There's a long-distance train rolling through the rain, tears on the letter I write.
There's a woman I long to touch and I miss her so much but she's drifting like a
satellite. There's a neon light ablaze in this green smoky haze, laughter down on
Elizabeth Street
And a lonesome bell tone in that valley of stone where she bathed in a stream of pure
heat. Her father would emphasize you got to be more than street-wise but he practiced
what he preached from the heart.
A full-blooded Cherokee, he predicted to me the time and the place that the trouble would start.

There's a babe in the arms of a woman in a rage
And a longtime golden-haired stripper onstage
And she winds back the clock and she turns back the page
Of a book that no one can write.
Oh, where are you tonight?

The truth was obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you have to explode.
In that last hour of need, we entirely agreed, sacrifice was the code of the road.
I left town at dawn, with Marcel and St. John, strong men belittled by doubt.
I couldn't tell her what my private thoughts were but she had some way of finding
them out. He took dead-center aim but he missed just the same, she was waiting,
putting flowers on the shelf.
She could feel my despair as I climbed up her hair and discovered her invisible self.

There's a lion in the road, there's a demon escaped,
There's a million dreams gone, there's a landscape being raped,
As her beauty fades and I watch her undrape,
I won't, but then again, maybe I might.
Oh, if I could just find you tonight.

I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the way.
Horseplay and disease is killing me by degrees while the law looks the other way.
Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimes, the guy you were lovin'
couldn't stay clean.
It felt outa place, my foot in his face, but he should-a stayed where his money was
green.
I bit into the root of forbidden fruit with the juice running down my leg.
Then I dealt with your boss, who'd never known about loss and who always was
too proud to beg.
There's a white diamond gloom on the dark side of this room and a pathway that leads
up to the stars.
If you don't believe there's a price for this sweet paradise, remind me to show you the
scars.

There's a new day at dawn and I've finally arrived.
If I'm there in the morning, baby, you'll know I've survived.
I can't believe it, I can't believe I'm alive,
But without you it just doesn't seem right.
Oh, where are you tonight?


Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles


Where Are You Tonight? song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of Dylan's most underrated songs. I think that the sheer power of the lyrics gets a bit lost in the gloss, but they are pretty incredible nonetheless.
    seandirectoron January 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationDefinitely one of the great Dylan songs. It's about Sara, anguish at two-timing and betraying her ("there's a babe in the arms of a woman in rage"), losing her, moving on from her, but always missing her. Lots of intense garbled imagery, but if you think of Dylan with another woman and Sara finding her at their house, with their kids, then taking the kids away, the images begin to make sense: including forbidden fruit, leaving town at dawn, the inner conflict, the obscure truths of a broken relationship, truths that you can't live without exploding. There's another woman, another sweet paradise, but the price for that are the scars. It's a divorce song, isn't it? Maybe the great divorce song.
    Alexragnaron April 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a brilliant song, up there with his best.

    I loved this album from the first time I heard it. Since there can be no "best Dylan album" I won't rate it but it's near the top for me. I don't understand why people crap all over it. Maybe I'm influenced by the fact that the first of the 30 or so concerts I've seen was the one touring with this album, though he only played two songs from Street Legal, including Where are you Tonight? I actually have a recording of the show. Anyway, I always thought the line :

    If you don’t believe there’s a price for this sweet paradise
    Remind me to show you the scars

    was" If you don't believe there's a Christ in this sweet paradise...."

    Which is also brilliant plus being advance notice of his born again thing which started right afterwards.

    Another line that always intrigued me is:

    I left town at dawn, with Marcel and St. John
    Strong men belittled by doubt

    Love the line. But who in hell are Marcel and St. John. Researching this, it seems that a church, called St John's Abbey, hugely important in the Catholic church, is located not that far from Mr. Dylan's Farm outside of Minneaoplis. It was designed by Marcel Breuer...that's all I got so far...anybody got other ideas?
    kerryknollon February 23, 2014   Link

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