Bob Dylan is one of my favourite songwriters – for someone who has written 458 songs, Dylan’s poetry is outstanding: a new layer of interpretation unfolding everytime you listen to the song. Be it the simple ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ to the hugely complex ‘Tambourine Man’ (the YouTube video of the Dylan version is mighty difficult to find), the lyrics haunt and stay with you for a long time.
One of my favorite songs is All Along The Watchtower. It’s one of those short but cryptic songs with a lot of Biblical references. Of course, the dedicated Wikipedia page explains most of them. Still, I want to understand what people believe the song meant. So I did some googling trying to figure out what people think – there are of course resources explaining Biblical references but the gist of it is the following
The two main characters, Joker and Thief, are discussing how the world is full of confusion and is upholding the wrong set of values. The watchtower is guarded by princes to ensure this way of life is maintained but the two riders (Joker and Thief) approaching in the late hour (Judgement Day), determined to make a change!
The other interesting thing about the song is the non-linear story-telling – starts with a discussion between the two central characters; discusses the ways of the world and ends by referring to them riding in – the song could just have started with the last line.