The air is getting hotter
There's a rumbling in the skies
I've been wading through the high muddy water
With the heat rising in my eyes
Every day your memory grows dimmer
It doesn't haunt me like it did before
I've been walking through the middle of nowhere
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door

When I was in Missouri
They would not let me be
I had to leave there in a hurry
I only saw what they let me see
You broke a heart that loved you
Now you can seal up the book and not write anymore
I've been walking that lonesome valley
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door

People on the platforms
Waiting for the trains
I can hear their hearts a-beatin'
Like pendulums swinging on chains
When you think that you lost everything
You find out you can always lose a little more
I'm just going down the road feeling bad
Trying to get to heaven before they close the door

I'm going down the river
Down to New Orleans
They tell me everything is gonna be all right
But I don't know what "all right" even means
I was riding in a buggy with Miss Mary-Jane
Miss Mary-Jane got a house in Baltimore
I been all around the world, boys
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door

Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I'll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems
Some trains don't pull no gamblers
No midnight ramblers, like they did before
I been to Sugar Town, I shook the sugar down
Now I'm trying to get to heaven before they close the door

Lyrics submitted by caitsith01, edited by Mellow_Harsher

Tryin' to Get to Heaven Lyrics as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Tryin' to Get to Heaven song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis song really does represent the best of Bob Dylan he has is terrific when it comes to describing images and places to use and this song also shows a character's journey which does happen frequently in Dylan songs. So while this is not one of his masterpieces this is definitely one to check out. And definitely check out "Mr. Tambourine Man" becuase this is similar to it in a way.
    trapperjohnon August 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentback when this song was released, on the dylan usenet group someone posted their daughter's reaction to this song:

    Today, on the way home from soccer game, I slipped TOOM into the play mode right after the Dreaded Wallflowers. My 8 year old daughter commented on Trying to Get to Heaven. Her comments were something like this:

    "Well they better not close the door to heaven. At least not until everyone is in. [She thinks for a while and then says] Well, I guess it would be ok, as long as they open it when the next person comes. But, why would they do that. Open and close it. Close it and open it. I think they ought to just leave it open."

    which is just beautiful.
    patobrienon August 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPat, that is adorable.
    fall poetasteron March 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentrobyn hitchcock's cover of this on Spooked is brilliant
    cheddaringoon May 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOver the past decade I think Bob has been writing some songs as sort of follow-ups to his classic songs from the 1960's and 1970's. "Things Have Changed" is a sequel to "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Trying to Get to Heaven" is a follow-up to "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".
    coldironson June 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"When you think that you lost everything
    You find out you can always lose a little more"

    This must be the greatest line ever
    bob_dylan_fanon February 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgree, bob_dylan_fan. Other great lines in this song:

    But I don't know what "all right" even means


    I close my eyes and wonder/if everything is as hollow as it seems.

    Bob Dylan isn't just a great musician... in my opinion he's the embodiment of the American Spirit. Like other greats before him, Thoreau, Kerouac, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis, James Dean, George Washington, Jesse James.

    People say America is a "christian" nation--but all of its greatest heroes were freethinkers and freespirits. There's a blood that pumps through American veins that transcends religion, beliefs, race, or gender--it really is the melting pot of the world. And to say it's a one-religion nation takes away from the thing that, in my opinion, is even better than it's democracy (there are lots of free countries) but there is only one real melting pot, only one country where the ghosts of Billy Kid and Abraham Lincoln live in the collective unconscious... and that's the U.S.

    Maybe I'm just in a 4th of July mood... my apologies.
    TheThornBirdson June 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove the harp in this song.
    cowboyangelon February 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@ The Thorn Birds: one of the, if not the most decorated hero in American history is Sgt Alvin York--a devout Christian. Billy Graham has helped to change more hearts and impact more lives than anyone I can think of in US history. You may also enjoy reading the writings of Lincoln and Washington sometime. I could make a long list of military, sports, political and others who were Christian. I LOVE your patriotism, but you might want to guard against using all encompassing phrases like "all of its greatest heroes were freethinkers and freespirits" Perhaps I misread your intent though and if so, I apologize.
    cubfever7on October 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, from another great album.
    This song to me eloquently captures the depressed mood of someone,
    who has seen and experienced a lot of life, but as he gets older he finds himself in a world or in a country that's in great turmoil, so his goals, his dreams, his hopes of a better world in the promised afterlife have become more prevalent in his mind and in his heart. He's just passing through a difficult, problematic world heading toward the Kingdom of Heaven.
    McJensenon July 13, 2013   Link

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