Dark Eyes

Words and music Bob Dylan
Released on Empire Burlesque (1985)
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem


In Dylan behind closed doors, The recording sessions [1960-1994] Clinton Heylin says about the guitar playing on this song:

Even after Dylan had written the song, the guitar part proved problematic as he repeatedly hit the wrong strings accidentally in the studio. With only three strings necessary for what is actually a rather trite melody, the other three strings were taped down, at which point Dylan finally got the song on tape (p.161).

This is complete nonsense, which more or less confirms my suspicion that Heylin hasn't really listened carefully enough to the things he writes off. Dylan uses all six strings, hits “wrong” bass notes, but so consistently and clearly that it definitely is the way he wanted it to sound. It's odd, though, with that open 4th string throughout most of the song.

What is special is that all the strings are tuned down one whole step, so that what is really a song in G major, is played as if in A major.

I'm not dead certain about all this – especially the choices of positions for the chords in the first measure (and corresponding). It sounds as if he plays it as written below, but the more natural thing would be to play -655 -454 -655. You decide. If you come up with a better solution, pleast let me know

Chords (the roman numerals refer to the fret position):
Most of these chords have a d in the bass; see tab for fingerings

Av     xx0655  (i.e. A/d)
Eiv    xx0454 or x7x454
Eix    x7999x
    A       Av  E   A     D       E         A   Av  E   A     D       A
  .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|---0-|-----5---0---0---|-2-------0-------|-0---5---0---0---|(2)--------------|
|---2-|-----5---0---2---|-3-------0-------|-2---5---0---2---|-3-------2-------|
|---2-|-----6---1---2---|-2-------1-------|-2---6---1---2---|-2-------2-------|
|-----|---0---0---0---0-|---0---------2---|-------0---0---0-|---0-0-----------|
|-----|-0---------------|---------------0-|-----------------|-------0-------0-|
|-----|-----------------|-------0---------|-----------------|-----------------|
  A   Av  E   A     D       E         A   Av  E   A     D       A
  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-0---5---4---5---|-2-------0-------|-0---5---0---0---|-2-------0-------|
|-2---5---5---5---|-3-------0-------|-2---5---0---2---|-3-------2-------|
|-2---6---4---6---|-2-------1-------|-2---6---1---2---|-2---2---2-------|
|---0---0---0---0-|---0-------2-----|-------0---0---0-|---0---0---------|
|-----------------|---------------0-|-----------------|-----------------|
|-----------------|-------0---------|-----------------|-----------------|
     Eix  Av  Aix Av    D       Eiv       Eiv Av  Aix Av    D       Eiv
      :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
----|-----5---9---5---|-2-------4-------|-4---5---9---5---|-2-------4-------|
----|-9---5--10---5---|-3---3---5-------|-5---5--10---5---|-3---3---5-------|
----|-9---6---9---6---|-2-2-----4-------|-4---6---9---6---|-2-2-----4-------|
----|-9-----0---0---0-|-----------------|-------0---0---0-|-----------------|
-/7-|-----------------|-------7-------7-|---0-------------|-------7---------|
----|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|-----------------|
      I  live in  an -  o-ther world where life and death are memorized
        A  Av Eiv Av  D  E            A    Av  Eiv     Av     D    A
Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside,
        A    Av  Eiv Av D   E       A  Av Eiv  Av  D     A
They're drinking up and walking and it is time for me to slide.
Evii Av   Aix Av D    E           Evii Av  Aix   Av  D    E
I    live in  another world where life and death are memorized,
          A     Av Eiv    Av   D       E          A  Av Eiv Av  D    A
Where the earth is strung with lovers' pearls and all I see are dark eyes.

A cock is crowing far away and another soldier's deep in prayer,
Some mother's child has gone astray, she can't find him anywhere.
But I can hear another drum beating for the dead that rise,
Whom nature's beast fears as they come and all I see are dark eyes.

They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes,
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I'm sure it is.
But I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized,
All I feel is heat and flame and all I see are dark eyes.

Oh, the French girl, she's in paradise and a drunken man is at the wheel,
Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel.
Oh, time is short and the days are sweet and passion rules the arrow that flies,
A million faces at my feet but all I see are dark eyes.