Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Unraveling the Layers of a Folk Rock Anthem


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Stoned in Controversy: Beyond the Literal
  5. The Echoes of Historical Allegory
  6. The Ubiquity of Judgment: A Hidden Meaning
  7. The Timeless Rings of ‘Rainy Day Women’
  8. Memorable Lines That Encapsulate The Zeitgeist

Lyrics

Well, they’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll stone you just like they said they would
They’ll stone you when you’re trying to go home
And they’ll stone you when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you when you’re walking on the street
They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat
They’ll stone you when you’re walkin’ on the floor
They’ll stone you when you’re walkin’ to the door
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

They’ll stone you when you’re at the breakfast table
They’ll stone you when you are young and able
They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to make a buck
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll say “good luck”
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned alright

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone
They’ll stone you when you are walking home
They’ll stone you and then say you are brave
They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

Full Lyrics

In the wide pantheon of Bob Dylan’s enigmatic songbook, ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ stands out as a peculiar jester. Released on his 1966 album, ‘Blonde on Blonde’, the track is swathed in bombast, brass, and a seemingly rollicking disposition. Dylan’s harmonica wails amidst the raucous cries of a Salvation Army band gone rogue, leading the charge alongside lyrics that, at face value, suggest a comical, don’t-care sentiment.

However, beneath the rollicking veneer and the cheeky chorus ‘Everybody must get stoned’, a deeper dissection beckons. Dylan is a master of folk and the literary, woven with a tapestry that enthralls scholars and music lovers alike. ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ is a testament to his prowess in encapsulating a universal truth, draped in enigma, inviting multiple interpretations that resonate with the feeling of being judged or ostracized.

Stoned in Controversy: Beyond the Literal

At the onset, ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ appears to revel in the literal act of getting ‘stoned’, an innuendo-heavy nod to substance use that undoubtedly stirred controversy during the 1960s. This initial interpretation would align with the zeitgeist of an era marked by counterculture and the recreational use of marijuana, which Dylan himself was no stranger to.

Yet, it would be an oversight to confine the song to just a drug anthem. Dylan, ever the wordsmith, plays with the term ‘stoned’ as a metaphor for societal judgment and persecution. In the age of protests and uprisings, Dylan is conversing with the listener about a zeitgeist plagued with persecution; a climate that wasn’t too kind to outliers and freethinkers. ‘Stoned’ becomes a synonym for the punishment meted out to the individual by the collective.

The Echoes of Historical Allegory

The title’s obscure reference to ‘Women #12 & 35’ eludes precise annotation which is very typical of Dylan’s work. It could be a cryptic nod to biblical stories where women were often subjects of stoning for perceived transgressions, or it could also represent the various facets of judgment we each may face in life – from personal to the highly public.

Dylan effectively uses the song’s playful tone to juxtapose against the harshness of its subject matter, much like a court jester who speaks truths to the king cloaked in humor. Here, Dylan could be the modern jester, speaking to a society that on one hand demands conformity while also secretly relishing the rebellious troubadour.

The Ubiquity of Judgment: A Hidden Meaning

Through the recurring refrain ‘Everybody must get stoned,’ Dylan drills into the paradox of the human condition; the inevitability of judgment against each other. It’s a sentiment as old as civilization itself. The song becomes an anthem to shared experience, condensing the entire spectrum of ostracization into a sing-along chorus that both mocks and laments the transparency of our societal masochism.

Dylan’s chorus is as foreboding as it is comforting – reminding us that while judgment is all but certain, we share in this blight; a solidarity found in the universality of being ‘stoned’. His repetition is not just a refrain; it’s a mantra reflective of the timelessly ceaseless cycle of blame and shame, which each person faces at some point or another.

The Timeless Rings of ‘Rainy Day Women’

Within the realm of music, few songs earn the badge of being timeless. ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ earns this distinction not by avoiding specificity, but precisely because of its ambiguity combined with the concrete themes of persecution and survival. The song manages to capture a slice of the ’60s while also living beyond it as it resonates with listeners who have never known a world without Dylan.

Every generation since its release has found their own ‘stoning’ – whether it be the judgment for political beliefs, social standings, or personal lifestyles. As the song permeates culture, it continues to garner relevance, echoing the laughter and the pain of the human experience.

Memorable Lines That Encapsulate The Zeitgeist

‘They’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to make a buck / Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll say ‘good luck”. These lines encapsulate the sardonic wit Dylan applies to the notion of ambition and failure within a society that often takes pleasure in the downfall of its strivers. The song’s memorable lines cut deep into the psyche of the listener, paradoxically serving as both a warning and a comfort.

It’s in these pointed, well-crafted lines where Dylan’s songwriting prowess shines, ensuring that ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ remains not just lyrically adept but also philosophically profound. As the years roll by and the stones of judgment continue to be cast, this song will forever be unearthed by those feeling the weight of societal judgment and looking for a knowing nod from a fellow outsider, saying, ‘you’re not alone’.

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