Word and music by Bob Dylan.
Note: Bowie changes some of Dylan's original lyrics and omits a verse in the version which was leaked to radio.
The air is getting hotter There's a rumbling in the skies I've been wading through the high muddy water With the heat rising through my eyes Every day your memory grows dimmer It doesn't hurt me like it did before I've been walking through the middle of nowhere Trying to get to heaven before they close the door Oh yeah People on the platforms Waiting for the trains I can hear their hearts a-beatin' Like pendulums swinging on a chain When you think you've lost everything You find out you can always lose a little more I'm just going down that road feeling bad Trying hard to get to heaven Before they close the door CHORUS (x4) Oooh, trying to get to heaven Before they close the door I'm going down the river Going down to New Orleans They tell me everything's gonna be all right But I don't know what "all right" even means I close my eyes and I wonder boys If everything is as hollow as it seems I been to Sugar Town and shook the sugar down Trying to get to heaven before they close the door Hey-hey! CHORUS (repeat ad inf.) Oooh, trying to get to heaven Before they close the door
"This song was tracked in between 'Earthling' and 'hours....' in early 1998, so it's not an outtake from either album session but a one-off. There were a couple of others done at the time, one of them being 'Fun'. We were also finishing up the mixing of what would become 'Live and Well' and these new bits were going to be bonus tracks, to my knowledge. I was psyched about it because it was a completely live track, and after all the programming we'd been doing it was a nice break in the cycle."
"As far as why it was chosen, hmm ..... beats me! I'd hazard a guess that David liked the song, and liked singing it. It was kind of like 'Planet of Dreams', it just sort of popped up from out of nowhere. Which was fine by me! Then, immediately after doing these sessions, I dropped out of the DB loop for over a year while I did other records, and they took a much needed rest after the Earthling tour. The next time I saw DB & RG they were knee-deep in 'hours....' and I had forgotten all about 'Trying' by then. I actually haven't heard it in a long time."
Thanks to Einar for asking this question and getting the response.