Bob Dylan

About Dirge

"Dirge" is a song by Bob Dylan. It was released on his 14th studio album Planet Waves in 1974. After recalling his band to re-record the track "Forever Young," Dylan recorded "Dirge" on just the second take. The song was labeled on the studio tape box as "Dirge for Martha." Notable for its acidic tone, "Dirge" has never been performed in concert.


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I hate myself for lovin' you and the weakness that it showed
You were just a painted face on a trip down Suicide Road.
The stage was set, the lights went out all around the old hotel,
I hate myself for lovin' you and I'm glad the curtain fell.

I hate that foolish game we played and the need that was expressed
And the mercy that you showed to me, who ever would have guessed?
I went out on Lower Broadway and I felt that place within,
That hollow place where martyrs weep and angels play with sin.

Heard your songs of freedom and man forever stripped,
Acting out his folly while his back is being whipped.
Like a slave in orbit, he's beaten 'til he's tame,
All for a moment's glory and it's a dirty, rotten shame.

There are those who worship loneliness, I'm not one of them,
In this age of fiberglass I'm searching for a gem.
The crystal ball up on the wall hasn't shown me nothing yet,
I've paid the price of solitude, but at last I'm out of debt.

Can't recall a useful thing you ever did for me
'Cept pat me on the back one time when I was on my knees.
We stared into each other's eyes 'til one of us would break,
No use to apologize, what diff'rence would it make?

So sing your praise of progress and of the Doom Machine,
The naked truth is still taboo whenever it can be seen.
Lady Luck, who shines on me, will tell you where I'm at,
I hate myself for lovin' you, but I should get over that.

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan ( /ˈdɪlən/; born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, poet and artist. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'", became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" has been described as radically altering the parameters of popular music in … more »

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Written by: BOB DYLAN

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

15 facts about this song

Album Release
"Dirge" is a song by Bob Dylan that was featured on his 1974 album "Planet Waves".
Collaboration with The Band
The album "Planet Waves", including the song "Dirge", marked Dylan's first album in collaboration with the Canadian-American rock group, The Band.
Not a Single Release
Despite the popularity of "Dirge", it was never made into a single release by Dylan.
Album Art
The album cover for "Planet Waves" is a drawing by Dylan himself, which includes a depiction of him with his family.
Writing Process
Dylan's writing process for the songs on this album, including "Dirge", was unorthodox. He would come up with lyrics on the spot while recording.
Dylan's Pessimistic Views
"Dirge" is seen to represent Dylan's pessimistic viewpoint at the time, with lyrics containing strong lines like "I hate myself for loving you."
Live Performances
Despite its popularity, "Dirge" was not often included in Dylan's live sets and there are only a few known live performances of this song by him.
making it the first ever Dylan's album to top the chart.
Album's Success: "Planet Waves" became a commercially successful album, reaching No.1 on the Billboard 200
"Dirge" garnered positive reviews from music critics, with many praising its raw energy and strong lyricism.
Notable Lyrics
One of the notable lyrics of "Dirge" is "I ain't saying you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don't mind / You just kinda wasted my precious time / But don't think twice, it's all right".
Song Theme
The song touches on themes of bitterness, regret, and self-loathing, which were quite prominent in Dylan's music during this era.
"Dirge" had a profound influence on many future artists and songwriters, illustrating the darkness that can be explored through music and lyrics.
Richard Manuel
In an interesting tidbit, the piano part in "Dirge" was played by The Band's Richard Manuel, not Dylan.
Vinyl Record
For vinyl collectors, the album "Planet Waves" became a coveted item, not just for the music, but because the cover represented a rare instance of Dylan's visual art being made publicly available.
Personal Struggles
Bob Dylan was going through a lot of personal struggles at the time of writing and recording "Dirge". This is believed to have greatly influenced the raw emotion and powerful lyricism in the song.

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