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Meaning of "Dark Eyes"
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Author:  JM1 [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 01:13 GMT ]
Post subject:  Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

To me, "Dark Eyes" is the best song on the album; where most of the other tracks seem rooted in the mid 80's sound, this one seems timeless. Are there any thoughts out there that can speculate on what Dylan was writing about? I've listened to it so many times and still can't figure it out.

Author:  raging_glory [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 01:37 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

All I know is that it is one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs and I think it's underrated. Pure poetry, imo.

Author:  Don't Think Twice [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 01:48 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

I love the song.

Bob and Patti Smith in concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NADLYfcIryY

I love Judy Collins' cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv1t-sbhJOk

Definitely a very underrated song.

Author:  Brian_Eire [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 01:58 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

he talks about it in chronicles i think or a interview...not sure.. he saw a rough looking working girl in a hotel lobby.. the destined to walk the hallways for a thousand years type he says.. she looked beat up...heavy make up etc.. says that image was in the back of his mind at the starting point of writing it..in totality it's 'about' alot of different things like all of bob's songs ;)

Author:  Tragos114 [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 02:01 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

To me , it's about a guy who's walking home after a tiring day and is thinking loud , trying to explain his loneliness and grasp the meaning of things . He finds that , unlike him , the people around him ( that would probably be the rich people ) do not perceive the world like he does . They do not care for his , religious i'd say , search for meaning and beauty , they cannot feel the pain of others . And he feels by appalled by them .
In the end , though , ( last line ) i think he finds that what he does feels meaningless , that even though he could , he will not connect with other people and therefore he will not connect with this sad and beautiful world .
So it's about a guy who loves to observe the world , who admires the brilliant way the world is structured but at the same time feels that there's no place for him there . And he feels lonely .
( sorry if i have any mistakes in my English )

Author:  raging_glory [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 02:07 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

Don't Think Twice wrote:

Bob and Patti Smith in concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NADLYfcIryY



This is just complete magic. Electricity.

Author:  homerthes [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 07:02 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

There's an article on that here:

http://www.a-muir.co.uk/Dylan/Hts/Hts8.pdf

It is the first article afte the introduction

Author:  WrittenInMySoul [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 08:20 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

For me, the "Dark Eyes" stood for binoculars. The year before EB came out , Dylan had played all this huge outdoor stadiums on his european tour. In these stadiums, most people are so far away from the stage that they can barely see the performer, so many bring binoculars to follow what's going on on stage. From Dylans point of view the glasses of these biniculars may look like dark eyes. A million faces at his feet, but he can only see those "eyes". But what do I know?

Of course there is a lot more in that song (besides being completly different musically than the rest of this album). "Hunger pays a heay price to the falling gods of of speed and steel"... still true today, and a whole song in one line.

Author:  homerthes [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 09:21 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

WrittenInMySoul wrote:
For me, the "Dark Eyes" stood for binoculars. The year before EB came out , Dylan had played all this huge outdoor stadiums on his european tour. In these stadiums, most people are so far away from the stage that they can barely see the performer, so many bring binoculars to follow what's going on on stage. From Dylans point of view the glasses of these biniculars may look like dark eyes. A million faces at his feet, but he can only see those "eyes". But what do I know?

Of course there is a lot more in that song (besides being completly different musically than the rest of this album). "Hunger pays a heay price to the falling gods of of speed and steel"... still true today, and a whole song in one line.



And one of the reasons it would have been perfect for "Live Aid", as Dylan had originally planned and rehearsed* his set. It was supposed to have been given its live debut that night.....



* yes, I know it is hard to believe.

Author:  nellie [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 09:33 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

it's about prostitution

DARK EYES

Paul Williams

And then there is Dark Eyes. Such grace. That lilting (haunt¬ing) Irish melody, that extraordinary voice, oh so conscious simple rhythm (the brains of songs are in their rhythms), and the wild Yeatsian language, mystery mystery mystery. Beauty and mystery. Dylan reasserts the purity of his power. And what a great riddle to end on – who is this speaker? The singer, of course, always some persona of the singer, but – Here are the clues: "I live in another world." "I can hear another drum, beating for the dead that rise." "All I feel is heat and flame." "A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes."

