"Highlands" as written by and Robert Allen Zimmerman Bob Dylan....
Well my heart's in The Highlands, gentle and fair
Honeysuckle blooming in the wildwood air
Bluebells blazing where the Aberdeen waters flow
Well my heart's in The Highlands
I'm gonna go there when I feel good enough to go

Windows were shaking all night in my dreams
Everything was exactly the way that it seems
Woke up this mornin' and I looked at the same old page
Same old rat race, life in the same old cage
I don't want nothin' from anyone, ain't that much to take
Wouldn't know the difference between a real blonde and a fake
Feel like a prisoner in a world of mystery
I wish someone'd come and push back the clock for me

Well my heart's in The Highlands wherever I roam
That's where I'll be when I get called home
The wind it whispers to the buckeye trees of rhyme
Well, my heart's in The Highlands
I can only get there one step at a time
I'm listening to Neil Young, I gotta turn up the sound
Someone's always yellin' "Turn it down"
Feel like I'm driftin', driftin' from scene to scene
I'm wonderin' what in the devil could it all possibly mean

Insanity is smashin' up against my soul
You could say I was on anything but a roll
If I had a conscience, well I just might blow my top
What would I do with it anyway, maybe take it to the pawn shop?
My heart's in The Highlands at the break of dawn
By the beautiful lake of the Black Swan
Big white clouds like chariots that swing down low
Well my heart's in The Highlands, only place left to go

I'm in Boston town in some restaurant
I got no idea what I want
Or maybe I do but I'm just really not sure
Waitress comes over, nobody in the place but me and her
Well it must be a holiday, there's nobody around
She studies me closely as I sit down
She got a pretty face and long white shiny legs

I said "Tell me what I want"
She say "You probably want hard boiled eggs"
I said "That's right, bring me some"
She says "We ain't got any, you picked the wrong time to come"
Then she says "I know you're an artist, draw a picture of me"
I said "I would if I could but
I don't do sketches from memory"
Well she's there, she says "I'm right here in front of you
Or haven't you looked?"

I say "All right, I know but I don't have my drawin' book"
She gives me a napkin, she say "You can do it on that"
I say "Yes I could but I don't know where my pencil is at"
She pulls one out from behind her ear
She says "Alright now go ahead draw me I'm stayin' right here"
I make a few lines and I show it for her to see
Well she takes the napkin and throws it back and says
"That don't look a thing like me"

I said "Oh kind miss, it most certainly does"
She say "You must be joking", I said "I wish I was"
She says "You don't read women authors do ya?"
At least that's what I think I hear her say
Well I say "How would you know, and what would it matter anyway?"
Well she says "Ya just don't seem like ya do"
I said "You're way wrong"
She says "Which ones have you read then?", I say "Read Erica Jong"
She goes away for a minute, and I slide out, out of my chair
I step outside back to the busy street, but nobody's goin' anywhere

Well my heart's in The Highlands with the horses and hounds
Way up in the border country far from the towns
With the twang of the arrow and the snap of the bow
My heart's in The Highlands, can't see any other way to go
Every day is the same thing, out the door
Feel further away than ever before
Some things in life it just gets too late to learn
Well I'm lost somewhere, I must have made a few bad turns

I see people in the park, forgettin' their troubles and woes
They're drinkin' and dancin', wearin' bright colored clothes
All the young men with the young women lookin' so good
Well, I'd trade places with any of 'em, in a minute if I could
I'm crossin' the street to get away from a mangy dog
Talkin' to myself in a monologue
I think what I need might be a full-length leather coat
Somebody just asked me if I'm registered to vote

The sun is beginnin' to shine on me
But it's not like the sun that used to be
The party's over and there's less and less to say
I got new eyes, everything looks far away
Well my heart's in The Highlands at the break of day
Over the hills and far away
There's a way to get there, and I'll figure it out somehow
Well I'm already there in my mind and that's good enough for now


Lyrics submitted by nitsirhc

"Highlands" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Highlands song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentmy all-time favorite dylan song. i still end up listening to it at least once a day. time out of mind was the album that actually got me into dylan, now i have all 45 of his albums and know every song by heart. this song's just always been there. not to mention it's exactly 100 lines, which i think is neat.
    saintjimmy99on March 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful.
    wienerscnitzelon May 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentonly 2 comments?! this is one of bob's cleverest songs
    Alex_kx3on August 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that the song is about Bob reminissing about a past love which is put him a day dream "high" state.

