I saw it advertised one day
Bear mountain picnic was comin' my way
"Come along 'n' take a trip
We'll bring you up there on a ship
Bring the wife and kids
Bring the whole family"

Well, I run right down 'n' bought a ticket
To this bear mountain picnic
But little did I realize
I was in for a picnic surprise
Had nothin' to do with mountains
I didn't even come close to a bear

Took the wife 'n' kids down to the pier
Six thousand people there
Everybody had ticket for the trip
"Oh well," I said, "it's a pretty big ship
Besides, anyway, the more the merrier"

Well, we all got on 'n' what d'ya think
That big old boat started t' sink
More people kept a-pilin' on
That old ship was a-slowly goin' down
Funny way t' start a picnic

Well, I soon lost track of m' kids 'n' wife
So many people there I never saw in m' life
That old ship sinkin' down in the water
Six thousand people tryin' t' kill each other
Dogs a-barkin', cats a-meowin'
Women screamin', fists a-flyin', babies cryin'
Cops a-comin', me a-runnin'
Maybe we just better call off the picnic

I got shoved down 'n' pushed around
All I could hear there was a screamin' sound
Don't remember one thing more
Just remember walkin' up on a little shore
Head busted, stomach cracked
Feet splintered, I was bald, naked
Quite lucky to be alive though

Feelin' like I climbed outta m' casket
I grabbed back hold of m' picnic basket
Took the wife 'n' kids 'n' started home
Wishin' I'd never got up that morn

Now, I don't care just what you do
If you wanna have a picnic, that's up t' you
But don't tell me about it, I don't wanna hear it
'Cause, see, I just lost all m' picnic spirit
Stay in m' kitchen, have m' own picnic
In the bathroom

Now, it don't seem to me quite so funny
What some people are gonna do for money
There's a bran' new gimmick every day
Just t' take somebody's money away
I think we oughta take some o' these people
And put 'em on a boat, send 'em up to bear mountain
For a picnic

Lyrics submitted by blasfemme, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is pretty explicitly explained in the last verse - it's about people getting cheated out of their money by crooked companies.
    Meghynneon December 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay, I just love the way he says
    "maybe we just better call off the picnic."
    It makes me looooooose it, for some reason, haha.
    MrsJoeyRamoneon October 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with above, this is one of my favorite dylan comedy songs. my favorite part:

    "Now, I don't care just a-what you do,
    If you wanta have a picnic, that's up t' you.
    But don't tell me about it, I don't wanta hear it,
    'Cause, see, I just lost all m' picnic spirit.
    Stay in m' kitchen, have a picnic in the bathroom."

    his sarcasm is just so evident. dylan is just an expert in conveying certain feelings. brilliant.
    rockisgroovyon April 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBob read an article (or some one showed him an article) about something like this actually happening, and he made it a song. People were supposed to go on this big picnic thing, but someone made illegitamate tickets and sold them, so WAY more people were trying to get on this boat than were supposed to, and it ended up sinking.

    But man, oh man, this is one of my FAVORITE Dylan comedy numbers. Almost as good as "I Shall Be Free No. 10"!
    HibbingismyHolyLandon January 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the first topical songs he wrote. I love it, its so funny.
    hightide16and87on December 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is hilarious! haha dylan has the best sense of humor!!
    jasssson October 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBob Dylan hates bears.
    ThomYorkeGuyGarvey92on November 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis may have referred to the "Eastland Disaster" on July 24th 1915 at or near Chicago. It was a company picnic for the Western Electric employees and their families. The death toll was 800/850. I talked just lately to someone whose father died at this event and remembered the lyrics to the song.
    sbrya45on June 13, 2013   Link

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