Jokerman (6:17)

Cover of Bob Dylan: The Collection

From Bob Dylan: The Collection and 51 other releases

“Jokerman” from the 1983 album Infidels is one of Dylan’s most analysed songs. It is perhaps a culmination of all the grand themes Dylan was wrestling with at the time – labelled his post-evangelical period by some commentators. Intentionally or unintentionally, Dylan perpetuated the confusion with the image of the Joker.

The Joker is a special card found in most modern decks of playing cards that has its origins in the court jester of the middle ages and the Fool of the Tarot card deck. The card shares similarities in both appearance and play function to the Fool in Tarot cards. Its use is greatly varied. Many games omit the card from use entirely, but often the Joker is a wild card and thereby allowed to represent other existing cards. The Joker can be extremely beneficial or extremely harmful and brings an unpredictable feature to games. Dylan’s “Jokerman” is thus a deeply ambiguous figure.


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Standing on the waters casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • Elyssyan

    Just the best Dylan song for me♥

    3 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Lord_Kur

    This song should always be played after "Every Grain of Sand". Let's make this a rule

    26 Jun 2013 Reply
  • TheGreatChupon

    Undoubtedly one of Dylan's best! It's only too bad that, unlike a similar case five years earlier, the rest of the album fails to live up to its tremendous opener.

    25 Apr 2013 Reply
  • ralfsu

    A woman just gave birth to a prince today and she's dressed in scarlet; he'll turn priests into pimps that make old men bark, take a woman who could have been Joan of Arc and turn her into a harlot!

    23 Apr 2013 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Dylan couldn't even blow a fart in 3 minutes. He deserves 30.

    2 Feb 2013 Reply
  • kibble

    don't be critical about his voice or singing--the man's a poet and knows of our hearts. he is god to us boomers.

    16 Nov 2012 Reply
  • Lord_Kur

    freedom... just around the corner for you

    6 Nov 2012 Reply
  • mwirkkala

    Dylan, please, 3 minutes would've been enough.

    23 Oct 2012 Reply
  • Endomusia

    Every time i listen to this it gets better. The lyrics are just amazing, and the music is top notch

    17 Oct 2012 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Not "some of Dylan's best imagery", but his absolute best. Wonderfully grotesque collage that only Bob could have pulled off.

    8 Sep 2012 Reply
  • ralfsu

    Some of Dylan's best imagery here for sure.

    20 Aug 2012 Reply
  • mrzigge

    And to be honest the song doesn't suit that Caetano Veloso guy.

    26 Apr 2012 Reply
  • mrzigge

    What about the singing is horribe? Considering in wich Dylan era this was released the singing is amaazing! I've heard much worse.

    26 Apr 2012 Reply
  • ralfsu

    The Letterman recording is available in good quality on the (new) "Music Masters Collection" DVD set, it's up on the Internet in MP3 format.

    1 Feb 2012 Reply
  • cmcmsf

    Probably my favorite Bob Dylan song.

    19 Dec 2011 Reply
  • rufuspig

    infidels - criminally underrated?

    30 Nov 2011 Reply
  • Perverzion

    Letterman version kicks ass(2) - I wish they were able to issue it in at least slightly better quality in the bootleg series, or something

    6 Oct 2011 Reply
  • egzepodszyw


    4 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Lord_Kur

    your view on things is a bit askew, this is a wonderful vocal performance. It's passionate, flows well and the phrasing is perfect. what the heck more can you ask for?

    5 Sep 2011 Reply
  • pancakekiller91

    Something about Dylan's horrible signing in the song that makes it really wonderful

    31 Mar 2011 Reply
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