I do not know. I do not want to know; I like the question too much to be distracted by answers. On this album about me speak¬ing to you, here is the only song that is I with no you, a soliloquy, from another world, or rather from a persona that lives in another world and only visits this one. And still love is a subject, something observed if not participated in, observed and apparently appreci¬ated – "the earth is strung with lovers' pearls" "passion rules the arrow that flies" "I care nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized." This is extremely charming. That extraordinary voice. And how can we help but believe – though of course we can't know – that this spirit does love, that the dark eyes he sees are of his loved one, may even be what keeps him coming back to this world of gentlemen and x and soldiers and children and mothers and falling gods. Question mark. Dylan's harmonica and guitar and little melodic pattern sound like a question mark. I like this song, and this well-thought-out album, very much.

Oliver Trager

Dark Eyes is an overlooked late Dylan bauble – a stately folk ballad appraising and defending the artistic life and vision against the sour games of the wine-drinking businessmen and earth-digging ploughmen he thought he had long ago dispatched in All Along The Watchtower. There is also a sense that the poet questions whether or not his words have any meaningful penetration when he sings in the chorus, “A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.”

Like one of those Edgar Allen Poe love poems, Dark Eyes is filled with grace notes that sound like cries for help and images of fleeting beauty that turn into signs of prophecy.

Dylan once mentioned in an interview that this rumination on a disjointed world came to him all at once in a dream. At another point, he said, “That particular song just sort of came, I won’t say easy, but all in one piece like that.”

Dark Eyes begins with a discussion of gentlemen (well-schooled, successful types) talking and walking while drinking under the midnight moon as Dylan distances himself from their sophisticated, cosmopolitan manners. We can practically hear their idle chatter, which they may well believe is intelligent and salient. The artist / narrator appears to feel otherwide (“I live in another world where life and death are memorised”), slipping off either physically or emotionally from their bombast and into that time-out-of-mind space where eternity can be fleetingly glimpsed. The sensuality and emotion he feels there give the world an invisible structure and fill him with a deep, if alienated, sense of self that raises him above the petty travails discussed in his company. He knows that the world is a pretty materialistic place “where the earth is strung with lover’s pearls”, but he prances in the nether rhelms of the soul where the only thing that can be glimpsed are dark eyes.

In verse two, the narrator is drawn deeper into his phantasm of intuitive vision. The tangible sound of a faraway rooster presents imagined images of a praying soldier (is he about to enter mortal combat?) and a lost child (selling himself on Rou Morgue Anenue?). Another sound is then introduced, that of a beating drum summoning the dead from their graves that scares even “nature’s beast” – a Book of Revelation-style monster looming over the scene ready to snatch both the pious and the pitiable. Our artist, however, is not moved to flight by this cheap George Romero remake – all he sees are dark eyes.

But his reveries are not strong enough to pull him away from the world of the gentry, for in verse three, their pragmatic, dignified airs belie their darker motives. To them, revenge is always sweet. Dylan hears them but intimates that he will never truly comprehend their cold, emotionless logic. Because they are too busy playing their lame games, they will never recognise true beauty or know what it feels like to be engulfed in the fire of creation.

The two worlds collide when, in the last verse, Dylan sings of “the French girl” (symbolic of romance, the artist’s life, and a gesture to Dylan’s shrouded world, as well as a reference to a modern folk song written and made famous by Ian And Sylvia back in the early-1960s) and a “Drunken man” at the wheel (symbolic of the greedy, materialistic world evidently out of control with a lust for power without consideration of a payback). Dylan seems genuinely anguished as he sings these last lines, almost as if he is realising that the artist’s own quest may be just as bankrupt, self-centred, and impotent to those he lifted his nose at earlier in the song. The dark eyes engulfing him over the footlights on the lip of the stage almost mock him in an unfortunate but venerable epiphany – the historical dance between the sacred and the profane, between romance and classicism, between reason and sensuality, are ancient and, perhaps, interdependent.

Dylan performed Dark Eyes only once during his 1986 tour with Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, but returned to it nearly a decade later when it was displayed at a number of concerts as a heartbreaking acoustic duet with Patti Smith during their memorable 1995 tour.

