Monday, 10 August 2009


'Forever Young' is one of my favorite Dylan songs. But what did Bob mean by 'forever young'? I'd be interested in your thoughts.AK

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Sheesh! (Pardon my Yiddish!) It's almost too obvious, at least to me.

This song is a great blessing coming from the heart, pen and mouth of a great man (in Christ), a man who is nonetheless an enigma to the world, and even to us.

When I hear this song, I immediately think of Psalm 1, "like trees planted by water streams, bearing fruit in season, their leaves never fading." I think of Jesus telling us, "let the little children come unto Me, for it is to such as they to whom the Kingdom of Heaven belongs." I think of all the saints I have known who went to their Lord peacefully in old age yet wearing the mantle of eternal youth on their persons, seeming to be becoming younger and younger as they approached their rest. I think of the childlike faith that never waivered in these elders, and I hope to be like them.

Forever Young makes me also think of Jesus, our resurrected and living Lord, saying to us every moment, "behold, I make all things new."

Andrew Kenny said...

Some views on the meaning of 'FOREVER YOUNG'

this song is about, or to his son jacob dylan of the wallflowers(whatever happened to them?) amy way to me it kinda sounds like hes saying to stay young and not make the mistake of growing up to fast like he did

brillant song


i dont think this song is for his son.....they never did have the best relationship...still dont, actually. i think it's really just a song for any child, written from a parental or caring point of view...but, thats just a guess


Italian Phaethon

seems to be more of a blessing than anything. "Forever Young" being to live a prosperous and productive life all the way through death. Each verse takes the blessing of of staying in the hands of a superior being or deity, the blessing to keep your personality an integrous one, and to have fortune come your way a little more. But always ends with "Forever Young"
or at least, this was how the song originally spoke to me

Andrew Kenny said...

Some more thoughts


Rated 0 i think this song means that you should try to live a good life and achieve what you can and not grow up too fast


Rated 0 In my opinion, this song is a beautiful way to wish a beloved person good luck in life. I mean, I actually use this song to congratulate my friends in their birthday. It's really beautiful. And, have you ever listened to the cover sung by Bruce Springsteen as a tribute to master Dylan? Man, when he says "May your song always be sung, and may you stay forever young" i feel like I'm gonna cry... Damn good song

Log in to reply 1 Reply kiersten

Rated 0 ewww don't compare bruce springsteen to bob dylan.


Rated 0 people don't tell me its not for his son i always liked to think it was a beautiful peace offering from Bob to Jacob don't mess that up for me! I don't care if i may be wrong i'm in denial.


Rated 0 I heard that when Jakob ( wallflowers CD coming out soon!!) was a child, he thought that this song was written for him. but it was really a song bob wrote on his life as a child. but who knows. maybe it is for jakob.
why dont they have a good relationship anyways? i would love to have bob dylan as my daddy!


Rated 0 This was our class song for graduation... what a song to hear at grad... tears tears


Rated 0 I think Dylan was a terrible dad to Jakob. I mean, he's to great to be a good dad. He's not a freaking God. All great men tend to fail as husbands or parents. Moses, Gandhi, Lennon.


Rated 0 I doubt it was a peace offering to Jakob, since he was only 5 years old when the Planet Waves was released.



Rated 0 Went to see this live a while back at the nec, crowd was silent. sounded really good


Rated 0 I first got in touch with this song when I heard The Pretenders version of it (Great cover), and I have to say it's amazing. It's not a song, it's a blessing. A blessing to someone that I love and deeply value here in life. Family, friend, partner.

Andrew Kenny said...

Some more thoughts


Rated 0 Jakob thought that it was about him and Bob said that it was about one of his sons (Jesse, Samuel, or Jakob). I think that it is beautiful and certainly must be every parents wish for their child. I think that Bob was a very good parent while they were still in Woodstock but then around the time they left he was paranoid about all his fans and so he started to become more of a womanizer once he left and ultimately let to divorce and then he went on the never ending tour.


Rated 0 Hmm. I am not really sure on the meaning of this song. The initial feeling i get from hearing this is "*smile* Live life to the full".


Rated 0 Yeah this is just a sort of pop wishy washy tune, trying to gain some like general mass appeal in a rock style. It's just a friendly sort of good will song, like others said not about his son. Musicians generally don't like to think of one person for inspiration, especially when they are popular, they try and make a song they think will have a lot of mass apeal and not offend anyone in their target market.

This song is just written to parents, and ehh I mean nothing deeper than what it says. I don't see any direct inspiration or interest other than ploys for popular marketing and adding to his goodie two shoes charecter with with the righteous references.

Log in to reply 1 Reply spacegame

Rated 0 You can't speak for all musicians. A very great many draw inspirations from very specific people and things. Even songs that have "mass appeal."


Rated 0 to MasterMusician: since when was dylan looking for commercial appeal? he was interested in the music and writing, he had lots of money anyways.


Andrew Kenny said...



Rated 0 I dunno - but i sense some sarcasm in dylans voice in this song - These 2 lines especially:
"May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift."
coz its directly contradicting to "Times They Are A-Changin"

I also would not expect Dylan to mean these 2 lines:
"May you always do for others
And let others do for you."

I could be wrong - but in my opinion, this song is a sardonic message.


Rated 0 I heard it was a song written for James Dean.
Anyway, even if it wasn't, it's a beautiful song.
And I truly hope that shaun_ray is not right ;)


Rated 0 Ironically, this song is not a contradiction to The Times They Are A Changing because the times are always changing according to that song. Meaning that the times had changed between the writing of the two songs. I also don't think that there was a great relationship between Bob and Jakob. I have never heard of any of Bob's other sons being musicians and I think that played a part in the tension between him and Jakob. Although Jakob always said Bob was a good father in interviews, I always got the impression there was no love lost between them.


Rated 0 I think Bob is laying the sarcasm on pretty thick in this tune. Clearly a salute to Mama Cass.
Bob's mean.


Rated 0 This is an AMAZING song! My dad played it for me at my 18th birthday. I don't care what people think, this song works so well in a parent child context. If it was for Dylan's son it would have been great, if not; it is still a great song and has some of the best lyrics I have ever read.


Rated 0 Oh my God! I said that and my dad was like.. oh good.

I read these lyrics before I go to bed EVERY night. WOOO WOOO WOO OOOOOWOOWOWOOWWOOWAHOOO!


Rated 0 This song is a semi sarcastic reply to Neil Young's "Old Man' which I believe is about Dylan. lyrics like 'may your song always be sung' and 'see the lights surrounding you' seem like they were written for a fellow troubadour. Some of the other lyrics seem like they harken back to Young songs. And it seems like Dylans getting on Neil for being somewhat of a copy cat... at least in Dylans labrynth of a mind.

Andrew Kenny said...

THanks Romanos for your comments of which I must agree.

I also have in mind Romans 16v.19 where Paul writes:'Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil',particularly 'innocent about what is evil'.

Many young hearts get old very quickly as they taste the many evils on offer in the world. It is this which also speaks to me with 'innocence' being synonymous with 'Forever young' .Thank God He can renew that youth and innocence through his forgiveness and renewal of our minds and hearts!