Meaning and Lyrics of Jokerman by Bob Dylan

Song Lyrics meaning of Jokerman by Bob Dylan

About Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941, is an American singer-songwriter who has been a prominent figure in the music industry for over five decades. Known for his poetic lyrics and distinctive voice, Dylan’s music spans various genres including folk, rock, and blues. With hits such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” he has become a major influence on popular music and culture. In 2016, Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his contributions to songwriting. One of his renowned songs, “Jokerman,” showcases his storytelling prowess and unique musical style.

Meaning of Jokerman by Bob Dylan

“Jokerman” by Bob Dylan is a complex and multifaceted song that weaves together vivid imagery, biblical references, and social commentary. The song explores themes of power, deception, and the conflict between good and evil.

In the verses, Dylan paints a picture of a mysterious and enigmatic figure, the Jokerman, who seems to possess a blend of power and manipulation. The lyrics describe the Jokerman’s ability to navigate through life’s challenges with cunning and agility. References to biblical stories such as Sodom and Gomorrah and characters like the rich man without a name add layers of religious symbolism to the song.

The chorus, with its repetitive imagery of the Jokerman dancing to the nightingale tune and the bird flying high by the light of the moon, creates a dreamlike atmosphere. The chorus acts as a refrain, anchoring the song and emphasizing the mystical and enigmatic nature of the Jokerman.

Throughout the song, there is a sense of impending chaos and conflict, with references to violence and unrest. The imagery of nightsticks, tear gas, and rocks behind curtains suggests a world on the brink of turmoil. Dylan’s lyrics also touch on themes of justice and karma, with lines about false-hearted judges and the inevitability of night stepping in.

The final verse introduces a new element with the mention of a prince dressed in scarlet and the Jokerman’s lack of response to his desires. This section adds a layer of intrigue and leaves the listener questioning the motivations and intentions of the Jokerman.

Overall, “Jokerman” is a rich and thought-provoking song that invites multiple interpretations. Its poetic and enigmatic lyrics, coupled with Dylan’s distinctive vocal delivery, make it a compelling piece of music that rewards deep reflection and analysis.

Lyrics of Jokerman by Bob Dylan

Verse 1
Standing on the waters casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Verse 2
So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
You rise up and say goodbye to no one
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Both of their futures, so full of dread, you don't show one
Shedding off one more layer of skin
Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Verse 3
You're a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds
Manipulator of crowds, you're a dream twister
You're going to Sodom and Gomorrah
But what do you care? Ain't nobody there would want to marry your sister
Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame
You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Verse 4
Well, the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy
The law of the jungle and the sea are your only teachers
In the smoke of the twilight on a milk-white steed
Michelangelo indeed could've carved out your features
Resting in the fields, far from the turbulent space
Half asleep near the stars with a small dog licking your face

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Verse 5
Well, the rifleman's stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who'll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time till night comes stepping in

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Verse 6
It's a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey
A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet
He'll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat
Take the motherless children off the street
And place them at the feet of a harlot
Oh, Jokerman, you know what he wants
Oh, Jokerman, you don't show any response

Chorus
Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Discography Bob Dylan

The Complete Budokan 1978 (Live)

Release: 2023-11-17
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏👏
1. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
2. Repossession Blues – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
3. Mr. Tambourine Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
4. I Threw It All Away – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
5. Shelter from the Storm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
6. Love Minus Zero / No Limit – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
7. Girl from the North Country – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
8. Ballad of a Thin Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
9. Maggie’s Farm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
10. To Ramona – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
11. Like a Rolling Stone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
12. I Shall Be Released – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
13. Is Your Love in Vain? – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
14. Going, Going, Gone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
15. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
16. Blowin’ in the Wind – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
17. Just Like a Woman – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
18. Oh, Sister – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
19. Simple Twist of Fate – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
20. You’re a Big Girl Now – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
21. All Along the Watchtower – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
22. I Want You – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
23. All I Really Want to Do – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
24. Tomorrow Is a Long Time – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
25. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
26. Band Introductions – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
27. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
28. Forever Young – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
29. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
30. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
31. Love Her With A Feeling – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
32. Mr. Tambourine Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
33. I Threw It All Away – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
34. Love Minus Zero / No Limit – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
35. Shelter from the Storm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
36. Girl from the North Country – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
37. Ballad of a Thin Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
38. Maggie’s Farm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
39. One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
40. Like a Rolling Stone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
41. I Shall Be Released – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
42. Is Your Love in Vain? – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
43. Going, Going, Gone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
44. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
45. Blowin’ in the Wind – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
46. Just Like a Woman – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
47. Oh, Sister – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
48. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
49. You’re a Big Girl Now – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
50. All Along the Watchtower – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
Tracklist Collapse

