Some time ago a crazy dream came to me
I dreamt I was walkin' into World War Three,
I went to the doctor the very next day
To see what kinda words he could say
He said it was a bad dream
I wouldn't worry 'bout it none, though
They were my own dreams and they're only in my head

I said, "Hold it, doc, a World War passed through my brain"
He said, "Nurse, get your pad, this boy's insane"
He grabbed my arm, I said "Ouch!"
As I landed on the psychiatric couch
He said, "Tell me about it"

Well, the whole thing started at 3 o'clock fast
It was all over by quarter past
I was down in the sewer with some little lover
When I peeked out from a manhole cover
Wondering who turned the lights on

Well, I got up and walked around
And up and down the lonesome town
I stood a-wondering which way to go
I lit a cigarette on a parking meter
And walked on down the road
It was a normal day

Well, I rung the fallout shelter bell
And I leaned my head and I gave a yell
"Give me a string bean, I'm a hungry man"
A shotgun fired and away I ran
I don't blame them too much though
I know I look funny

Down at the corner by a hot-dog stand
I seen a man, I said, "Howdy friend
I guess there's just us two"
He screamed a bit and away he flew
Thought I was a Communist

Well, I spied a girl and before she could leave
"Let's go and play Adam and Eve"
I took her by the hand and my heart it was thumpin'
When she said, "Hey man, you crazy or sumpin'
You see what happened last time they started"

Well, I seen a Cadillac window uptown
And there was nobody aroun'
I got into the driver's seat
And I drove 42nd Street
In my Cadillac
Good car to drive after a war

Well, I remember seein' some ad
So I turned on my Conelrad
But I didn't pay my Con Ed bill
So the radio didn't work so well
Turned on my player
It was Rock-A-Day, Johnny singin'
"Tell your ma, tell your pa
our loves are gonna grow ooh-wah, ooh-wah"

I was feelin' kinda lonesome and blue
I needed somebody to talk to
So I called up the operator of time
Just to hear a voice of some kind
"When you hear the beep
It will be three o'clock"
She said that for over an hour
And I hung it up

Well, the doctor interrupted me just about then
Sayin', "Hey I've been havin' the same old dreams
But mine was a little different, you see
I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me
I didn't see you around"

Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody's having them dreams
Everybody sees themselves walkin' around with no one else
Half of the people can be part right all of the time
Some of the people can be all right part of the time
But all the people can't be all right all the time
I think Abraham Lincoln said that
"I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours"
I said that

Lyrics submitted by Jack

Talkin' World War III Blues Lyrics as written by Robert Allen Zimmerman Bob Dylan

Lyrics © Special Rider Music

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Talkin' World War III Blues song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment
    Buy Freewheelin and listen to all the songs.. Half of the people can be part right all of the time, And some of the people can be all right part of the time, But all of the people can't be all right all of the time. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. 'I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours.' I said that. that is one of the coolest lines in musical history...listen to this song!
    Bellyfull of Swanson January 16, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    Abraham Lincoln said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool ALL of the people ALL of the time."
    Red Dooron July 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    clearly, 1st verse suggests ww3 is 'only in a dream' but potentially looming. verse 4 -suggests it's normal for the town to be lonesome... (perhaps because everyone only sees themselves and doesn't care or notice anyone else = sign of the times) verse5 -a place that's supposed to be a shelter for all seems to be occupied by someone who selfishly doesn't want anyone sharing it with him/her. verse8 -points out that the cadillac is HIS... in retrospect seems like everyones dream is to aquire their own cadillac via the destruction of all others. verse6 -the one guy he sees fears bob bcuz he's suspect that bob's a communist (demonstrating a general distrust of all whom he sees) verse10 - now that he's got his 'dream' of having all the world to himself he finds it's pretty lonesome finally - the point... he's willing to revise his dream to include the rest of the world if they will revise theirs to include him.
    mistermikevon June 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Abraham Lincoln really said that? Seriously though, this song is so much fun to listen to. Buy "Freewheelin Bob Dylan" right now and listen to this song.
    srh1sonon April 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    very cleverly done, dylan brilliantly introduces humour to this dark topic. Well, I spied me a girl and before she could leave, I said, 'Let's go and play Adam and Eve.'
    Mason88on December 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    "Half of the people can be part right all of the time, And some of the people can be all right part of the time, But all of the people can't be all right all of the time. I think Abraham Lincoln said that." During Live versions of this song, other people said that.
    bobdylaniscoolon January 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    carl sandburg said it. but heck, who cares? dylan owns haha.
    OneOmazinKidon June 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    "Well, I spied me a girl and before she could leave, I said, 'Let's go and play Adam and Eve.' I took her by the hand and my heart was thumpin' When she said, 'Hey man, you crazy or sumpin', You see what happened last time they started.'" Brilliant, just absolutly brilliant
    Greenforaday101on June 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    it was actually said by carl sandburg.. which is what bob says now. he corrected himself
    the scenic worldon January 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    if you like this listen to Guthrie's talking fishing blues.. it's the inspiration
    the scenic worldon January 20, 2008   Link

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