The Real Meaning Behind Bob Dylan's Tangled Up In Blue

Bob Dylan’s 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks” has gone down as a folk masterpiece. According to Rolling Stone, the album is frequently called Dylan’s best work, even though some critics initially gave it a lukewarm reception. Over the years, some have wondered whether the gravitas and greatness of “Blood on the Tracks” could have been founded on older, literary roots. One pervading theory is that the album was actually a not to the short stories of Russian writer Anton Chekhov — though per the New Yorker, this particular speculation can’t be confirmed. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time a Dylan record remained more enigmatic than not. 

Out of all of the songs featured on “Blood on the Tracks,” there’s one that might stand above all else: “Tangled Up in Blue,” a song Dylan purportedly once said took him “ten years to live and two years to write” (via TIME). By all accounts, the song is also deeply personal to Dylan — at the time of the song’s composition in the early 1970s, the singer-songwriter was in the middle of a turbulent marriage and in the throes of substance use disorder. The lyricism of the song itself seems to reflect these issues; by all appearances, “Tangled Up in Blue” makes reference to a marriage in trouble and rough times already had. But the song would go through multiple revisions before the final version we know today.