Dylan's never liked this one much, but doesn't particularly offer great reason as to why, what the song means or even who it's about. It's just a mystery, as is the man himself. Claims it's just a song that came into his head, but says if it had "been done properly" it could have been great. Rest of the world says its's great anyway.
People claim its about him, you, Jesus, Ronald Reagan all sorts. End of the day, what matters is what it means to you and that varies from everyone listening, make it your own meaning.http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=8457http://bob-dylan.org.uk/archives/25
It came off the 1983 album Infidels, produced and played on by Mark Knopler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidels_(Bob_Dylan_album)
I like the lyrics and the soothing timeless reggae feel to the song, nice one to listen and think while you go about your relaxation or work.
Favourite lyrics from the song include:
"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 truth so far off, what good will it do."
"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"
"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 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"
"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"
"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 'til the night comes stepping in"
"It's a shadowy world, skies are slippery gray
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"