Absolutely Sweet Marie (4:56)

Cover of Bob Dylan: The Collection

From Bob Dylan: The Collection and 49 other releases

“Absolutely Sweet Marie” is a song written by Bob Dylan, released on his 1966 double album Blonde on Blonde. The song is an exuberantly up-tempo number.

During a 1991 interview published in Paul Zollo’s book Songwriters on Songwriting, Expanded Fourth Edition (New York: Da Capo Press, 1997), Dylan gives an idea of how he sees the song in his explanation of a line about a “yellow railroad”:

That’s about as complete as you can be. Every single letter in that line. It’s all true. On a literal and on an escapist level… Getting back to the yellow railroad, that could be from looking someplace. Being a performer, you travel the world. You’re not just looking out of the same window everyday. You’re not just walking down the same old street. So you must make yourself observe whatever. But most of the time it hits you. You don’t have to observe. It hits you. Like, “yellow railroad” could have been a blinding day when the sun was so bright on a railroad someplace and it stayed on my mind… These aren’t contrived images. These are images which are just in there and have got to come out.
Dylan did not perform “Sweet Marie” live until 1988, and has intermittently played it since, including during a session for his MTV Unplugged appearance.

“To live outside the law you must be honest”


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Well, your railroad gate
You know I just can't jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I'm just sitting here beating on my trumpet

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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