Dave Russo Art

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Like A Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging around
For your next meal

Chorus: How does it feel?
How does it feel
To be without a home
With no direction home?
Like a complete unknown?
Like a rolling stone?

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
Nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And you find out now you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say, "Do you want to make a deal?"


CHORUS:

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you

You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat

Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at?
After he's taken everything he could steal

CHORUS:

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts and things
But you'd better take your diamond ring, better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used

Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel?
How does it feel
To be without a home
With no direction home?
Like a complete unknown?
Like a rolling stone?

By Bob Dylan

ORIGINAL: $200
11x15" Prismacolor Marker and Micron Pen on Watercolor paper.

PRINTS
Archival ink on acid free paper
11x14" print: $40
8x10" print: $30
5x7" print: $20

Ships USPS
Purchase here

Synopsis by the artist

The song does say "clowns", plural, not "clown". But I have a reason for making one solo clown.

Many say the target of the song is a woman who left him for someone else. I don't care much about his personal story because the song can easily apply to any alleged snob who's had the tables justly turned on them. So I'll refer to this "woman" simply as "the target" that the song is sung to.

With the words being such a linguistic middle finger, I'll go ahead and assume that Dylan himself, or at least the character in the first person, is the one who'd been dismissed by the target, and hence the clown.

The past tense areas of the song are depicted by the trail of dropped juggling pins and flower petals, suggesting that the clown had unsuccessfully attempted to follow the target for at least a moment.

Separately, there are second-stanza characters that the target made the mistake of getting close to. Napoleon in rags, the mystery tramp, the diplomat, etc. These people are the opposite of the clown, at least in the past tense. They were the ones getting the target's attention while the clown did not. They might have been different slurs for the same person.

These derogatory characters should be the opposite of the clown. But to honor the main theme of the song, being that the tables have turned, I've put them in the new roll of the clown. Like, who's the clown now?

It would seem that in the present tense of the song, the target would rather escape these characters but is now bound to them by poor decisions. My only subtle address of this comes in the form of the diamond ring around the cat's neck. While it literally refers to the diamond ring that the singer suggests should be pawned, I'd add that it has been pawned to the mystery tramp, "Do you want to make a deal?"

-Dave Russo