Man thinks 'cause he rules the earth he can do with it as he please
And if things don't change soon, he will
Oh, man has invented his doom,
First step was touching the moon

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there as the night grows still
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, they take him and they teach him and they groom him for life
And they set him on a path where he's bound to get ill,
Then they bury him with stars,
Sell his body like they do used cars

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there facin' the hill
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, he's hell-bent for destruction, he's afraid and confused,
And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill
All he believes are his eyes
And his eyes, they just tell him lies

But there's a woman on my block,
Sitting there in a cold chill
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Every noisemaker, spirit maker,
Heartbreaker, backbreaker,
Leave no stone unturned
May be an actor in a plot,
That might be all that you got
'Til your error you clearly learn

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
And when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled
Oh, man is opposed to fair play,
He wants it all and he wants it his way

Now, there's a woman on my block,
She just sit there as the night grows still
She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Lyrics submitted by retsyn, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"License to Kill" as written by Bob Dylan


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License to Kill song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentbasically a song about the shit state of the world and mankind
    willardon November 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDylan used to include this song in concert whenever a space craft was in orbit. I think he was going through a luddite anti-technology phase. I don't know if he has commented on space travel in recent years. Tom Petty's version at the 30th Anniversity Concert is quite good.
    bhoover247on June 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how man can bring himself to destruction. The technology in reaching the moon is facilitating the process. It also says that even if you have a little part to play, you still are a part of the destruction process because it's in the nature of man.

    However it's unclear what the woman represents.
    dylanrockson December 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTom Petty does a good version of this on Dylans 30th Anniversary Concert.
    If man can settle on the moon he can forget about the mess he leaves on Earth. Re:Ben Elton's "Stark".
    chrisb1on February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIntresting lyrics here "His brain has been mismanaged with great skill, now all he belives are his eyes, and his eyes ther just telling lies" Id interpret that to mean, Induced phycological torment resulting in a delusional state of mind.
    Detectiveon March 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst step was touching the moon = really just a reference to the space race. Placing a satellite in orbit means you can put a nuke anywhere on the planet.

    Man hates other man and has wars against each other. (Buries him with stars ie military honors)

    Sell his body like used cars (Lenin's tomb)

    bugmenoton December 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe last verse is pretty sgnificant, it is a reference to Narcississ of legend. Coincidentally (or probably not) Narcississ' love was named Echo, also the name of the love of Dylan's youth.
    EZEebson January 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfor me this is one of the clearest songs that Dylan has written that conveys a message.

    The song has a similar slant on Pink Floyds "welcome to the machine" How we are programmed to comply with society and not question. We are fed garbage and crave garbage!

    One of his best ever and very underrated.
    tofty21on August 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've been obsessed with this song for the past two days after watching his performance on Letterman in 1984 on youtube. I believe it's about the state of man in a Godless world -- the fallout for having killed God. Without God, "who gonna take away his license to kill?" We're left unchecked, worshipping at an altar of our own reflection, believing only what we see with our eyes.
    gregwon April 06, 2013   Link

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