"Tears of Rage" is a song written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel, the former writing the lyrics and the melody being provided by the latter.
The song was first recorded in rehearsal sessions at The Band's upstate New York residence, "Big Pink", in 1967, with Dylan on lead vocal and The Band backing him. This recording and those from the rest of the sessions would not be officially released for another eight years, on the 1975 album, The Basement Tapes, although they were widely bootlegged in the late 1960s and early '70s. It is considered one of the most widely acclaimed from The Basement Tapes.
The first official release of the song was as the first track on The Band's debut, 1968 album Music from Big Pink, without Dylan and featuring Manuel on lead vocal.
Andy Gill likens the song to King Lear's soliloquy on the blasted heath in Shakespeare's tragedy: "Wracked with bitterness and regret, its narrator reflects upon promises broken and truths ignored, on how greed has poisoned the well of best intentions, and how even daughters can deny their father's wishes." He suggests that Dylan is linking the anguish of Lear’s soliloquy to the divisions in American society apparent in 1967,...