Posted in songs

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Posted in Conversation Classes, songs

Song: Bob Dylan – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Resultat d'imatges de bob dylan

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bob-dylan-baby-blue – Handout

I’ve been quiet for a few weeks due to my exciting and terrifying new job in teacher training! However, I’ve made a resolution to work on more posts for the blog over the coming weeks.

Some of my C2 adults expressed an interest in listening to some Bob Dylan songs after reading about his recent Nobel Prize win. So I’ve prepared this short lesson plan with that in mind. Students start by reading and analysing the lyrics to the song as if it were a poem and not knowing the author or that it is in fact a folk song.


Students read the lyrics as if it were a poem and answer the 3 questions with their partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

Encourage use of language of speculation (could/might/may have etc.)

My DELTA tutor told me that removing words from song lyrics was a horrible crime, “butchering the text” is how he described it, so I’ve decided to keep the text whole. However, feel free to remove some words and have students complete them while listening. One idea would be to remove a part of each rhyming couplet and have students guess at words that would fit, before listening to confirm.

Have students discuss and share their interpretation of the song and then show them the three comments which contain different ways in which the song could be interpreted. Have them compare their own thoughts with those from the comments.



Read the poem and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. What do you think the poem is about?
  2. Who do you think the poet is talking to?
  3. What might have happened to the person?

You must leave now
Take what you need you think will last
But whatever you wish to keep
You’d better grab it fast

Yonder stands your orphan with his gun
Crying like a fire in the sun
Look out, the saints are coming through
And it’s all over now, baby blue

The highway is for gamblers
Better use your sense
Take what you have gathered
From coincidence

The empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets
The sky, too, is folding over you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

All your seasick sailors
They’re all rowing home
All your reindeer armies
They’re all going home

The lover, who just walked out your door
Has taken all his blankets from the floor
The carpet too, is moving under you
And it’s all over now, baby blue

Leave your stepping stones behind
Now, something calls for you
Forget the dead you’ve left
They will not follow you

The vagabond who’s rapping at your door
Is standing in the clothes that you once wore
Strike another match, go start anew
And it’s all over now, baby blue


Comment 1

“I think there is one line here that is misunderstood, and it is pretty nifty.

When Dylan is wrapping up the song, and he’s telling the woman to leave the dead and to start over, he says the line “strike another match girl, start anew” I really think it’s “girl” and not “go”– if you listen to the song it could go either way, but just here me out.

I think this line reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl,” in which a vagabond child selling matches sees visions of warm, safe places she will never be a part of, and each time she lights a match she sees a new scene, a new life. At the end of the fairy-tale, she lights her final match and dies… but in Dylan’s case, when he says to “light another match, girl” he’s not talking about a REAL death, he’s talking about a change. Like the girl in the story, the subject of this song is down-and-out, she thought she was in a safe place, but she’s not– the carpet’s being pulled right out from under her. She needs to figuratively “light a match” and see the possibilities for a new life, and she needs to accept, even embrace this change and join the vagabond outside to start a new journey.”

Comment 2

“I think this song is about accepting changes in life. this was the last song Dylan played at the infamous Newport concert (where he was booed for going electric) and the last song on Bringing It All Back Home (his last album that was mostly acoustic) I think he is just saying it is time for him to move on creatively”

Comment 3

“Could it be that Dylan is Baby Blue? He has to stop listening to everyone’s expectations as to where he should go. He must leave those stepping stones and go his own way even though there may be a price to pay.”