"Idiot Wind" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Someone's got it in for me
They're planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they'd cut it out quick
But when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray
And took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks
And when she died it came to me
I can't help it if I'm lucky

People see me all the time
And they just can't remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas
Images and distorted facts
Even you, yesterday
You had to ask me where it was at
I couldn't believe after all these years
You didn't know me better than that
Sweet lady

Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the back roads headin' south
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot, babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller
Who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven't known peace and quiet
For so long I can't remember what it's like
There's a lone soldier on the cross
Smoke pourin' out of a boxcar door
You didn't know it, you didn't think it could be done
In the final end he won the wars
After losin' every battle

I woke up on the roadside
Daydreamin' 'bout the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare
Shoot through my head and are makin' me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best
And cover up the truth with lies
One day you'll be in the ditch
Flies buzzin' around your eyes
Blood on your saddle

Idiot wind
Blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot, babe
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

It was gravity which pulled us down
And destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage
But it just wasn't enough to change my heart
Now everything's a little upside down
As a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What's good is bad, what's bad is good
You'll find out when you reach the top
You're on the bottom

I noticed at the ceremony
Your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can't remember your face anymore
Your mouth has changed
Your eyes don't look into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day
And sat stone-faced while the building burned
I waited for you on the running boards
Near the cypress trees, while the springtime turned
Slowly into autumn

Idiot wind
Blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol
Idiot wind
Blowing every time you move your teeth
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I can't feel you anymore
I can't even touch the books you've read
Every time I crawl past your door
I been wishin' I was somebody else instead
Down the highway, down the tracks
Down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars
Hounded by your memory
And all your ragin' glory

I been double-crossed now
For the very last time and now I'm finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast
On the borderline which separated you from me
You'll never know the hurt I suffered
Nor the pain I rise above,
And I'll never know the same about you
Your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry

Idiot wind
Blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind
Blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We're idiots, babe
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves


Lyrics submitted by typo

"Idiot Wind" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Idiot Wind song meanings
Add your thoughts

50 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +11
    General CommentBefore you all vilify the Bobster so much (although he was a real prick) take a closer look.

    He compares himself to Jesus in his self-righteous suffering ('There's a lone soldier on the cross...'), implies that his wife is such an idiot she's going to die ('One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes and blood on your saddle'), and generally spews venom at the entire world. But in the final verse, at the height of his self-pity ('You'll never know the hurt I suffered, nor the pain I rise above...') he comes out with something completely different. 'And I'll never know the same about you, your holiness or your kind of love, and it makes me feel so sorry...' Then, in the chorus following this verse- instead of 'You're an idiot babe,' it's 'We're idiots babe,' a very important distinction.

    So over the course of eight minutes, Dylan lashes out in pain and anger, only to realise that he has to take responsibility for his own situation. It's a rare document of honesty and humility for the man, all the more genuine with the fact that he is realising this in the process of writing the song. It makes it all the more affecting, to me, to know that it isn't hatred that inspires his words, but sheer pain. A great song.
    melancolleyon October 19, 2005   Link
  • +6
    General CommentWhat a lyrical genius... this is some of Bob's best work
    Fredrickon March 08, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMy view is that the "idiot wind" isn't stupid things people say, but rather manipulative manifestations of their own narcissism that they couch in terms of "love". A simple common real world example would be when someone tells you they love you. Certainly that could be genuine, but often it seems to be simply a method of getting someone to tell them they are worthy by saying the same thing back to them. In contrast, real love isn't worried about hearing that back. Instead of learning who a person is and loving them for who they are, we create a box and define them in how they fulfil our psychological needs. You will see people who have been married a long time stop using their spouses names and begin referring to them as "my wife" or "my husband" or even less endearing terms. I couldn't believe after all these years, you didn't know me any better than that, sweet lady (as opposed to Sara or whoever - that's why what is a compliment on paper sounds so much like an insult when he says it). IT's a character she plays because he has a psychological need for it that he realizes is a sickness unto death. This is why the reference to Jesus, Dylan is trying to find meaning in his life, and he realizes he will never have it with her. And, he knows it is as much his fault as hers.

    And it makes me feel so sorry.
    montresoron September 28, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI read an interesting thing today which made me think about a line from this song. Here it is :

    "Bockscar, sometimes called Bock's Car or Bocks Car, is the name of the United States Army Air Forces B-29 bomber that dropped the "Fat Man" nuclear weapon over Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, the second atomic weapon used against Japan. It was assigned to the 393d Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group.

    The name painted on the aircraft after the mission is a pun on "boxcar" after the name of its aircraft commander, Captain Frederick C. Bock."

    Source- Wikipedia.

    Is that line in this song supposed to be 'smoke pourin' out of the bockscar door' rather than 'boxcar door'?
    Think about it.
    sujiton July 22, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"One day you'll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes"
    Damn! What a great song. And sometimes he's singing as he was going to jump out of the radio and stab her
    cavernon February 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt is one of his masterpieces. Along w/ Like a Rolling Stone, Positively Fourth Street, Visions of Johana, Just Like a Woman, Memphis Blues, and Ballad of a Thin Man, this tune just screams at the listener to think! He always challenges his listener. I read somewhere, he never likes to repeat himself. This song is so incredibly unique. I remember when I was a kid when this album came out, and thought, what a great song title! So obviously the song is about a heartwrenching break up, probably his own, but he denies it. He said, "That was a song I wanted to make as a painting. A lot of people thought that song, that album, Blood on the Tracks, pertained to me, because it seemed to at the time. It was just a concept of putting in images that defy time--yesterday, today and tomorrow. I wanted to make them all connect in some strange way."

    I don't believe him. It is probably about his break-up w/ Sara, and disguised as something more universal, like the soldier, the boxcar, the priest on the 7th day, the millionaire in Italy. The man's mind is so incredibly complex. That is what is so entertaining about his music. He is truly a painter. The images just come flying out of this song, like those in Johana--"lights flicker in the opposite loft, in this room the heat pipes just cough." Here, "flies buzzing around your eyes, blood on your saddle" prove to be such strong imagery. Even the album title portends something tragic, ominous, like the Coen Bros film "There will be Blood."

    I agree w/ the previous poster--he is embittered at his ex, yet in the end admits it indeed takes two to tangle. There is plenty of blame for both. He is finally being honest w/ himself in the end. But what strikes me the most is his anger. Like Positively 4th Street, I have rarely heard a song containing so much rage.

    One other thing--I don't believe I have ever heard an album that kicks off w/ four of the artist's most powerful/poignant songs--Tangled up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, You're a Big Girl Now, and Idiot Wind. Even though I think his stuff in '65 and '66 were his finest works, I still think this is his best yet--it's also the best musically.
    railroadginon May 27, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI listen to the lyrics and it puts me right back in one of the most dysfunctional relationships iv ever been in. This is not a bad thing because I'm out of it now and in a beautiful relationship. This track does it for me as I feel his pain, I really get that anger and frustration. So much resentment until I owned my part and stopped blaming. Great!!
    mrsiegalon June 04, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt's not an admission. He can only kiss goodbye the howling beast when recognises his complicity. And you cannot live with the howling beast forever
    jeremy1182on July 18, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is not only about Bob's wife Sara, although some parts defenently (sp?) are... Anyway, It's also about the Idiot Wind, turning people into gossip and pictures on magazine covers. The wind is a killer of poets and artists. A beautiful piece.
    I And Ion May 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti know a woman like this...

    i'm surprised she isn't on the phone with me right now asking me what to do after she exhales.
    roger wilcoon June 16, 2002   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain