Bob Dylan – ”Make You Feel My Love” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“Make You Feel My Love” is a beautifully simple song about true, devoted love. The lyrics are one half of a conversation between the narrator and his love interest. They focus on assuring the song’s recipient of the narrator’s passion, dedication, and warmth for them even in tough times. In addition, the song manages to touch on the idea that real love is willing to suffer for the sake of the other person.

Bob Dylan is the man behind this instant classic, and his style can clearly be seen in these direct lyrics. Originally, the tune was created for and recorded by Billy Joel, who was happy to produce a rendition. Shortly after, Dylan made his own version for use in his own catalog. Since then, countless artists have done versions of the tune – a testament to its universality.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these heartfelt lyrics to discover their intended meaning. We’ll also take a look at this song’s long story, as well as the human themes that allow anyone to understand it. Without further ado, let’s get started!

 “Make You Feel My Love” Lyrics Meaning

Dylan wastes no time before getting straight to the point. He wants his listener, who goes unnamed, to know that they can trust him even in tough times. “When the rain is blowing” and “the whole world” stands against them, Dylan will be there. He’ll “offer a warm embrace” so they can feel his love.

After getting our feet wet, Dylan takes this message deeper. This trajectory will continue throughout the track. Each song section gets more dramatic, extreme, and intense. By working us up to his final level of emotion, Dylan makes the payoff of the song more effective.

Accordingly, verse two is a little more intense than verse one. Even if there is really “no one there” to comfort his listener, Dylan promises to be the exception. He would hold them “for a million years” (beyond any normal lifespan) just so they would know his affection.

The first bridge shifts the focus to the listener. Dylan says, “I know you haven’t made your mind up yet,” which tells us the listener may not return his affection. Dylan’s confidence is unfazed by this. He’s known “from the moment” they met that the love is genuine. He has “no doubt” they belong together.

This section, along with the general lyrics, has led many to believe the song is written from the perspective of Jesus. The song never says that this love is romantic, and never even identifies the perspective as being Dylan’s. Nonetheless, Dylan has never confirmed nor denied this interpretation.

Regardless, verse three gives this interpretation slightly more evidence. Dylan (or whoever is meant to be speaking) states his willingness to “go black and blue” for his listener, which Jesus did in a big way. However, the rest of the verse may not fit. Dylan describes “crawling down the avenue” for his listener, which isn’t a biblical scene. Nonetheless, the lyrics could go both ways.

The second bridge adds another layer of depth. We’re told that “the storms are raging” around us. On “the highway of regret,” Dylan tells us that “the winds of change are blowing.” Dylan then finishes the section off with a promise: “You ain’t seen nothing like me yet.” Since Jesus once calmed a storm, this section has caused many interpreters to stick with the Messianic view of the song. 

In the final verse, Dylan goes to the most intense level. He states that he could make his listener’s “dreams come true” like it’s a complete fact. He will “go to the ends of the earth” just to show his love. Basically, he has no restraint or uncertainty inside of him; Dylan will love this person no matter what.

In summary, “Make You Feel My Love” is about the nature of real, genuine love for someone else. While there has been debate over the perspective of the song, the message still stands. This lyrical masterpiece about humanity’s greatest emotion taps into something special – the song’s success is no wonder.

The Story Behind “Make You Feel My Love”

For our readers who may be new to Bob Dylan, it’s important to understand the man before you dive into the history of his songs. The main thing to know is that Dylan is one of the most important songwriters of all time, not just for his own career. Many other artists have had their career-defining hits using his creations. As a result, his influence is extremely difficult to overstate.

Dylan’s sheer output was so impressive that he regularly gave masterpieces to other musicians. This is the case with “Make You Feel My Love.” Originally, the tune was given to Billy Joel, who apparently knew there was something very special about it even then.

After this, Dylan released his own version. This, along with Joel’s, has gone on to inspire countless other renditions. The brilliant lyrics and straightforward melody are why artists like Adele, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, and countless others have covered it. It taps into something universal.

The commercial world seems to agree. “Make You Feel My Love” charted well for Billy Joel and has undoubtedly made serious money for its songwriter, Bob Dylan. All of the artists who have ever done a version owe some of their success – and their profit – to Dylan.

The next time you play this emotional song, let these pieces of music history make it even more special!