I'm just average, common too
I'm just like him, the same as you
I'm everybody's brother and son
I ain't different than anyone
It ain't no use a-talking to me
It's just the same as talking to you

I was shadow-boxing earlier in the day
I figured I was ready for Cassius Clay
I said "Fee, fie, fo, fum, Cassius Clay here I come
26, 27, 28, 29, I'm gonna make your face look just like mine
Five, four, three, two, one, Cassius Clay you'd better run
99, 100, 101, 102, Your ma won't even recognize you
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, gonna knock him clean right out of his spleen

Well, I don't know, but I've been told
The streets in heaven are lined with gold
I ask you how things could get much worse
If the Russians happen to get up there first
Wowee, pretty scary!

Now, I'm liberal, but to a degree
I want ev'rybody to be free
But if you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and mary my daughter
You must think I'm crazy
I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba

Well, I set my monkey on the log
And ordered him to do the Dog
He wagged his tail and shook his head
And he went and did the Cat instead
He's a weird monkey, very funky

I sat with my high-heeled sneakers on
Waiting to play tennis in the noonday sun
I had my white shorts rolled up past my waist
And my wig-hat falling in my face
But they wouldn't let me on the tennis court

I gotta woman, she's so mean
She sticks my boots in the washing machine
Sticks me with buckshot when I'm nude
Puts bubblegum in my food
She's funny, wants my money, calls me honey

Now I gotta friend who spends his life
Stabbing my picture with a bowie-knife
Dreams of strangling me with a scarf
When my name comes up he pretends to barf
I've got a million friends

Now they asked me to read a poem
At the sorority sister's home
I got knocked down and my head was swimmin'
I wound up with the Dean of Women
Yippee
I'm a poet, and I know it
Hope I don't blow it

I'm gonna grow my hair down to my feet so strange
So I look like a walking mountain range
And I'm gonna ride into Omaha on a horse
Out to the country club and the golf course
Carry the New York Times, shoot a few holes, blow their minds

You're probably wondering by now
Just what this song is all about
What's probably got you baffled more
What this thing here is for
It's nothing
It's something I learned over in England


Lyrics submitted by Jack, edited by goodnews

I Shall Be Free No. 10 Lyrics as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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I Shall Be Free song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +3
    General Comment

    Took me a while to notice the reference to racial segregation in the third verse. Used to think it was just playful nonsense.

    BraveSirRobinon January 15, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Easily my favorite Dylan song... if it's not yours, it should be! Not that anybody's gonna read this, but... yeah, it covers the full Dylan spectrum- insightful, political, sometimes nonsensical, completely hysterical. Gotta love the noble-sounding title and the constrasting, irreverent content. I love it!

    Nova4761on January 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    "He's eatin' bagels, he's eatin' pizza, he's eatin' chitlins" makes me grin every time :)

    StarmanDXon December 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    I figured out where the 'greasy kid stuff' line comes from. When Ted Kennedy got elected to the US senate for the first time in 1962, his older brother President Kennedy joked with him. Ted recalled: "I was down at the White House this afternoon with some suggestions for the State of the Union address, but all I got from him was, "Are you still using that greasy kid stuff on your hair?"

    justduckygalon September 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    HAHAH you're not perverted, abel bob is! lol

    jasssson February 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i hear ya, amazing, but "don't think twice, it's alright" is my real fave

    "i just along and stroll and sing i see better days and i do better things"

    lost_in_twlighton April 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Right on, Jack, for transcribing the song and putting it on here. There's one correction to point out, though. "Oula Tunjee" should be "Olatunji", as in Babatunde Olatunji, the musician from Nigeria.

    march1291on April 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Is the part about Kennedy a sexual pun? You know, these beautiful women would make people "grow". Or perhaps I'm just a pervert or dude with a fertile imagination.

    Abel Tumacácorion June 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    anyone know who the "football man" on the TV he was referring to?

    thereisnospoon1on December 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Well, my telephone rang it would not stop, It's President Kennedy callin' me up. He said, 'My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?' I said, 'My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren.'

    HAhahaha.....i love this verse....

    EchoesVoiceson November 30, 2009   Link

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