Recorded by Bob Dylan on Bob Dylan (1961)
Tabbed by Eyolf Østrem

Played in Open D/E tuning. The song is played in E, so either tune in open E or (recommended) in open D with a capo on the 2nd fret. The basic chords are:

E 000000
A 020120
B x02100


The most dominant riff that goes through the whole song, or rather: wherever there is an E chord, is (it is mainly played on the bass strings, but of course it doesn’t matter if more strings are sounding):

  :   .   .   .     :   .   .   .
|-0---------------|-------------------
|-0---------------|-------------------
|-0---------------|-------------------
|-0---------------|-3---0-5---0-3-----
|-0---------------|-3---0-5---0-3-----
|-0---------------|-3---0-5---0-3-----


The verses end with a different lick:

  :   .   .   .     :
|-----------------|--------
|-----------------|--------
|-----------------|--------
|-3---0-----------|--------
|---------3p0-----|--------
|-------------3---|-0------


There are other riffs, but they are all mainly variations on the same theme: open strings and strings stopped on the 3rd fret. One might even use one’s own imagination…

E
Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
A                                  E
Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
B
If I don't get the girl I'm loving
E
Won't go down to Highway 51 no more.

Well, I know that highway like I know my hand
Yes, I know that highway like I know the back of my hand
Running from up Wisconsin
way down to no man's land.

Well, if I should die before my time should come
And if I should die before my time should come
Won't you bury my body
out on the Highway 51.

Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
I said, Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
If I don't get the girl I'm loving
Won't go down to Highway 51 no more.