“License to Kill” is a “deep tracks”Bob Dylan tune from his album Infidels. I have always appreciated it, and in this day and age it is truer than ever (isn’t this the mark of a great lyric, that it continues to resonate?). Recently I got back into it, thanks to watching a rerun of Tom Petty performing it at the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary celebration concert from the early 90’s. Elvis Costello does an interesting take on the song on the Amnesty International  tribute album to Dylan. The great Richie Havens (RIP) takes ownership of it in a way that only he could.  Of course you should check out Dylan’s original studio version on Infidels, as well his concert performance on the album Real Live. For a slashing, rocked-up version, check out his 1984 David Letterman show performance.

Here’s my take, with lyrics and chords below the fold.

 

C                    Am                     G                C
 Man thinks 'cause he rules the earth | he can do with it as he please
        C            Am              G
 And if things don't change soon,| he will.
     F                    C                                   F
 Oh, man has invented his doom, | First step was touching the moon.
 

               Am /g F       Am /g F
 Now, there's a woman   on my block,
          Am /g    F                   Am /g  F
 She just sit there as the night grows still.
         C              G                  | C    Csus4 C
 She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, they take him and they teach him and they groom him for life
 And they set him on a path where he's bound to get ill,
 Then they bury him with stars,
 Sell his body like they do used cars.

Now, there's a woman on my block,
 She just sit there facin' the hill.
 She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, he's hell-bent for destruction, he's afraid and confused,
 And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill.
 All he believes are his eyes
 And his eyes, they just tell him lies.

But there's a woman on my block,
 Sitting there in a cold chill.
 She say who gonna take away his license to kill? 

            Am                         C
 Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker,| Heartbreaker, backbreaker,
 Dm               C
 Leave no stone unturned.
           Am               C 
 May be an actor in a plot, That might be all that you got
           Dm                G
 'Til your error you clearly learn.
 

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool
 And when he sees his reflection, he's fulfilled.
 Oh, man is opposed to fair play,
 He wants it all and he wants it his way.

Now, there's a woman on my block,
 She just sit there as the night grows still.
 She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

 

From <http://dylanchords.info/25_infidels/licence_to_kill.htm>
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