Everything Is Broken

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"Everything is Broken"
Everything Is Broken cover.jpg
Cover of the American promotional single.
Single by Bob Dylan
from the album Oh Mercy
B-side"Death is Not the End"
ReleasedOctober 1989
Format7" single, CD
RecordedMarch 14 or 15, 1989 (original),
April 3, 1989 (album version),[1] New Orleans, Louisiana
GenreBlues, Folk rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Producer(s)Daniel Lanois
Bob Dylan singles chronology
"Everything is Broken"
"Political World"

"Everything is Broken" is a song written and recorded by American musician Bob Dylan, and released on his 1989 album, Oh Mercy. The song's lyrics describe Dylan's detachment from his world at the time of its writing.[1] The track found on Oh Mercy is an April 1989 re-working of a take recorded the previous month.

One of the original takes, recorded by Dylan in mid-March 1989 in New Orleans, was included on the 2008 compilation album The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 - Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006, while the version from Oh Mercy was rereleased on the compilation album The Essential Bob Dylan. A cover version appears on Kenny Wayne Shepherd's hit album "Trouble Is...


Originally recorded as "Broken Days" in March 1989, Dylan had rewritten the song entirely by April, giving it its current name. In an interview with Nigel Williamson (the author of The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan) and Oh Mercy's producer, Daniel Lanois, he described how Dylan would rework his songs over and over again:

"I sat next to him for two months while he wrote [Oh Mercy] and it was extraordinary. Bob overwrites. He keeps chipping away at his verses. He has a place for all his favorite couplets, and those couplets can be interchangeable. I've seen the same lyrics show up in two or three different songs as he cuts and pastes them around, so it's not quite as sacred ground as you might think.[1]

Notable Cover Versions[edit]

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Noah Hunt vocals) from "Trouble Is" 1997

R.L. Burnside from "Tangled Up in Blues - Songs of Bob Dylan" 1999 (also appears on the 2002 soundtrack to the film "Big Bad Love")

Bettye Lavette from "Thankful 'N Thoughtful" 2012

Tim O'Brien from "Red on Blonde" 1996


  1. ^ a b c Williamson, N. The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan (1st ed, 2004), p. 296