blind" by her, even thinking about leaving Sara for a moment and just be for Edie. Now he see how blind he was, and how young she was for him.

    I couldn't see when it started snowin'
    Your voice was all that I heard
    I couldn't see where we were goin'
    But you said you knew an' I took your word
    And then you told me later, as I apologized
    That you were just kiddin' me, you weren't really from the farm
    An' I told you, as you clawed out my eyes
    That I never really meant to do you any harm

    He didn't see when things starts to get so bad, he was focus only in her. He trust her and expect her to take the situation. He says he's sorry but it had to be over, and she acts on the defensive, kidding him, but Bob knows she's broke, and feels sorry cause he didn't want her to feel that bad.
    bowiereedthingon June 11, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a girl that he (the narrator) has had a long relationship with, then he sinced it was ending (or started to have feelings for another girl.. or was cheating on her) so he broke up with her. Then she was so sad she killed herself. The chorus is kind of the narrator rationalizing his actions or looking at it from her side of the story.
    SMUSER17000263on October 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment--No wait. Scratch that. I think it's about a girl who had a strong crush on him and he didn't realize it. She tried to tell him, but he didn't hear her. (second verse) So she got so upset she killed herself.
    SMUSER17000263on October 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI got to say is that "when you whispered in my ear, and asked me if I was leavin' with you or her. I didn't realize just what I did hear. I didn't realize how young you were." is such a fantastic line. It really clicks with me and I love it......and in the liner notes you see a photo of a girl whispering in Bob's ear.
    serge_67on November 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPlease, brothers and sisters, answer me:

    What the fuck does "you weren't really from the farm" means????

    Anything. I'll even accept lies.
    cavernon February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a a leap to think suicide is part of the equation in this song: The phrase "goodbye for good" encompasses more possibilities than that. Dylan's songs became very general around this time - he was avoiding specifics so as to keep interpretative possibilities open & to avoid what he called the 'journalism' of his so-called 'protest' songs.

    This song is likely inspired by Edie Sedgwick, as is 'Just Like A Woman'. Cavern, the 'farm' ref reinforces this...just change 'farm' to 'Factory' (as in Warhol's talent 'farm'), and the song becomes - just possibly - another commentary on the shallowness of that scene.
    elephant_rangeon February 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks, man!
    It doesn't matter if you're wrong. Now it makes sense. Finally!
    cavernon March 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo probs. "One of Us Must Know" is so literal that it is confusing when a single metaphor gets thrown in. It sounds like Bob just wrote someone a letter and sang it. This might be a stretch, but further evidence on this count; the 'factory' with the 'heart attack machine' in "Desolation Row" could easily ref the Warholian mad science & paraphanalia of the 'Plastic Exploding Inevitable' sideshow & Warhol's movies, etc....the 'castles' in "Desolation Row" might be the 'Castle' club in NYC where Neuwirth, Sedgwick, & Dylan used to hang around this time. BTW, Dylan I think has a right to be pissed off about the new movie being made about he & Sedgwick ("Factory Girl"). The fact that "Lay Lady Lay" is implied to be about Sedgwick shows just how uninformed the filmakers must be. That song appeared much later on "Nashville Skyline", and simply does not fit the context.
    elephant_rangeon March 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've heard that this song and Like A Rolling Stone are both about Edie Sedgewick, this girl that used to hang out with Andy Warhol. Edie went out with Bob. She was a lot younger than him, was extremely rich and from the exact opposite of a farm, and said goodbye for good when she died of an overdose in her early 20s.
    judgingnoraon September 06, 2005   Link

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