Bob Dylan - Foot of Pride - Lyrical Meaning??

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Tin Whisker, May 11, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tin Whisker

    Tin Whisker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Does anyone have any information ore links pertaining to the lyrical meaning of Bob Dylan's, "Foot of Pride"?
     
  2. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    For starters, the lyric from Dylan's official site...

    Foot Of Pride

    Like the lion tears the flesh off of a man
    So can a woman who passes herself off as a male
    They sang “Danny Boy” at his funeral and the Lord’s Prayer
    Preacher talking ’bout Christ betrayed
    It’s like the earth just opened and swallowed him up
    He reached too high, was thrown back to the ground
    You know what they say about bein’ nice to the right people on the way up
    Sooner or later you gonna meet them comin’ down

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    Hear ya got a brother named James, don’t forget faces or names
    Sunken cheeks and his blood is mixed
    He looked straight into the sun and said revenge is mine
    But he drinks, and drinks can be fixed
    Sing me one more song, about ya love me to the moon and the stranger
    And your fall-by-the sword love affair with Errol Flynn
    In these times of compassion when conformity’s in fashion
    Say one more stupid thing to me before the final nail is driven in.

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    There’s a retired businessman named Red
    Cast down from heaven and he’s out of his head
    He feeds off of everyone that he can touch
    He said he only deals in cash or sells tickets to a plane crash
    He’s not somebody that you play around with much
    Miss Delilah is his, a Phillistine is what she is
    She’ll do wondrous works with your fate, feed you coconut bread,
    spice buns in your bed
    If you don’t mind sleepin’ with your head face down in a grave

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    Well, they’ll choose a man for you to meet tonight
    You’ll play the fool and learn how to walk through doors
    How to enter into the gates of paradise
    No, how to carry a burden too heavy to be yours
    Yeah, from the stage they’ll be tryin’ to get water outa rocks
    A whore will pass the hat, collect a hundred grand and say thanks
    They like to take all this money from sin, build big universities to study in
    Sing “Amazing Grace” all the way to the Swiss banks

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    They got some beautiful people out there, man
    They can be a terror to your mind and show you how to hold your tongue
    They got mystery written all over their forehead
    They kill babies in the crib and say only the good die young
    They don’t believe in mercy
    Judgement on them is something that you’ll never see
    They can exalt you up or bring you down main route
    Turn you into anything that they want you to be

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    Yes, I guess I loved him too
    I can still see him in my mind climbin’ that hill
    Did he make it to the top, well he probably did and dropped
    Struck down by the strength of the will
    Ain’t nothin’ left here partner, just the dust of a plague
    that has left this whole town afraid
    From now on, this’ll be where you’re from
    Let the dead bury the dead. Your time will come
    Let hot iron blow as he raised the shade

    Well, there ain’t no goin’ back
    When your foot of pride come down
    Ain’t no goin’ back

    Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music
     
  3. drbryant

    drbryant Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    There's a brief description in the booklet to the bootleg series set. Whatever it means, it's a masterpiece and should have been on Infidels.
     
  4. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Yes it is a masterwork. Like much of Dylan it has endtimes type overtones. Religious references mixed in with odd scenes and seedy characters. The general theme of the song to me is that once you go so far aint no going back. One of Dylans greatest performances in the studio also.
     
  5. I think the official lyrics are wrong and that the last word of this verse should be "plate".
    Great song and performance, BTW.
     
  6. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    It should have been on "Infidels" along with Blind Willie McTell.
     
  7. PhilBorder

    PhilBorder Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sheboygan, WI
    check out Michael Gray's analysis in 'Song and Dance Man' Vol 3. Inspired by the O.T. Book of Daniel in which (for a moment Gray sounds rather Lester Bangs-like) "God's punitive foot comes down and splats Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King." Basically, man can screw around as much as he wants but there will be consequences. A reoccurring theme in Dylan's work.
     
  8. JoeRockhead

    JoeRockhead Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    dug Lou Reed's version at the tribute concert
     
  9. johnny 99

    johnny 99 Down On Main Street

    Location:
    Toronto
    :righton:Very imaginative song choice that was!
     
  10. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident

    Location:
    Far from home
    As if Lou could be anything but imaginative
     
  11. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Lou's performance was a definite highlight for that show. Haven't seen it since the live broadcast. If I recall correctly he was reading the words off a lyric sheet on a music stand.
     