Shadow Kingdom

Release: 2023-06-02
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏
1. When I Paint My Masterpiece
2. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)
3. Queen Jane Approximately
4. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
5. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
6. Tombstone Blues
7. To Be Alone with You
8. What Was It You Wanted
9. Forever Young
10. Pledging My Time
11. The Wicked Messenger
12. Watching the River Flow
13. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
14. Sierra’s Theme
Tracklist Collapse

Fragments - Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 17 (Deluxe Edition)

Release: 2023-01-27
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏
1. Love Sick – 2022 Remix
2. Dirt Road Blues – 2022 Remix
3. Standing in the Doorway – 2022 Remix
4. Million Miles – 2022 Remix
5. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – 2022 Remix
6. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – 2022 Remix
7. Not Dark Yet – 2022 Remix
8. Cold Irons Bound – 2022 Remix
9. Make You Feel My Love – 2022 Remix
10. Can’t Wait – 2022 Remix
11. Highlands – 2022 Remix
12. The Water Is Wide
13. Dreamin’ of You
14. Red River Shore – Version 1
15. Love Sick – Version 1
16. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 1
17. Not Dark Yet – Version 1
18. Can’t Wait – Version 1
19. Dirt Road Blues – Version 1
20. Mississippi – Version 1
21. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 2
22. Standing in the Doorway – Version 1
23. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Version 1
24. Cold Irons Bound
25. Love Sick – Version 2
26. Dirt Road Blues – Version 2
27. Can’t Wait – Version 2
28. Red River Shore – Version 2
29. Marchin’ to the City
30. Make You Feel My Love – Take 1
31. Mississippi – Version 2
32. Standing in the Doorway – Version 2
33. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 3
34. Not Dark Yet – Version 2
35. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Version 2
36. Highlands
37. Love Sick – Live in Birmingham, England – June 24, 1998
38. Can’t Wait – Live in Nashville, Tennessee – February 6, 1999
39. Standing in the Doorway – Live in London, England – October 6, 2000
40. Million Miles – Live in Atlantic City, New Jersey – January 31, 1998
41. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Live in Birmingham, England – September 20, 2000
42. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Live in Buenos Aires, Argentina – April 5, 1998
43. Not Dark Yet – Live in Sheffield, England – September 22, 2000
44. Cold Irons Bound – Live in Oslo, Norway – May 19, 2000
45. Make You Feel My Love – Live in Los Angeles, California – May 21, 1998
46. Can’t Wait – Live in Oslo, Norway – May 19, 2000
47. Mississippi – Live in Washington, D.C. – November 15, 2001
48. Highlands – Live in Newcastle, Australia – March 24, 2001
49. Dreamin’ of You – Outtake from ‘Time Out Of Mind’ Sessions
50. Red River Shore – Outtake from ‘Time Out Of Mind’ Sessions, Version 1
Tracklist Collapse

Upcoming Events for Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Billy Strings: Outlaw Fest.

Price Range: $59.5 – 199.5
Date: 2024-08-10
Location: Gorge Amphitheatre

Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Outlaw Fest.

Price Range: $25 – 310.5
Date: 2024-07-07
Location: Hersheypark Stadium

Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Outlaw Fest.

