Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Our Princeton Newsletter

Did you know when Bob Dylan accepted an Honorary Degree, campus became flooded with flying insects? TRUE!

Well, that’s kind of how it happened ……

 

Every 17 years a special group of cicadas emerge from Princeton’s underground.  The last time they were here was 2004, where people tell grizzly tales of being covered by the bugs, having to walk the streets with an umbrella and, if the buzzing noise of the swarms didn’t freak you out, the crunching of the carcasses were sure to leave a mark.

 

a small insect on a branch

 

In 1970, Bob Dylan reluctantly agreed to receive an Honorary Degree.  It is sad that the sounds of the cicadas spurred his famous song, “The Day of the Locusts”.  Reading about Dylan’s opinion of the Ivy League experience is pretty funny but the photos are even better!:

a close up of a person

 

The lyrics of “Day of the Locusts” are pretty telling too:

Oh, the benches were stained with tears and perspiration
The birdies were flyin’ from tree to tree
There was little to say, there was no conversation
As I stepped to the stage to pick up my degree
And the locusts sang off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody
Oh, the locusts sang off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang and they were singin’ for me
I glanced into the chamber where the judges were talkin’
Darkness was everywhere, it smelled like a tomb
I was ready to leave, I was already walkin’
But the next time I looked, there was light in the room
And the locusts sang, yeah, it give me a chill
Oh, the locusts sang such a sweet melody
Oh, the locusts sang that high whining trill
Yeah, the locusts sang, and they were singin’ for me
Outside of the gates the trucks were unloadin’
The weather was hot, a nearly 90 degrees
The man standin’ next to me, his head was explodin’
Whoa, I was prayin’ the pieces wouldn’t fall on me
Yeah, and the locusts sang off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody
Oh, the locusts sang off in the distance
Now, the locusts sang and they were singin’ for me
I put down my robe, I picked up my diploma
Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did drive
Straight for the hills, the black hills of Dakota
Sure was glad to get out of there alive
And the locusts sang, whoa, it give me a chill
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody
And the locusts sang with that high whinin’ trill
Yeah, the locusts sang and they was singin’ for me
Singin’ for me, whoa, singin’ for me
Skip to toolbar