Roll On John

Lyrics from Dylan album “Tempest” [2012]

WRITTEN by: BOB DYLAN

Doctor, doctor, tell me the time of day
Another bottle’s empty, another penny spent
He turned around and he slowly walked away
They shot him in the back and down he went.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

From the Liverpool docks to the red-light Hamburg streets
Down in the quarry with the Quarrymen
Playing to the big crowds, playing to the cheap seats
Another day in the life on your way to your journey end.
Shine your light,
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Sailin’ through the trade winds bound for the South
Rags on your back just like any other slave
They tied your hands and they clamped your mouth
Wasn’t no way out of that deep dark cave.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

I hear the news today, oh boy
They hauled your ship up on the shore
Now the city gone dark, there is no more joy
They tore the heart right out and cut him to the core.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Put on your bags and get ’em packed
Leave right now, you won’t be far from wrong
The sooner you go the quicker you’ll be back
You’ve been cooped on an island far too long.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Slow down you’re moving way too fast
Come together right now over me
Your bones are weary, you’re about to breathe your last
Lord, you know how hard that it can be.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Roll on, John, roll through the rain and snow
Take the right-hand road and go where the buffalo roam
They’ll trap you in an ambush before you know
Too late now to sail back home.
Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Tyger, tyger burning bright
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
In the forest of the night
Cover him over and let him sleep.

Shine your light
Movin’ on
You burned so bright
Roll on, John.

Copyright

© 2012 by Special Rider Music


Interesting, that in his live version Dylan suppresses the fifth and seventh stanzas, those which somehow questioned a certain facet of the mythical John, and he softens the fourth verse by moving the second line to the fourth one, replacing it with a new one, and eliminating the fourth original line so that the stanza is definitely left like this:

I heard the news today, oh boy
They put a wreath upon his door
Now the city gone dark, ain’t no more joy
They hauled his ship up on the shore.

The Hypnotist Collector

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