Tombstone Blues

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"Tombstone Blues"
Song by Bob Dylan from the album Highway 61 Revisited
Released August 30, 1965
Recorded Columbia Studios, New York, July 29, 1965
Genre Blues rock, garage rock[1]
Length 5:56
Label Columbia
Writer Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Johnston
Highway 61 Revisited track listing

"Tombstone Blues" is the second track of Bob Dylan's album Highway 61 Revisited. Musically it is influenced by the blues, while the lyrics are typical of Dylan's free-associate surreal style of the period, with such lines as "the sun's not yellow, it's chicken".

It was performed by Marcus Carl Franklin and Richie Havens in the movie based on Dylan's life, I'm Not There. The soundtrack version is performed solely by Havens. Two lines from the song, spoken by the "Commander in Chief" – "Death to all those who would whimper and cry" and "The sun's not yellow; it's chicken" – are spoken by a digitally manipulated Lyndon B. Johnson in another scene in the film.

Sheryl Crow performed the song on her live album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park alongside Eric Clapton, Chrissie Hynde, Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks, Sarah McLachlan, and the Dixie Chicks.

Stephen King quotes from the song at the end of his first-published novel Carrie. He uses the lines:

"Now I wish I could write you a melody so plain
That could hold you dear lady from going insane
That could ease you and cool you and cease the pain
Of your useless and pointless knowledge"

And again quotes from the song with the line:

"you will not die, it's not poison"

in chapter eleven of the novel Gerald's Game.


The lyrics fit the surreal style of the era, while being scathing of society and authority. The song contains several direct and indirect allusions to biblical characters as well as historical references.[2]


  1. ^ "Highway 61 Revisited review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  2. ^ "Bob Dylan - Tombstone Blues Lyrics". SongMeanings. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 

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