What does The Mighty Quinn mean?

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Bob Dylan: The Mighty Quinn Meaning


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The Mighty Quinn Lyrics

Ev'rybody's building the big ships and the boats,
Some are building monuments,
Others, jotting down notes,
Ev'rybody's in despair,
Ev'ry girl and boy
But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,
Ev'rybody's jump for joy.
Come all without, come all...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Sep 11th 2014 report

    This song is about Anthony Quinn in the movie "the Savage Innocents" He plays an Eskimo that is liked by everyone and only gets in trouble when he meets white men.
    Dylan himself said he was inspired by Anthony Quinn's performance to write the song.
    Case closed.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    Jay Plastow
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    Jan 23rd 2011 report

    The Song The Mighty Quinn is a drug song. In the 60's in the US there was something called a "Power Pack" It was a capsule that had the following ingredients: Mescaline, Meth Amphetamine Hydrochloride USP 90, LSD, and STP. The STP was not what is used in cars. The Mighty Quinn is the British counterpart.

  3. OBXLisa
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    Jul 15th 2021 report

    I JUST read the interview where Dylan was asked about 'Quinn the Eskimo'. He DID NOT say it was about the Anthony Quinn movie. In fact, he said he had not seen that movie. He said he supposed he had gotten the title just from something he heard somewhere. The INTERVIEWER asked if perhaps he heard somebody talking about that movie, and Dylan said, "Maybe". It definitely is NOT what inspired the song! He did not elaborate on the meaning of the lyrics, but it was NOT inspired by the movie he said he had not seen!

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 3rd 2020 report

    The Mighty 'Quinn' has become prophetic in it's adaptation as Hydroxychloro'quine'... the cure for the corona virus... Even much of the lyrics match the current situation with the virus at hand.

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 17th 2019 report

    The controversial Sheriff Larry Quinlan who served as Dutchess County, New York’s Sheriff for almost twenty years (known locally as the Mighty Quinn) arrested Bob Dylan on drug charges just before Dylan’s motorcycle accident in the 60’s. This has always been Dutchess County’s understanding of the song. Dutchess County is just across the river from Woodstock, NY where Dylan was living at the time. Yes, this is the same Woodstock that the Festival made famous in 1968!

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 16th 2018 report

    I always thought it was about Qualludes

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    May 24th 2014 report

    This song would absolutely be about Jesus, if Jesus had been dealing the yeyo.

  8. m320753
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    Apr 28th 2014 report

    Bob Dylan in his early career made many references to God and Jesus, In " Masters of War, he says " Even Jesus would never forgive what you do." In with God on our side he sings " Jesus Christ was betrayed by a kiss/ but I can't think for ya/ you'll have to decide whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side. This song is not about drugs, although Dylan used them in the 60s and beyond, he was mainly a wine drinker then switched to Jack Daniels. This song relates to the Old Testament in the Bible, Long ships = Noah's Ark. Monuments = the Tower at Babel Quinn is the Savior the Jews in the old Testament were waiting for.

    An awful lot of Dylan's songs have Biblical references, before , during and after he became " Born Again" He may have been among the first Jews for Jesus members who acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Savior, but still cling to the ancient Hebrew Rituals. Just as " Christians for Isreal, both are growing in number of members . That's only my opinion, don't take it personal

  9. anonymous
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    Apr 27th 2014 report

    It's obviously about people conforming to a propagandized lifestyle and sinking into group-think, competing with one another for things that don't even matter in the big picture. Where as an "Eskimo" lives a simple lifestyle based on things of true importance, and is closer to what nature intended. And you have to admit it does feel pretty damn good to meet someone "real".

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 10th 2012 report

    I always thought this song was about herion. It could be about a heroin dealer, it's definitely not about cocaine. I never cared much for suggested or implied meanings, I prefer straght forward. When You listen to Lou Reed's song heroin, between the lyrics and the title there's not much you have to guess at.

  11. LittleQuinn
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    Aug 24th 2012 report

    I think Bob Dylan wrote this song about my brother Tommy because he was such a great person that everyone loved.
    This song is not about about a drug dealer but about someone that everybody was always exited to see and loved to be with.
    We always jumped for joy when Tommy came home. This song came out not long after our brother was murdered in 1968.
    This song meant a lot to our family after losing the best big brother that we all had.
    From the heart of the USA, Kansas.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jul 14th 2012 report

    In my interpretation, this song is about a metaphorical savior. It could be loosely affiliated with drugs. When he says everyone's building big ships and boats and monuments, it sounds like it could relate to the Vietnam War. It may also be connected to the hectic-like society the '60s came to be. Everyone was looking for a savior, but none ever came.

  13. anonymous
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    Apr 12th 2012 report

    Its absolutely one of the first drug songs-many people have referenced the facts in the other feedback here. No artist came right out and admitted to what their drug songs where about-John Lennon claimed Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was about a picture his son drew. Yea, right.

  14. anonymous
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    Aug 25th 2011 report

    Bob had a friend named Quincy. I wont give his last name. He supplied bob with coke. Bob in tribute wrote this to him. The people in the song are in need of a "fix" for which Quinn has come to remedy. Its actually a heroin song though bob never dabbled.

  15. anonymous
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    Jul 13th 2011 report

    When jesus gets here, everybody's gonna want to doze....
    Meaning people will just be to lazy
    to accept jesus when he comes.

    Yes the song makes sense if it is about jesus

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  16. anonymous
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    Apr 1st 2010 report

    I do have the impression that this song is at least about drugs, and Quinn would then be the drug dealer,

    Everybody's in despair until Quinn the Eskimo Comes ? And after that everybody wants to relax ?

    Well that's my interpretation,

  17. anonymous
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    Sep 27th 2007 report

    In the 1960 movie "The Savage Innocents", Anthony Quinn played Inuk, an Eskimo. (It's on ABC television in the next day if you live in Australia - late at night.) This was shown on TV in 1967, and Bob saw it and was influenced enough by the character that a basement Tapes song resulted.

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