In High Tide, a 1987 Australian film directed by Gillian Armstrong (who also directed the Dylan / Petty video Hard To Handle) and starring Judy Davis, there is a scene where Davis is falling down drunk in a washroom of a campground / trailer park and sings a pretty good portion of Dark Eyes, then raves, “What a great x’ song.”

Clinton Heylin

Published lyric/s: Lyrics 85; Lyrics 04.

Known studio recordings: Power Station, New York City, 3 March 1985 – 6 takes.[EB]

First known performance: Sydney, 25 February 1986.

“I think my next album is probably gonna just be me and my guitar and harmonica. I'm not saying all of it will be that way, but I'm sure a few songs will be.” Dylan to Kurt Loder, March 1984.

Even if Dylan really was thinking along these lines, he curtailed such instincts for almost the entire Empire Burlesque recording process. Only after Arthur Baker had applied layer after layer of morning gunk over the raw tracks recorded at Cherokee and Delta, did Dylan decide to include something with just guitar and harmonica, after all. As he revealed later the same year to Denise Worrell, Dark Eyes was intended as necessary sonic relief at the end of an album's worth of technopop, being writter to order: “This last record I just did, Empire Burlesque, there were nine songs I knew belonged on it, and I needed a tenth. I had about four songs and one of those was going to be the tenth song. I finally figured out tha the tenth song needed to be acoustic, so I just wrote it because none of the other songs fit that slot, that certain place.”

In Chronicles, though, he gives the main credit to that arch-nemesis oi natural-sounding production, Arthur Baker:
“Baker kept suggesting that we should have an acoustic song at the end of the record, that it would bring everything to the right conclusion. I thought about it and I knew he was right, but I didn't have anything. The night the album was being completed, I told him I'd see what I could come up with, saw the importance of it. I was staying at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and had come back after midnight, went through the lobby and headed upstairs. As I stepped out of the elevator, a call girl was coming towards me in the hallway. She had blue circles around her eyes, black eyeliner, dark eyes. She had a beautifulness, but not for this kind of world. Poor wretch, doomed to walk this hallway for a thousand years.”

It is fair to say that Dark Eyes divides Dylan fans. Though I am not convinced he quite pulls it off, at least it sounds like he has a sense ol what he wants to do. He even alludes to the first restless farewell in that final couplet:

“Oh, time is short and the days are sweet, and passion rule; the arrow that flies / A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.”

Like that song, there remains a nagging sense phrases have been strung together to create an effect, some of which are highly effective (“I can hear a drum beating for the dead that rise”), some of which stop short (“They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes”). All are secondary to the song's final destination: arrival at that image of a million faces at his feet.

The released recording also presents its own problems. As with Restless Farewell, Dylan had booked a session to cut this one song but, unlike on that occasion, it had been a long time since he had picked up an acoustic guitar to record solo. Even after six takes his playing lacks any real fluidity. This uncertainty seems to have held him back from playing the song live, too, even though it was one of the more memorable cuts on the album. The one time he attempted the song on the True Confessions tour, at the final show in Sydney, he was forced to abandon the performance, apologizing to the crowd, “I don't know what key to do that in. I'd like to do it later. If I knew what key I was in. I can play it, but I can't sing it.”

It would be another decade before he was cajoled into trying it again, as a duet with Patti Smith, who had been playing it in her own acoustic sets for a few months. And after a disastrous first go in Boston (10 December 1995) Dylan dutifully (re)learnt the lyric and the nightly visitations got better and better, even if these two untutored singers were destined to remain surely the most idiosyncratic harmonizers in the history of popular song.

XXX

Author:  jeffr92 [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 12:49 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

If I had to choose only one 80s Dylan song, it would be Dark Eyes. We need a new rendition, Bob.

Author:  raging_glory [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 13:36 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

I think Oliver Trager is right on target here.

Author:  ragman99 [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 14:05 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

I've loved the song since the first time I heard it.
It has always seemed out of place, tacted on at the end
of otherwise uninspiring album.

Author:  thickboy [ Fri March 28th, 2014, 15:10 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

I laughed when I saw this thread... I laughed heartily, for I found it incredible that the meaning behind Dark Eyes was not openly apparent to one and all. Then I continued reading, and I became amazed and angry that no one seems to know the meaning of the song.

