"Desolation Row (Bob Dylan cover)" as written by and Bob Dylan....
They're
Selling postcards
Of the hanging
They're painting
The passports brown
The beauty parlor
Is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes
The blind commissioner
They've got him in a trance
One hand is tied
To the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad
They're restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady
And I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Cinderella
She seems so easy
"It takes one to know one"
She smiles
And puts her hands
In her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo
He's moaning
"You Belong to Me I Believe"
And someone says
"You're in the wrong place
My friend
You better leave"
And the only sound that's left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortunetelling lady
Has even taken
All her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan
He's dressing
He's getting ready
For the show
He's going
To the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row

Now Ophelia
She's 'neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid

To her death
Is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession's her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes
Are fixed upon
Noah's great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

Einstein
Disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend
A jealous monk
He looked
So immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off
Sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you
Would not think
To look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing
The electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They're trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She's in charge
Of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps
The cards that read
"Have Mercy on His Soul"
They all play
On penny whistles
You can hear them blow
If you lean
Your head out far enough
From Desolation Row

Across the street
They've nailed the curtains
They're getting ready
For the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
A perfect image of a priest
They're spoon feeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they'll kill him
With self-confidence
After poisoning him with words

And the Phantom's
Shouting to skinny girls
"Get Outta Here
If You Don't Know
Casanova is just being
Punished for going
To Desolation Row"

Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see
That nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero's Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody's shouting
"Which Side Are You On?"
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain's tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes,
I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the door knob broke)
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can't read too good
Don't send me no more letters no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row


Lyrics submitted by Rafael Moliv, edited by SmashingDestiny, tradingmistakes

"Desolation Row" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Desolation Row (Bob Dylan cover) song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentjust in case people were wondering, this is the Bob Dylan cover for the movie Watchmen that they're doing.

    Hope that clears up questions.
    ramshackledayparadeon July 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEven though they didn't write it, it's very mychem :)
    bec0105on October 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn the music video they only sing a few of these verses and the ending is cut short so technicly these aren't the correct lyrics.. is there a version somewhere w/ all of these verses? they did a great job at this cover and i hope the new album will sound like more like this than black parade. seems like they're headed back to the three cheers style which i would enjoy better.
    SouthernPunk777on January 31, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThey're selling postcards of the hanging
    They're painting the passports brown
    The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
    The circus is in town
    Here comes the blind commissioner
    They've got him in a trance
    One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
    The other is in his pants
    And the riot squad, they're restless
    They need somewhere to go
    As Lady and I look out tonight
    From Desolation Row

    Cinderella, she seems so easy
    "Well, it takes one to know one," she smiles,
    And puts her hands in her back pockets
    Bette Davis style
    And in comes Romeo, moaning
    "You belong to me, I believe"
    And someone says
    "You're in the wrong place, my friend,
    You better leave"
    And the only sound that's left
    After the ambulances go
    Is Cinderella sweeping up
    On Desolation Row

    Now at midnight, all the agents
    And the superhuman crew
    Come out and round up everyone
    That knows more than they do
    Then they bring them to the factory
    Where the heart-attack machine
    Is strapped across their shoulders
    And then the kerosene
    Is brought down from the castles
    By insurance men who go
    Check to see that nobody is escaping
    To Desolation Row

    Right now I can't read too good
    Don't send me no more letters no
    Not unless you mail them
    From Desolation Row
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Those are the lyrics used. Everything else is from the Bob Dylan 11-minute version.
    strider3005on February 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThey chose this song, and a crapload of other Dylan songs for the Watchmen soundtrack because the graphic novel was chock full of quotes from songs he wrote. Every chapter was named after a snippet of a famous quote, and at the end of the chapters, the quote was given in full. Chapter one was called "At Midnight All the Agents..." and the quote at the end of the chapter was "At midnight all the agents and superhuman crew go and round up everyone who knows more than they do. -Bob Dylan." They did this with bible passages and song lyrics from a lot of 60's songs, mostly because the 60's were the era where the differences between the Watchmen's world and ours are easiest to see. As for everyone griping that this isn't MCR's song, it was done by Dylan first, chill out. So was "All Along the Watchtower," which, by the way, was also quoted in the book, correctly attributed to Dylan in the quote, and was put on the soundtrack. Most people think that was Jimmy Hendrix originally, but it was written by Bob Dylan. Dylan isn't pissed about it, so you shouldn't be, either. I think loverly23 has a bit of a point in saying that Dylan songs are best done by Dylan himself, except for Watchtower. Hendrix' version is much more brutally haunting, in my opinion. Sometimes the cover really is better than the original. Ever heard the original version of Mad World? Most people know it as the song from the final minutes of Donnie Darko, performed by Gary Jules. But it was a cover of a Tears for Fears song. The T4F version was, quite frankly, not even very musically significant. Jules turned it into a bittersweet masterpiece. This is why I always give covers a chance. Including this one, which I thought was a great interpretation.
    VandalHearton July 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentZach Snyder (director, Watchmen) apparently proposed that MCR do a full version of this song for the movie. No doubt, it'll probably be played during the end credits.

    I've heard them do several live versions of the song, and it's not so bad. One trippy tune, though.
    BetterDeadOnRedon September 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti heard the song they were covering was all along the watchtower by dylan.

    any info?
    murdermachineon October 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentvery good song!!! i think my chemical romance did wonderful. i know nothing is as good as the original but i think they did an AMAZING job!!!! i love it!!! the music video is pretty awesome too!!! it gets you all hyped up and stuff!!
    crazychickyon January 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGerard said in an interview that he could only pick four verses to sing.
    Hopefully that clears up any confusion...if there was any, that is. :)

    Anyway, I think My Chem did a great job on the cover.
    I hope their next album has this sound to it.
    :D
    winterxskyon February 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow that's a goood cover version....its all good!
    indigo_bluon February 06, 2009   Link

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