    "Then she says, "I know you're an artist, draw a picture of me!"
    I say, "I would if I could, but,
    I don't do sketches from memory."

    and

    "There's a way to get there, and I'll figure it out somehow
    But I'm already there in my mind
    And that's good enough for now"
    Alex_kx3on August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard this, I was driving to an event and was hopelessly lost, and I just remember thinking, geez, when is this thing going to end. I hated it! Now, it's one of my absolute favorite Dylan songs. Here's my take on its meaning: It's basically divided into two parts that weave in and out while being compared and contrasted. Those parts are: 1. Heaven ("the highlands") is going to be a wonderful place, and 2. We sure have to put up with a lot of stupid junk while we are still on earth. On earth, he has to deal with a waitress who doesn't fall victim to his witty banter, desite his best efforts, and he has to deal with being told his music is too loud, the need to vote, all the people who wander around and through his life, what to wear. In short, life is all this mess of stuff, but heaven -- that's going to be something special, and he's trying to get there despite everything else. It's always in the back of his mind. He's seen the world, been everywhere there is to be, except one place that he really, really wants to get to.

    With repeated listenings, this song has grown richer and richer over the years.

    Also, there's a bootleg available online called "Groundhogs day in the Highlands." It's nothing but a collection of live versions of this song. Funny concept, but I think the tempos are way too fast, and the song loses it's contemplative flavor. (It also loses 4 or 5 minutes per performance from the original.)
    rama3296on March 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song sounds to me like the lament or the helplessness of someone who has been everywhere, seen everything and still hasn't worked it out...still can't find peace...can't find what it's all about....but he'll keep trying, and keep trying until he finally gets to where it's at and what it's all about. It's a weary song, a tired song and it's also a very funny song.
    hellopeopleon February 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have a version where they lyrics go

    'I said "tell me what I want"
    she said "you probably want the hard boiled eggs"
    I say "that's right, bring me some"
    she says "we ain't got any, you picked a wrong way to come"'

    and the this part is different here, but what I have appears to be part of the Time Out Of Mind album and is a studio version, not a live one.
    help anyone?

    godly song by the way :]
    karmaxon April 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment1.bp.blogspot.com/_FPfQkRtt_N0/SDdC3_kMsWI/AAAAAAAAACo/4Hb2nB_-yNg/s1600/…

    worldcat.org/oclc/…

    Taleb, Nassim. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House, 2007. 9781400063512
    EdRicardoon January 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is NOT for everyone to comprehend especially those leading youthful happy lives. On fact, even if one has considerable "wisdom" one cannot FEEL this songs deep depression.

    This song is autobiographical in many ways for Bob. Old before his time. Time Out of mind, longing to be young, ahh but you have to act your age. Wanting to be left alone,. being bothered and finding a way out. hiding out, knowing the end is much closer than the beginning.

    This song is NOT just about growing old, having to grow old, and longing. It is about a DAMAGED MAN both spiritually and physically. The extent of that damage is NOT specific in the song but is gathered to be GREAT . The ykey line "Insanity is smashing against my soul".
    There arent many comments on this great song ans some have commented they either "Didnt get it" the first time or even hated it. They are the BLIND, or simply those who are NOT in Bob's PLACE in the universe. It;s a dark, lonely, isolated, intellectual, Highly Conscious and Painful place. I know it WELL.
    sydssongon June 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationJust like rama3296 more than six years ago, I understand that "Highlands" expresses the desire of being in heaven while having to face the "Same ol' rat race - Life in the same ol' cage" every day. Whereas on the "busy street" of life "nobody's going anywhere", Dylan keeps trying to figure out the way to the highlands.

    The central scene in the Boston town restaurant probably reflects his experience with some type of Christianity which initially fascinated and then confused and frustrated him. He is mislead (supposed to order something unavailable), misused (turned from a customer into a worker - no excuse helps), misunderstood (artists either paint portraits or write novels) and left puzzled. The verse about the highlands following this experience is accordingly filled with aggression: "Horses and hounds", " twang of the arrow and a snap of the bow".

    While people around him have more joy in life ("I'd trade places with any of them / In a minute, if I could"), he has to be satisfied with being in the highlands in his mind.
    Mikeschon July 06, 2013   Link

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