It's a wonderful reflective song where Dylan places himself within the persona of a battle weary Duke of Wellington. The dust has began to settle on the Waterloo battlefield... the hazy, watery sun glimmers and glints on the armour of fallen casualties... in the eerie quietness a lonesome cavalry horse brays and neighs... its sounds echoes across the fields, whilst the Duke, who is far from home, far from his love and far from the madding crowd looks at all before him... fields of death and destruction... and during this pensive moment of reflection his mind wanders to images of the days leading up to the battle.

He recalls the bravado of his troops... his men the night before, camped by the river... laughing, drinking, joking... trying to hide the horror of fear through the comfort of alcohol. He recalls the French girl who he loved and lost... image over image flash through his mind... a cock crowing, a lost child, a drunken ships captain clinging to his wheel to prevent himself falling to the deck.

Slowly, the Duke closes his eyes even tighter and tighter... he sees stars, lots and lots of small glinting stars... he watches as they dissolve from stars into eyes, dark, desperate eyes, millions of dark desperate eyes... a kaleidoscope of dark eyes... haunting him.

He promised himself never to return to Belgium.

Author:  henrypussycat [ Sat March 29th, 2014, 13:43 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

The lyric is Dylan quality but the melody sounds nearly "drunk" which drains the drama. Dylan detested the media/corporate/commercial complex from the beginning, although he benefitted plenty from it. In the sixties this attitude was mistaken for political or psycho-political. By the eighties it was obvious he detested human power in just about any form, for any imaginable purpose. Here he sings about the drones attending his shows like he's witnessing Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Author:  RichardW [ Sat March 29th, 2014, 18:44 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

thickboy wrote:
I laughed when I saw this thread... I laughed heartily, for I found it incredible that the meaning behind Dark Eyes was not openly apparent to one and all. Then I continued reading, and I became amazed and angry that no one seems to know the meaning of the song.

It's a wonderful reflective song where Dylan places himself within the persona of a battle weary Duke of Wellington. The dust has began to settle on the Waterloo battlefield... the hazy, watery sun glimmers and glints on the armour of fallen casualties... in the eerie quietness a lonesome cavalry horse brays and neighs... its sounds echoes across the fields, whilst the Duke, who is far from home, far from his love and far from the madding crowd looks at all before him... fields of death and destruction... and during this pensive moment of reflection his mind wanders to images of the days leading up to the battle.

He recalls the bravado of his troops... his men the night before, camped by the river... laughing, drinking, joking... trying to hide the horror of fear through the comfort of alcohol. He recalls the French girl who he loved and lost... image over image flash through his mind... a cock crowing, a lost child, a drunken ships captain clinging to his wheel to prevent himself falling to the deck.

Slowly, the Duke closes his eyes even tighter and tighter... he sees stars, lots and lots of small glinting stars... he watches as they dissolve from stars into eyes, dark, desperate eyes, millions of dark desperate eyes... a kaleidoscope of dark eyes... haunting him.

He promised himself never to return to Belgium.

There are too few songs about Belgium.

Author:  thickboy [ Sat March 29th, 2014, 19:20 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

RichardW wrote:
thickboy wrote:
I laughed when I saw this thread... I laughed heartily, for I found it incredible that the meaning behind Dark Eyes was not openly apparent to one and all. Then I continued reading, and I became amazed and angry that no one seems to know the meaning of the song.

It's a wonderful reflective song where Dylan places himself within the persona of a battle weary Duke of Wellington. The dust has began to settle on the Waterloo battlefield... the hazy, watery sun glimmers and glints on the armour of fallen casualties... in the eerie quietness a lonesome cavalry horse brays and neighs... its sounds echoes across the fields, whilst the Duke, who is far from home, far from his love and far from the madding crowd looks at all before him... fields of death and destruction... and during this pensive moment of reflection his mind wanders to images of the days leading up to the battle.

He recalls the bravado of his troops... his men the night before, camped by the river... laughing, drinking, joking... trying to hide the horror of fear through the comfort of alcohol. He recalls the French girl who he loved and lost... image over image flash through his mind... a cock crowing, a lost child, a drunken ships captain clinging to his wheel to prevent himself falling to the deck.

Slowly, the Duke closes his eyes even tighter and tighter... he sees stars, lots and lots of small glinting stars... he watches as they dissolve from stars into eyes, dark, desperate eyes, millions of dark desperate eyes... a kaleidoscope of dark eyes... haunting him.

