"Angelina" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Well, it's always been my nature to take chances
My right hand drawing back while my left hand advances
Where the current is strong and the monkey dances
To the tune of a concertina

Blood dryin' in my yellow hair as I go from shore to shore
I know what it is that has drawn me to your door
But whatever it could be, makes you think you've seen me before
Angelina

Oh, Angelina. Oh, Angelina

His eyes were two slits that would make a snake proud
With a face that any painter would paint as he walked through the crowd
Worshipping a god with the body of a woman well endowed
And the head of a hyena

Do I need your permission to turn the other cheek?
If you can read my mind, why must I speak?
No, I have heard nothing about the man that you seek
Angelina

Oh, Angelina. Oh, Angelina

In the valley of the giants where the stars and stripes explode
The peaches they were sweet and the milk and honey flowed
I was only following instructions when the judge sent me down the road
With your subpoena

When you cease to exist, then who will you blame?
I've tried my best to love you, but I cannot play this game
Your best friend and my worst enemy is one and the same
Angelina

Oh, Angelina. Oh, Angelina

There's a black Mercedes rollin' through the combat zone
Your servants are half dead; you're down to the bone
Tell me, tall man, where would you like to be overthrown
Maybe down in Jerusalem or Argentina?

She was stolen from her mother when she was three days old
Now her vengeance has been satisfied and her possessions have been sold
He's surrounded by God's angels and she's wearin' a blindfold
And so are you, Angelina

Oh, Angelina. Oh, Angelina

I see pieces of men marching; trying to take heaven by force
I can see the unknown rider, I can see the pale white horse
In God's truth tell me what you want, and you'll have it of course
Just step into the arena

Beat a path of retreat up them spiral staircases
Pass the tree of smoke, pass the angel with four faces
Begging God for mercy and weepin' in unholy places
Angelina

Oh, Angelina. Oh, Angelina


Lyrics submitted by nitsirhc

"Angelina [outtake]" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Angelina song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentonce again, about the bob-sara relationship, i think, and about d-i-v-o-r-c-e......with "the names changed to protect the innocent" ......tumultuous relationship and torrid love affair......had one like that, but couldn't write about it like this though such a gift.. amazing lyrics as per usual from mr.dylan, (then add in the perfect/heavenly/tremendous music..omg,) the emotions and feelings this songs brings out are veeerrrrrrry "familiar"..... and bring rise to deep thought and introspection both into self and this "trip" called life...
    HonoluluBobon October 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthow could it not be ? nature to take chances, right vs. left handed, artist vs.thinker, one recording (boot at that), no other versions, never performed(same applies to SadEyedLady, Sara, on and on for a host of songs, out of respect for her one would assume, or legal agreement) angelina=little angel, search source of name dylan, blonde child of the sea, powerfully evocative lyrics, dylan at one of his finest moments, ONE i say, because there are literally hundreds of such moments/songs/lyrics/masterpieces, truly a master of his craft, and not a bad painter either !!
    HonoluluBobon July 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand (blood dryin' in my hair) as i go from shore to shore (never ending tour) and on and on......he is THE man of the century in music.....music for between your ears.....
    HonoluluBobon July 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think you have to focus on the time this was written. This song was recorded towards the end of his born again Christian phase, so it's reasonable to assume that he's dealing with some real theological ideas here. As great as an lyricist as Dylan is, I think it's unwise that any one of his songs is autobiographical. Sure, a lot of them are, but a lot of them aren't.

    I'm not going to pretend to know what this song is about. But a number of verses refer directly to verses in Revelation. For example: the men trying to take heaven by force, the unknown rider, the pale white horse, and the angel with four faces. The tall man being overthrown could be Satan, since Jerusalem is said to be the place of the final battle between God and the devil. Argentina probably refers to the Falkland Islands war between England and Argentina.

    The verses "Do I need your permission to turn the other cheek?" refers to a quote from Jesus, and the next line (If you can read my mind, why must I speak?) seems to address him.

