Simple Twist of Fate (June/July 1981)

Evolution of a Bob Dylan Lyric

On June 30, 1981, Dylan makes a very notable mention of Suze in this performance:

He walked along through the city blocks
Hunts her down – he remembers Suze when she talks
Hunts for her by the waterfront docks where the sailors all roll in
Maybe he’ll find her there once again, how long must he wait
One more time for a simple twist of fate

Here we take a look at how this particular lyric developed by presenting consecutive performances from the shows before, after, and including this June 30th outing.

Colombes, France, June 23

He heard the tickin’ of the clocks/ And walked down through the city blocks

London, England, June 26

He walked along through the city blocks/ Sometimes down sometimes at the docks

London, England, June 28

He walked along through the city blocks/ Oh down by and the tree full of rocks

London, England, June 29

He walkin’ down through the city blocks/ Way down far but know she talks

London, England, June 30

He walked along through the city blocks/ Hunts her down – he remembers Suze when she talks

London, England, July 1

He walked along by the city docks/ Hunts her down though the way she talks

Birmingham, England, July 4

He go by there by the city blocks/ But oh my by the way she talks

Birmingham, England, July 5

He walked through the city blocks/ Well down she remem- to talks

Stockholm, Sweden, July 8

He walked along through the city block/ Pulled down by the way she talks

Dramman, Norway, July 9

He walked along through the city blocks/ Hunts for her by the way she talks

It is interesting to note that this pair of lines is not found in the few performances prior to these. Note how the rhyme gradually evolves (blocks -> rocks -> docks -> talks), with Suze clearly mentioned only on June 30th. By the show in Dramman on July 9th, Dylan has settled on the less personal but very clearly sung, “Hunts her down by the way she talks.” While Suze could still be in Dylan’s mind when performing the song at this stage in 1981, he is at least no longer calling her out by name.

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