"The Levee's Gonna Break" as written by and Bob Dylan....
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
Everybody saying this is a day only the Lord could make

Well, I worked on the levee, mama, both night and day
I worked on the levee, mama, both night and day
I got to the river and I threw my clothes away

I paid my time and now I'm good as new,
I paid my time and now I'm as good as new
They can't take me back unless I want 'em to

If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
Some of these people gonna strip you of all they can take

I can't stop here I ain't ready to unload
I can't stop here I ain't ready to unload
Riches and salvation can be waiting behind the next bend in the road

I picked you up from the gutter and this is the thanks I get
I picked you up from the gutter and this is the thanks I get
You say you want me to quit ya, I told ya, 'No, not just yet'

Well, I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
I look in your eyes, I see nobody other than me
I see all that I am and all I hope to be

If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
Some of these people don't know which road to take

When I'm with you, I forget I was ever blue
When I'm with you, I forget I was ever blue
Without you there's no meaning in anything I do

Some people on the road carryin' everything that they own
Some people on the road carryin' everything they own
Some people got barely enough skin to cover their bones

Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress
Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress
Few more years of hard work, then there'll be a thousand years of happiness

If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
I tried to get you to love me, but I won't repeat that mistake

If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
Plenty of cheap stuff out there and still around that you take

I woke up this morning, butter and eggs in my bed
I woke up this morning, butter and eggs in my bed
I ain't got enough room to even raise my head

Come back, baby, say we never more will part
Come back, baby, say we never more will part
Don't be a stranger with no brain or heart

If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
Some people still sleepin', some people are wide awake


Lyrics submitted by SmileAway

"The Levee's Gonna Break" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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The Levee's Gonna Break song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI find it funny that the verse structure of this song is exactly the same as Woody Guthrie's "Worried Man Blues". Bob sure hasn't forgotten his youth hero.

    Anyway, this is a great song which refers, correct me if I'm wrong, the Katrina hurricane and the New Orleands disaster.
    wwbon September 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbove all, of course, it refers to Memphis Minnie's "When The Levee Breaks" (also recorded by Led Zeppelin).
    beer goodon September 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think the stucture was taken specifically from Worried Man Blues - it's quite standard for a blues song
    msr123on April 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read this line as a struggle to reconcile natural evils with a belief in a good God:
    "If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
    Everybody saying this is a day only the Lord could make"

    And this is a reference to all of the crime and theft that took place in the wake of the Katrina disaster:
    "If it keep on rainin', the levee gonna break
    Some of these people gonna strip you of all they can take"

    oooh, this is an interesting reference to the christian eschatological belief that christ's return will be followed by 1000 years of peace:
    "Put on your cat clothes, mama, put on your evening dress
    Few more years of hard work, then there'll be a 1,000 years of happiness"
    LoganWalteron May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is based off of the song by Kansas Joe McCoy, a black jazz muscian in the 40s and 50s, called When the Levee Breaks, which was adapted by Led Zeplin on the Mothership album. This has nothing to do with New Orleans, in a press release after it was brought up that Dylan seemingly 'copied' this song without giving credit he said it was loosely based off it in lyrics and in meaning. In the 50s Katrina was a name and not a hurricane, so I doubt it was written as a homage to Katrina.
    Pard68on March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWhat are the butter and eggs toward end of song?
    stevesorensenon December 30, 2008   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationBob Dylan is a Dada artist. These lyrics have no meaning. Dada is about nonsense. It is meant as an indictment of western culture and its horrors - see WW1 and WW2 for examples of these horrors. Also take a look at that famous Seymour Chwast poster that references a marcel duchamp self portrait. It is making a direct link between the most famous nonsense artist ever and Dylan.

    Inb4 you are all being trolled. Inb4 you accuse me of trolling. Inb4 maybe I am. Maybe Bob Dylan is.
    macmcraeon May 12, 2013   Link

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