Bob Dylan - Chimes of freedom

First performance: 01/09/1978


Bruce covered the song 39 times ( soundchecks included ) :
Bruce’s version is a little different from the original Bob Dylan version and shorter; out of the 6 original verses, Springsteen used verses 1, 5, and 6. The Chimes Of Freedom EP was released worldwide in August 1988 to promote the upcoming Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour. Some proceeds from the EP sales went to Amnesty International. The EP was produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, and Chuck Plotkin.  
Another Live version was released 'The Human Rights Concerts' : Human Rights Now (Compilation, 2013) (recorded October 15, 1988).
  • Vote For Change Tour
2004-09-27 Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ
Bruce and the E Street Band spent three days in closed rehearsals: Chimes of freedom was played on the first day.
  • The Rising Tour
The song was reported to be sound-checked but never played during the tour's regular shows
2003-04-11 Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC 
2002-11-21 TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando, FL 
2002-10-16 Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain

1988-10-15 Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Amnesty International - Human Rights Now!" tour. "Chimes of freedom" was also played during all 20 shows of the multi-artist Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour, and again in its 4-verses form. The song featured all the tour's performing artists trading verses with Springsteen.

1988-10-12 Parque Antártica, São Paulo, Brazil
1988-10-09 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
1988-10-07 National Sports Stadium, Harare, Zimbabwe
1988-09-30 Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi, India
1988-09-27 Tokyo Domu, Tokyo, Japan
1988-09-23 Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA
1988-09-21 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
1988-09-19 John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
1988-09-17 Olympic Stadium, Montreal, QC
1988-09-15 Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, ON
1988-09-13 Estadio Nacional De Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica
1988-09-10 Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
1988-09-08 Stadio Comunale, Turin, Italy
1988-09-06 Népstadion, Budapest, Hungary
1988-09-05 Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy, Paris, France
1988-09-04 Palais Omnisports De Paris-Bercy, Paris, France
1988-09-02 Wembley Stadium, London, England

1988-08-03 Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
During The Tunnel of love tour, Bruce used verses 1, 2, 5, and 6. Lyrics are now closer to the original Bob Dylan version.

1988-08-02 Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain
1988-07-30 Weserstadion, Bremen, West Germany
1988-07-27 Valle Hovin Stadion, Oslo, Norway
1988-07-25 Københavns Idrætspark, Copenhagen, Denmark
1988-07-22 Waldbühne, West Berlin, West Germany
1988-07-19 Radrennbahn Weissensee, East Berlin, East Germany
1988-07-17 Olympia-Reitstadion Riem, Munich, West Germany
1988-07-14 St. Jakob Stadion, Basel, Switzerland
1988-07-12 Waldstadion, Frankfurt, West Germany
1988-07-10 Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England
1988-07-09 Bramall Lane, Sheffield, England
1988-07-07 RDS Arena, Dublin, Ireland
1988-07-03 Stockholms Stadion, Stockholm, Sweden
1988-07-02 Stockholms Stadion, Stockholm, Sweden
1988-06-29 Stadion Feijenoord, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
1978-09-01 Masonic Temple Theatre, Detroit, MI


"Chimes of Freedom" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan and featured on his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan (see 1964 in music), produced by Tom Wilson. Initially, critics described the song as showing the influence of the symbolist poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. More recent biographers of Dylan have linked the origins of the song to verses Dylan had written as a reflection on the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The song depicts the thoughts and feelings of the singer and his companion as they shelter from a lightning storm under a doorway after sunset. The singer expresses his solidarity with the downtrodden and oppressed, believing the thunder is tolling in sympathy for them. Music critic Paul Williams has described the song as Dylan's Sermon on the Mount

Bruce on the artist

"The first time that I heard Bob Dylan I was in the car with my mother, and we were listening to, I think, maybe WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody kicked open the door to your mind, from ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ And my mother, who was – she was no stiff with rock and roll, she liked the music, she listened – she sat there for a minute, she looked at me, and she said, ‘That guy can’t sing.’ But I knew she was wrong. I sat there, I didn’t say nothin’, but I knew that I was listening to the toughest voice that I had ever heard. It was lean, and it sounded somehow simultaneously young and adult, and I ran out and I bought the single. And I came home, I ran home, and I put it on my 45, and they must have made a mistake at the factory, because a Lenny Welch song came on. And the label was wrong, so I ran back, and I got it, and I played it, then I went out and I got Highway 61, and it was all I played for weeks. I looked at the cover, with Bob, with that satin blue jacket and the Triumph Motorcycle shirt. And when I was a kid, Bob’s voice somehow – it thrilled and scared me. It made me feel kind of irresponsibly innocent. And it still does. But it reached down and touched what little worldliness I think a 15-year-old kid, in high school, in New Jersey had in him at the time. Dylan was – he was a revolutionary, man, the way that Elvis freed your body, Bob freed your mind. And he showed us that just because the music was innately physical, it did not mean that it was anti-intellect. He had the vision and the talent to expand a pop song until it contained the whole world. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound. He broke through the limitations of what a recording artist could achieve, and he changed the face of rock and roll forever and ever. Without Bob, the Beatles wouldn’t have made Sergeant Pepper, maybe the Beach Boys wouldn’t have made Pet Sounds, the Sex Pistols wouldn’t have made ‘God Save the Queen,’ U2 wouldn’t have done ‘Pride in the Name of Love,’ Marvin Gaye wouldn’t have done ‘What’s Goin’On,’ Grandmaster Flash might not have done ‘The Message,’ and the Count Five could not have done ‘Psychotic Reaction.’ And there never would have been a group named the Electric Prunes, that’s for sure. But the fact is that, to this day, where great rock music is being made, there is the shadow of Bob Dylan over and over and over again. And Bob’s own modern work has gone unjustly under-appreciated for having to stand in that shadow. If a young songwriter – if there was a young guy out there writing ‘Sweetheart Like Me,’ writing the Empire Burlesque album, writing ‘Every Grain of Sand,’ they’d be calling him the new Bob Dylan. That’s all the nice stuff that I wrote out to say about him. Now it’s about three months ago, I was watching TV, and the Rolling Stones special came on, and Bob came on, and he was in a real cranky mood, it seemed like, and he was kind of bitchin’ and moaning about how his fans don’t know him, and nobody knows him. And they come up to him on the street, and kind of treat him like a long-lost brother or something. And speaking as fan, I guess when I was 15, and I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ I heard a guy that, like I’ve never heard before or since. A guy that had the guts to take on the whole world, and made me feel like I had ’em too. And maybe some people mistook that voice to be saying somehow that you were gonna do the job for ’em. And as we know, as we grow older, that there isn’t anybody out there that can do that job for anybody else. So I’m just here tonight to say thanks, to say that I wouldn’t be here without you, to say that there isn’t a soul in this room who does not owe you their thanks. And to steal a line from one of your songs, whether you like it or not, ‘you was the brother that I never had.’ Congratulations."


Far between sundown's finish an' midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

In the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden while the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsaked
Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the unpawned painter behind beyond his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Through the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute
Tolling for the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a cloud's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.