Bob Dylan – Gotta Serve Somebody

This single won the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Male in 1979. Dylan performed the song at that same ceremony.

Slow Train Coming was Bob Dylan’s first release since becoming a born-again Christian. What a way to start it out…

I’ve always liked this song and this part of his career. It didn’t matter to me if it was a Christian song …it’s a good song.

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100 in 1979.

Much of the album thus deals with Dylan’s faith and Christian teachings. While some of his older fans were not happy…he did gain some new fans because of it.

This was one of three songs Dylan played when he was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1979. It was the only time he appeared on the show.

You Gotta Serve Somebody

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

Still, you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Gotta Serve Somebody”

    1. They do don’t they…. The grammy for vocal of the year I thought was really interesting. I love his voice in this…it has passion. It shows you don’t have to be able to sing in what people think is perfect tone…you just have to mean it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They sing with conviction…I hear the conviction and they are not flat…but they bring more passion than many so called great singers.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Fine tune, I always liked it. It was I think the first “new” Dylan song I’d ever heard… that is to say, obviously I’d heard other songs by him (Like A Rolling Stone, Rainy Day Women, etc) but they were already “classics” from the past when I heard them. this was first time I remember radio going “hey, here’s something NEW from Bob Dylan.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. I do like this album. I remember seeing signs on telephone poles around Nashville around the time of this release…and I thought…who is this Bob Dylan? I knew some of his songs but not who he was.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeh. A red flag always goes up for me if a genuine Music aficionado dislikes Dylan because of his voice. He is the master of inflection and tone. Probably the best I’ve heard in those aspects.

        I hope life is treating you and your family well Max.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We are out and about…but all I go is to my empty office and back home. At least it’s a routine and I’m getting out.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeh, that’s the most important thing that you follow a routine. I get out every second day to go shopping or a walk. As I was saying to Bruce, we are losing 200 people a day over here and some sectors are in confinement, which is way stricter than ‘lockdown’. A
        And Brett Weinstein was saying yesterday that the people who have already been infected perhaps Months ago, many are showing some terrible secondary effects from it. What a shitty year buddy! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That is terrible Matt. In Tennessee we have a one percent mortality rate but it’s not slowing down. Lets skip to 2021…hopefully next year at this time…this not be same.

        Yea going back to the office helped me tremdously. I went to the doctor yesterday and he said…Max what did you do over the lockdown…I said…”eat” and he said yes I see…now lose some weight! It was a combination of depression and working from home.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeh it is, but we had a miraculous family recovery by the great grandmother on my kids (maternal side) who came out of a coma yesterday. I was even conversing with her via video chat. You can imagine how elated the family is.

        Sorry to read you have been depressed and gaining weight. I hope getting out to the office cheers you up which it seems it has. I think the only way I have kept my sanity during this whole thing is doing cardio and yoga. Without those, I would have been a wreck long ago. I was going through a binge drinking phase not long go too, but I’m out of that thank goodness.

        Anyways, keep me updated on how you and your family fair through this crap-storm. Anyway we’re always in touch because of our respective blogs. Have a wonderful day Max!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Sorry to hear about the great grandmother Matt…glad she is doing better.

        I didn’t realize at the time that I was depressed…I remember I would get up, answer the ringing phone from work, and then go back to bed at night. Didn’t move hardly at all but to get food.

        Thanks for responding and I hope your family remains healthy Matt.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Ah ok. I’m not sure if I understand you well. I went though an ordeal many years ago with severe depression where it entailed my father pointing me to a clock, so I could make sense of reality. It’s hard to understand what someone is going through with full-blown depression.

        I REALLY hope you’re feeling better now Max.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I am…and it wasn’t a “why should I get out of the bed” depression. All I did was work, eat, and watch TV. It was like nothing could make me happy. I didn’t know what day it was half the time because I didn’t have to.

        It was because of what was going on I’m sure…I’m usually hard to rattle but that got to me.

        I appreciate you asking Matt

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Thanks man I appreciate it. I’m back to walking 3 miles a day, and doing my thing again. Eating right and doing the right thing.
        After I got back to the office…everytihng feel into place.

        Thanks Matt

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yes it’s much better now….and I don’t do that often…I’m pissed at myself for drifting there.

        Like

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