LET ME DIE IN MY FOOTSTEPS

(Bob Dylan) (1962)

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Bob Dylan's blunt answer to the yawping of the Madison Avenue Pitchmen trying to sell fallout shelters. He shines a light into the murky darkness of our age and shows us in one bright instant what it might have taken a less impatient philosopher a lifetime to discover: namely that instead of learning to live, we are learning to die. What he says was never more evident than in the recent crisis over Cuba, when millions of Americans sought desperately to think of some dignified way to meet death in an obscene halocaust [sic]...

Liner notes, "Broadside" (BR 301) (1963)

For a different ("black humor") treatment of the same topic, see Shel Silverstein's "I'm Standing On The Outside of Your Shelter"

  • DOWNLOAD FROM THIS SITE (REAL AUDIO, 1.64 MB)
    (FINJAN CLUB, Montreal, CDN, Jul 2, 1962)

    Lyrics as printed in Broadside #3, April 1962 (as "I Will Not Go Down Under The Ground"), reprinted in liner notes, "Broadside" (BR 301) (1963)
    © 1962 by author,
    partially alternate lyrics to those © 1963, 1965 Warner Bros. Inc.,
    Renewed Special Rider Music.

  • I will not go down under the ground
    Because someone tells me that death's comin' round;
    I will not carry myself down to die
    When I go to my grave my head will be high --
    CHORUS:
    Let me die in my footsteps
    Before I go down under the ground.
    There's been rumors of war and wars that have been
    The meaning of life has been lost in the wind
    Some people are thinkin' that the end is close by
    Instead of learning to live they are learning to die. I don't think I'm smart but I think I can see
    When someone is pulling the wool over me
    And if there's war and death comes around
    Let me die on this land 'for [sic] I die underground.

    There's always been people that have to cause fear
    They've been talking about war for many long years
    I've read all their statements and not said a word
    And now, Lord God, let my poor voice be heard.

    If I had riches and rubies and crowns
    I'd buy the whole world and I'd change things around
    I'd throw all the tanks and the guns in the sea
    For they all are mistakes of our past history.

    Let me drink from the waters where the mountain streams flow
    Let the smell of wild flowers flow free through my blood
    Let me sleep in your meadows with your green grassy leaves
    Let me walk down the highway with my brothers in peace.

    Go out in your country where the land meets the sun
    See the meadows and mountains where the wild waters run
    Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho
    Let every state in the Union seep deep down in your soul.
    CHORUS: And you'll die, etc.

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