“All the Tired Horses” by Bob Dylan 

Bob Dylan is known for dropping deep songs, probably more so than any other A list American musician.  But this track is different from his usual fare in two regards. One is that, he doesn’t actually sing therein. Secondly, the track actually consists of only one sentence being repeated numerous times.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Bob Dylan's All the Tired Horses at Lyrics.org.

Said sentence reads “all the tired horses in the sun, how am I supposed to get the riding done?” So even in a song with only one true line to its name, Dylan still steers us in the direction of poetic, open-ended lyrics that require imagination on the part of the listener to interpret. As such, there have been various plausible explanations concerning what the vocalist(s) may be alluding to. But on the surface, the one idea that does come through quite explicitly is that the narrator considers himself challenged, as his support system is “tired”.

Apparently, the reason Dylan decided to drop a song like this was in fact for the purpose of turning listeners off. He was a young superstar in a way that the associated stress and attention eventually got to him. So with that idea in mind, then “the tired horses” would be symbolic of Bob’s own weariness with the celebrity lifestyle.

Lyrics to "All the Tired Horses"

Facts about “All the Tired Horses”

“All the Tired Horses” was written by Bob Dylan. The song is from a double album he dropped on 8 June 1970 entitled “Self Portrait“. This album features a number of songs that have vocalists other than Dylan. But this is the sole track thereupon where Dylan’s own vocals are completely absent. In fact it is the only non-instrumental song in his entire catalog of that nature.

For the record, when this song came out Bob was 29 years old. (As of the writing of this post, he’s 80.)

There are approximately three vocalists on this track . They are:

  • Maeretha Stewart
  • Albertine Robinson
  • Hilda Harris

“All the Tired Horses” was produced by a prominent industry figure from the 1960s/70s’ era named Bob Johnston (1932-2015).

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I personally believe it’s writing not riding. He as tired of writing. Simple but I think accurate. Riding and writing is a double entendre. Very clever call for help.

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