He promised himself never to return to Belgium.

There are too few songs about Belgium.


As the French say "Le fewer... le better."

Author:  Still Go Barefoot [ Sun March 30th, 2014, 00:01 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

Aside from the novelty of Patti joining Bob, it sounds better when Bob goes it alone.

Author:  Mickvet [ Sun March 30th, 2014, 00:53 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

henrypussycat wrote:
The lyric is Dylan quality but the melody sounds nearly "drunk" which drains the drama. Dylan detested the media/corporate/commercial complex from the beginning, although he benefitted plenty from it. In the sixties this attitude was mistaken for political or psycho-political. By the eighties it was obvious he detested human power in just about any form, for any imaginable purpose. Here he sings about the drones attending his shows like he's witnessing Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


Certainty is so very elusive with Dylan and his lyrics, but your reference to "human power" and his detestation of it may well unfold a paradigm theme within his oeuvre, which I must be conscious of heretofore. Thank you for this insight.

Author:  NateW [ Wed April 2nd, 2014, 18:23 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

I can't help but see the title/refrain as alluding to the Russian Romance song of the same title http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Eyes_(song)

The lyrics to this a song sound like something from from Time Out of Mind.

Quote:
Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
How I love you, How I fear you
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour

Dark eyes, flaming eyes
They implore me into faraway lands
Where love reigns, where peace reigns
Where there is no suffering, where war is forbidden

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour

If I hadn't met you, I wouldn't be suffering so
I would have lived my life smiling
You have ruined me, dark eyes
You have taken my happiness away forever

Dark eyes, burning eyes
Passionate and splendid eyes
I love you so, I fear you so
Verily, I saw you at a sinister hour


Another version of the song:

Quote:
1.
Dark and burning eyes, Dark as midnight skies
Full of passion flame, full of lovely game
Oh how I'm in love with you, oh how afraid I am of you.
Days when I met you made me sad and blue.

2.
Oh, not for nothing are you darker than the deep!
I see mourning for my soul in you,
I see a triumphant flame in you:
A poor heart immolated in it.

3.
But I am not sad, I am not sorrowful,
My fate is soothing to me:
All that is best in life that God gave us,
In sacrifice I returned to the fiery eyes!

Author:  sanjuro [ Wed April 2nd, 2014, 22:33 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

"But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"

Matthew 6:23

Author:  matulah [ Wed April 2nd, 2014, 22:41 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

To me the song is a very strong statement of one of the most constant themes in Dylan's writing: The eternal conflict between the inner self and the external world, and how the tension between the two gives birth to both feelings of intense loneliness and, sporadically, moments of nearly transcendental awareness and beauty. It's one of my favourite Dylan songs.

Author:  crimson flames [ Thu April 3rd, 2014, 01:07 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

The verse thats most hard to understand for me is the second verse. particularly ''Whom nature’s beast fears as they come", whats that all about i wonder?


"A cock is crowing far away and another soldier’s deep in prayer
Some mother’s child has gone astray, she can’t find him anywhere
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise
Whom nature’s beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes"

Author:  doomedtoloveyou [ Thu April 3rd, 2014, 01:10 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

Tragos114 wrote:
To me , it's about a guy who's walking home after a tiring day and is thinking loud , trying to explain his loneliness and grasp the meaning of things . He finds that , unlike him , the people around him ( that would probably be the rich people ) do not perceive the world like he does . They do not care for his , religious i'd say , search for meaning and beauty , they cannot feel the pain of others . And he feels by appalled by them .
In the end , though , ( last line ) i think he finds that what he does feels meaningless , that even though he could , he will not connect with other people and therefore he will not connect with this sad and beautiful world .
So it's about a guy who loves to observe the world , who admires the brilliant way the world is structured but at the same time feels that there's no place for him there . And he feels lonely .
( sorry if i have any mistakes in my English )

This.
(No English mistakes, Tragos.)

Author:  Brian_Eire [ Thu April 3rd, 2014, 01:13 GMT ]
Post subject:  Re: Meaning of "Dark Eyes"

the dead that rise could mean those that sleep walk through life with their eyes closed never really living.. nature may fear the mindless drone,bob often scorns the masters but also fool that follows willy nilly

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