Bob Dylan - John Brown

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Music Video

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Bob Dylan "John Brown" Music Video

Song Lyrics


Bob Dylan, 1962 (version by O.V. Michaelsen [Ove Ofteness])

John Brown went off to war, called to battle on a foreign shore,

And his mother, she sure was proud of him!

When he stood so straight and tall, in his uniform and all,

His mother's face broke out in a glowing grin.

She said, "Son, you look so fine, I`m so glad you`re a son of mine'”

You make me proud to know you hold a gun.

Do what your captain says an' lots of medals you will get,

Then we`ll hang them on the wall when you come home."

As that evening train pulled out, John`s ma began to shout,

Telling everybody in the neighborhood:

"That`s my son that`s about to go, he`s a soldier now, you know,"

And she made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while, and her face broke into a smile,

Then she showed them to the people from next door,

And she bragged about her son, with his uniform and gun,

And this thing they called 'a good old-fashioned war.'

'A good old-fashioned war.'

After all his letters home, his mail had ceased to come,

And she hadn't heard a word for nine months or more.

Then one letter finally came: "Go down and meet the train'”

Your son is coming home from the war."

Oh, she smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around,

But she could not find her soldier son in sight.

But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last

And when she did, she could hardly believe her eyes.

His young face was all shot up, and one hand had been blown off,

And he wore a metal brace around his waist.

He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know,

And she could not even recognize his face.

She said, "Oh, my darling son, Lord, tell me what they've done.

How is it that you ended up this way?"

He tried his best to speak, but his mouth could hardly move,

And his mother had to turn her face away.

"Don`t you remember, Ma, when I went off to war,

You thought it was the best thing I could do?

When I was on that battleground, you were home an' acting proud.

Be glad that you weren't standing in my shoes.

And I thought when I was there, '˜God, what am I doing here?

Just tryin' to kill somebody or DIE tryin`.'

But the thing that scared me most, when my enemy came up close,

I saw his frightened face looked just like mine.

Lord, just like mine!

Then I couldn`t help but think, through that thunder and the stink,

I was only one more puppet in their play.

And through the roar and smoke, that string, it finally broke,

And a blast of fire blew my eyes away."

When the young man tried to walk, his mother was still in shock,

As she saw that metal brace that helped him stand.

But as they turned to go, he held his mother close,

And he dropped his medals down into her hand.

Copyright © 1963; renewed in 1991 by Special Rider Music


A list of remixes of this Bob Dylan song:

Release History

The Bob Dylan song "John Brown" appears on the following albums:
Let My Poor Voice Be Heard: Publishing Demos
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Studio Rehearsals 1987

The Bob Dylan 60's Collection

The Bob Dylan 60's Collection

  1. You're No Good (1:37)
  2. Talkin' New York (3:22)
  3. In My Time of Dyin' (2:42)
  4. Man of Constant Sorrow (3:10)
  5. Fixin' to Die (4:29)
  6. Pretty Peggy-O (3:21)
  7. Highway 51 Blues (2:50)
  8. Gospel Plow (1:44)
  9. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (2:35)
  10. House Of The Risin' Sun (5:18)
  11. Freight Train Blues (2:18)
  12. Song to Woody (3:12)
  13. See That My Grave is Kept Clean (2:43)
  14. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (6:50)
  15. Rocks and Gravel (3:18)
  16. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (6:08)
  17. The Cuckoo (2:20)
  18. Moonshiner (5:05)
  19. Handsome Molly (2:46)
  20. Cocaine (2:58)
  21. John Brown (4:17)
  22. Barbara Allen (4:13)
  23. West Texas (5:37)
  24. Blowin' in the Wind (7:09)
  25. Girl from The North Country (3:06)
  26. Masters of War (5:05)
  27. Down the Highway (3:24)
  28. Bob Dylan's Blues (1:55)
  29. Bob Dylan's Dream (5:01)
  30. Oxford Town (2:30)
  31. Talkin' World War III Blues (6:25)
  32. Corrina, Corrina (2:40)
  33. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance (1:59)
  34. I Shall Be Free (4:27)
  35. The Times They Are A-Changin' (3:00)
  36. Ballad of Hollis Brown (5:02)
  37. With God on Our Side (7:04)
  38. One Too Many Mornings (2:37)
  39. North Country Blues (4:31)
  40. Only a Pawn in Their Game (3:29)
  41. Boots of Spanish Leather (5:45)
  42. When the Ship Comes In (4:23)
  43. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (5:45)
  44. Restless Farewell (5:32)
  45. All I Really Want to Do (4:01)
  46. Black Crow Blues (3:14)
  47. Spanish Harlem Incident (2:25)
  48. Chimes of Freedom (7:10)
  49. I Shall Be Free No. 10 (4:48)
  50. To Ramona (4:32)
  51. Motorpsycho Nitemare (4:34)
  52. My Back Pages (4:38)
  53. I Don't Believe You (3:14)
  54. Ballad in Plain D (8:17)
  55. It Ain't Me, Babe (3:34)
  56. Subterranean Homesick Blues (2:17)
  57. She Belongs to Me (2:48)
  58. Maggie's Farm (5:24)
  59. Love Minus Zero / No Limit (3:45)
  60. Outlaw Blues (3:04)
  61. On the Road Again (2:35)
  62. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (6:29)
  63. Mr. Tambourine Man (2:17)
  64. Gates of Eden (5:40)
  65. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (7:26)
  66. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (4:13)
  67. Like a Rolling Stone (6:54)
  68. Tombstone Blues (5:56)
  69. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (3:23)
  70. From a Buick 6 (3:06)
  71. Ballad of a Thin Man (7:00)
  72. Queen Jane Approximately (5:27)
  73. Highway 61 Revisited (5:04)
  74. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues (5:38)
  75. Desolation Row (1:31)
  76. Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35 (4:32)
  77. Pledging My Time (3:47)
  78. Visions of Johanna (7:34)
  79. One Of Us Must Know (4:36)
  80. I Want You (3:08)
  81. Memphis Blues Again (7:05)
  82. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (4:19)
  83. Just Like a Woman (5:48)
  84. Most Likely You Go Your Way And I Go Mine
  85. Temporary Like Achilles (5:00)
  86. Absolute Sweet Marie (4:57)
  87. 4th Time Around (4:35)
  88. Obviously 5 Believers (3:31)
  89. Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands (11:24)
  90. John Wesley Harding (2:57)
  91. As I Went Out One Morning (2:49)
  92. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (3:55)
  93. All Along the Watchtower (6:19)
  94. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest (5:32)
  95. Drifter's Escape (2:48)
  96. Dear Landlord (3:17)
  97. I Am a Lonesome Hobo (3:24)
  98. I Pity the Poor Immigrant (4:16)
  99. The Wicked Messenger (2:05)
  100. Down Along the Cove (2:24)
  101. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (3:04)
  102. Nashville Skyline Rag (3:11)
  103. To Be Alone with You (2:07)
  104. I Threw It All Away (3:18)
  105. Peggy Day (1:59)
  106. Lay, Lady, Lay (3:20)
  107. One More Night (2:20)
  108. Tell Me That It Isn't True (2:40)
  109. Country Pie (1:35)
  110. Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (3:23)
The Bootleg Series Vol. 9 - The Witmark Demos - 1962-1964
19 October 2010

The Bootleg Series, Volume 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964
18 October 2010

The Roar of a Wave
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The Witmark Demos
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