  12. george nadara

    george nadara Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    "Foot of Pride," from the liner notes of THE BOOTLEG SERIES - VOLUMES 1-3 by John Bauldie, 1991

    As this collection has gone some way towards proving, there are many wonderful unreleased Bob Dylan songs, but at no time since the early 1960s was he so prolific as he was in 1982-1983 when he was preparing material for Infidels. As impressive a record as Infidels undoubtedly is, a handful of exceptional songs didn't make it on to the LP. Two of the outtakes were, it seems, at one time originally intended for inclusion. "Foot of Pride" is one of them, a lyrically enigmatic song in which Dylan shows once again just what a great singer he is, coping with the song's metrical complexities with impressive ease. Only one commentator has ever been bold (or foolhardy) enough to tackle an appreciation of "Foot of Pride." Writing in The Telegraph, Terry Gans fully admitted the difficulties that face the listener who hopes to come to terms with what's going on in the song. Nevertheless, he observed that "Foot of Pride" comes across as another of Dylan's "The wicked are gonna get it; propaganda all is phony; and those who allow themselves to be manipulated by those who would manipulate deserve what they get" songs.

    "Foot of Pride," crammed as it is with Biblical allusions, seems to be offering one primary warning - about the perils of vanity. Having presented an extraordinary series of images in its opening section, only in verses four and five does "Foot of Pride" become direct rather than allusive in its condemnation of those false prophets who misuse religion and faith, abuse trust, hoodwink the gullible, all in the pursuit of earthly riches. But although they'll seem to prosper in the world, making "all this money from sin," and, apparently, never have to face any kind of comeuppance, as the song's chorus insists, there is a price to be paid, eventually and irrevocably, when "the hot iron blows" and when "the foot of pride comes down," as it will - "ain't no going back."

    Dylan's never painted as convincing a picture of the fallen world, of a 20th century Babylon, as he does in this song; neither has he been as overtly wrathful in his abhorrence of the corrupters and corrupted, nor as confident that eternal judgment is to meted out at last beyond this world, and that for the wicked, the dividers of the word of truth, vengeance will be terrible, swift, and sure.
     
  13. Urban Spaceman

    Urban Spaceman Forum Goofy-Footer

    Location:
    Newburgh, NY
    That's right. In fact, Lou's performance of this song was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this thread. He really got into it that night! Dylan's own performance (on record) ain't too shabby either. :D
    --------- Chris
     
  14. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    New England
    As George Harrison said. "Bob, Bob. You write too many lyrics!"
     
  15. Tin Whisker

    Tin Whisker Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    North Carolina
    It’s like the earth just opened and swallowed him up
    He reached too high, was thrown back to the ground


    Does this line refer to Judas since the previous line was...

    Preacher talking ’bout Christ betrayed
     
  16. mne563

    mne563 Forum Resident

    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    "God hates a proud look."
     
  17. mne563

    mne563 Forum Resident

    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Here's the full quote:


    "...Everything is crooked now and the signs all point you the wrong way. It's like we're living at the time of the Tower of Babel. All our tongues are confused. We're building a tower to Venus. Where the hell is that? What are we going to find there? God? The Bible says, "Even a fool when he keeps his mouth shut is counted wise," but it comes from the Bible, so it can be cast off as being too, quote, "religious." Make something religious and people don't have to deal with it. They can say it's irrelevant. "Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand." That scares the **** out of people. They'd like to avoid that. Tell that to someone and you become their enemy.

    There does come a time, though, when you have to face the facts and the truth is true whether you wanna believe it or not. It doesn't need you to make it true. That lie about everybody having their own truth inside of them has done a lot of damage and made people crazy. Did you ever hear that to conquer your enemy, you must first repent, fall down on your knees and beg for mercy? Does West Point teach that? I don't know. I do know that God hates a proud look. It's a messy situation.

    People are just parading around in disguises, wearing faces that don't let you know what they think. I'll tell you this much, though, when you tell somebody your dreams and hopes you better make sure they love you like a brother or your dreams and hopes probably won't come true. You got to be somewhat superstitious to survive. ...

    I like to stay a part of that stuff that don't change. Actually, it's not that difficult. People still love and they hate. They still marry and have children, still slaves in their minds to their desires, still slap each other in the face and say "Honey, can you turn off the light" just like in ancient Greece. What's changed? When did Abraham break his father's idols? I think it was last Tuesday. God is still the judge and the devil still rules the world, so what's different?"
     
  18. I think Dylan is primarily referring to the man being buried, but he could also be referring to Judas.
    According to Acts of the apostles, Judas bought a field for the money he earned by betraying Jesus, but "there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out" (Acts 1:18, New International Version). You could say that he was "thrown back to the ground", as Dylan's lyric say.
     
  19. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Full quote from where?
     
  20. Joey Self

    Joey Self Red Forman's Sensitivity Guru

    From Psalm 36:11: "Let not the foot of pride come upon me, And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away."

    JcS
     
  21. kevinfree

    kevinfree Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I believe the quoted material is from the "Biograph" liner notes for "Every Grain of Sand".
     
  22. mne563

    mne563 Forum Resident

    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Yep, sorry I didn't make that clear.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page