    My hunch is that the most important verse is "I've tried my best to love you, but I cannot play this game." I think this song might be about Dylan' beginning to walk away from Christianity. But like I said, it might have nothing to do with him. It could be one of his ultrasymbolic Christian songs like Groom's Still Waiting at The Altar.
    pthalomarieon October 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis whole song is spiritual in nature, filled with biblically referenced teachings.

    In the first verse: Bob's methods

    He illustrates where the "current" is strong and tends to drag others along, it's in his nature to take chances and use his performances (monkey dances) and draws back his right hand (the hand of power or authority) to use his tunes to persuade instead of force.


    The 2nd: His motivation

    "Blood dryin’ in my yellow hair" - may illustrate his battle (dryin' - it's not a fresh battle) with fear "yellow" (maybe the fear of rejection).
    "as I go from shore to shore" - travels the world
    "I know what it is that has drawn me to your door" - what motivates him.
    "But whatever it could be, makes me think you’ve seen me before" - make him think you understand his motivation.


    The 3rd: Calling out of false prophets and church

    "His eyes were two slits that would make a snake proud with a face that any painter would paint as he walked through the crowd" - Deceivers that would make Satan proud, "wolves in sheep's clothing.
    "Worshipping a god with the body of a woman well endowed and the head of a hyena - those thinking their "endowed" with God's wisdom.
    "Do I need your permission to turn the other cheek? - to turn away from a false church
    If you can read my mind, why must I speak? - don't misconstrue this as my rejection of my faith
    No, I have heard nothing about the man that you seek - Your Christ and mine are not the same.


    The 4th & 5th: Calling of America & the earthly powerful to judgment

    "In the valley of the giants where the stars and stripes explode, The peaches they were sweet and the milk and honey flowed. I was only following instructions when the judge sent me down the road With your subpoena"

    "When you cease to exist, then who will you blame I’ve tried my best to love you but I cannot play this game. Your best friend and my worst enemy is one and the same."

    "There’s a "black Mercedes" (disguised figures - tall "men") rollin’ through the combat zone (the world). Your servants are half dead, you’re down to the bone (time is almost up). Tell me, tall "men", where would you like to be overthrown, in "Jerusalem or Argentina"? (in the spiritual or in the flesh).

    She was stolen from her mother when she was three days old Now her vengeance has been satisfied and her possessions have been sold. He’s surrounded by God’s angels and she’s wearin’ a blindfold
    And so are you, Angelina - The deceivers are also the deceived.






    The 6th: Two paths

    "I see pieces of men marching; trying to take heaven by force I can see the unknown rider, I can see the pale white horse. In God’s truth tell me what you want and you’ll have it of course Just step into the arena." - by force

    "Beat a path of retreat up them spiral staircases, Pass the tree of smoke, pass the angel with four faces
    Begging God for mercy and weepin’ in unholy places" - by surrender

    Maybe "Angelina" is a play on a false angel
    gaskorupon April 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of Dylan's greatest songs. Not sure I would say it's about Bob and Sara.

    I read an interesting article somewhere that said it was a continuation of the song Farewell Angelina.
    Rubber_Soul1012on June 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow could it not be ? nature to take chances, right vs. left handed, artist vs.thinker, one recording (boot at that), no other versions, never performed(same applies to SadEyedLady, Sara, on and on for a host of songs, out of respect for her one would assume, or legal agreement) angelina=little angel, search source of name dylan, blonde child of the sea, powerfully evocative lyrics, dylan at one of his finest moments, ONE i say, because there are literally hundreds of such moments/songs/lyrics/masterpieces, truly a master of his craft, and not a bad painter either !!
    HonoluluBobon July 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm always amazed with everyone's interpretations and this discussion doesn't fail. I think you're all correct about Angelina. It's a song which, to me, has always fit both bills of unanswerable spirituality/religion conflicts and those simpler issues of the plain ol' human condition.

    Who else but Dylan could go to the places where all people but the soulless always wander to ponder and try to figure out?
    Sidrison January 05, 2015   Link

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