Price Range: $59.5 – 249.5
Date: 2024-07-31
Location: Hollywood Bowl
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The Complete Budokan 1978 (Live)

Release: 2023-11-17
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏👏
1. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
2. Repossession Blues – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
3. Mr. Tambourine Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
4. I Threw It All Away – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
5. Shelter from the Storm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
6. Love Minus Zero / No Limit – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
7. Girl from the North Country – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
8. Ballad of a Thin Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
9. Maggie’s Farm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
10. To Ramona – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
11. Like a Rolling Stone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
12. I Shall Be Released – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
13. Is Your Love in Vain? – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
14. Going, Going, Gone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
15. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
16. Blowin’ in the Wind – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
17. Just Like a Woman – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
18. Oh, Sister – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
19. Simple Twist of Fate – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
20. You’re a Big Girl Now – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
21. All Along the Watchtower – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
22. I Want You – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
23. All I Really Want to Do – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
24. Tomorrow Is a Long Time – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
25. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
26. Band Introductions – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
27. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
28. Forever Young – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
29. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – February 28, 1978
30. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
31. Love Her With A Feeling – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
32. Mr. Tambourine Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
33. I Threw It All Away – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
34. Love Minus Zero / No Limit – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
35. Shelter from the Storm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
36. Girl from the North Country – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
37. Ballad of a Thin Man – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
38. Maggie’s Farm – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
39. One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
40. Like a Rolling Stone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
41. I Shall Be Released – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
42. Is Your Love in Vain? – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
43. Going, Going, Gone – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
44. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
45. Blowin’ in the Wind – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
46. Just Like a Woman – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
47. Oh, Sister – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
48. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met) – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
49. You’re a Big Girl Now – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
50. All Along the Watchtower – Live at Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan – March 1, 1978
Tracklist Collapse

Shadow Kingdom

Release: 2023-06-02
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏
1. When I Paint My Masterpiece
2. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)
3. Queen Jane Approximately
4. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
5. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
6. Tombstone Blues
7. To Be Alone with You
8. What Was It You Wanted
9. Forever Young
10. Pledging My Time
11. The Wicked Messenger
12. Watching the River Flow
13. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
14. Sierra’s Theme
Tracklist Collapse

Fragments - Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 17 (Deluxe Edition)

Release: 2023-01-27
Label: Columbia/Legacy
Popularity: 👏
1. Love Sick – 2022 Remix
2. Dirt Road Blues – 2022 Remix
3. Standing in the Doorway – 2022 Remix
4. Million Miles – 2022 Remix
5. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – 2022 Remix
6. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – 2022 Remix
7. Not Dark Yet – 2022 Remix
8. Cold Irons Bound – 2022 Remix
9. Make You Feel My Love – 2022 Remix
10. Can’t Wait – 2022 Remix
11. Highlands – 2022 Remix
12. The Water Is Wide
13. Dreamin’ of You
14. Red River Shore – Version 1
15. Love Sick – Version 1
16. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 1
17. Not Dark Yet – Version 1
18. Can’t Wait – Version 1
19. Dirt Road Blues – Version 1
20. Mississippi – Version 1
21. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 2
22. Standing in the Doorway – Version 1
23. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Version 1
24. Cold Irons Bound
25. Love Sick – Version 2
26. Dirt Road Blues – Version 2
27. Can’t Wait – Version 2
28. Red River Shore – Version 2
29. Marchin’ to the City
30. Make You Feel My Love – Take 1
31. Mississippi – Version 2
32. Standing in the Doorway – Version 2
33. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Version 3
34. Not Dark Yet – Version 2
35. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Version 2
36. Highlands
37. Love Sick – Live in Birmingham, England – June 24, 1998
38. Can’t Wait – Live in Nashville, Tennessee – February 6, 1999
39. Standing in the Doorway – Live in London, England – October 6, 2000
40. Million Miles – Live in Atlantic City, New Jersey – January 31, 1998
41. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven – Live in Birmingham, England – September 20, 2000
42. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You – Live in Buenos Aires, Argentina – April 5, 1998
43. Not Dark Yet – Live in Sheffield, England – September 22, 2000
44. Cold Irons Bound – Live in Oslo, Norway – May 19, 2000
45. Make You Feel My Love – Live in Los Angeles, California – May 21, 1998
46. Can’t Wait – Live in Oslo, Norway – May 19, 2000
47. Mississippi – Live in Washington, D.C. – November 15, 2001
48. Highlands – Live in Newcastle, Australia – March 24, 2001
49. Dreamin’ of You – Outtake from ‘Time Out Of Mind’ Sessions
50. Red River Shore – Outtake from ‘Time Out Of Mind’ Sessions, Version 1
Tracklist Collapse
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