Wallflowers – Sixth Avenue Heartache

Hard to believe this song peaked at #2 in the Billboard Alternative song chart 23 years ago in 1996. At first I thought well that is cool…it’s Bob Dylan’s son Jacob but then I realized I really liked the Wallflowers…Dylan’s son or not. I always thought he did it the right way by being in a band and not coming out at first as Jacob Dylan solo artist.

I went out and bought this album Bringing Down the Horse and their debut album. Bringing down the Horse peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album chart.

Mike Campbell played slide on the album and he said: “I really like the one guitar line in there, it was very George Harrison sounding and I was really proud of it when I got the sound in the studio, so I was glad they used it. The funny thing is, later, I ran into George. He had a real whimsical, cynical kind of thing – he looked at me and goes, ‘You know, I heard that record on the radio – you’re doing me now?’ He said it with a little chuckle.”

Lead singer Jakob Dylan wrote this in 1988 when he was only 18 years old. He considers it to be his first real song. Part of the song is about some time that Jakob spent in New York City and the things he witnessed.

From Songfacts

This was the first video and single released off of Bringing Down The Horse. It was originally written for The Wallflowers first CD, but the record company wouldn’t let them include it with the album.

Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar part. There is a connection here: Jakob’s dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also toured with Dylan in 1986, and Dylan helped write “Jammin’ Me.”

Producer T-Bone Burnett is the one who wanted Campbell to play on this. Campbell didn’t have time to come to the studio, so Burnett sent him the tape, which had some open tracks along with the basic rhythm track. Mike has a studio in his house, and one afternoon when he had a few hours to spare, he plugged in his guitar, came up with a few parts, doubled a couple of things, and got a sound he liked. He sent the tape back to Burnett, and the next thing he knew, Burnett called to tell him it came out really good, and the song was on the radio with his tracks. He never even met the guys in The Wallflowers.

The video was shot in New York City by David Fincher. Predominantly a movie director, Fincher has directed films such as Seven, The Game, Fight Club, and the third installment of Alien.

Pointing out how David Fincher came to direct the video, Jakob Dylan said: “You know, I don’t exactly remember how it happened. He just got a tape before the record was out. He got a preview of the record – an advance copy. He had heard that this was going to be the new single, and he actually called us and said he was interested in doing it, if we were interested. So we thought about it and we were like, what else have you done.”

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows provided backing vocals. Duritz and Dylan became friends in the early ’90s when Duritz was working as a bartender at The Viper Room in Los Angeles.

Sixth Avenue Heartache

Sirens ring, the shots ring out
A stranger cries screams out loud
I had my world strapped against my back
I held my hands, never knew how to act

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Below me was a homeless man
Singin’ songs I knew complete
On the steps alone, his guitar in hand
It’s fifty years, stood where he stands

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Now walkin’ home on those streets
The river winds move my feet
Subway steam, like silhouettes in dreams
They stood by me, just like moonbeams

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Look out the window, down upon that street
And gone like a midnight where was that man
But I see his six strings laid against that wall
And all his things, they all look so small
I got my fingers crossed on a shooting star
Just like me just moved on

And the same black line that was drawn on you
Was drawn on me
And now it’s drawn me in
6th Avenue heartache

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Wallflowers – Sixth Avenue Heartache”

  1. Good tune, good album. They really hit it big with their next single “One Headlight.” Jakob indeed probably was smart not playing up his name , but he’s said that nonetheless he’s a bit resentful that people still say things like “Oh you’re Jakob Dylan – I love your Dad’s music!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He is going to get that no matter what but I get where he is coming from… Julian Lennon should have started with a band…I think long term that would have been the best thing.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. That would be…
      I would like to see George’s son Dhani (who looks dead up like George) get together with the other Beatle kids who are musicians including Julian. Just once…
      Ringo’s son Zac plays for the Who and McCartneys son releases albums.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They did a lot…You wouldn’t believe the charting alternative songs they have but they are not played on the radio…
      You can hear Bob in him though


      1. That is good to know. I will have to dig.

        He, like Julian Lennon, sounds like his dad. But, there is a refinement to it or a polished quality to it or a slight pitch difference. IDK. Jakob could sing the telephone book to me. I’d tell Bob to hush. He and John could play cards in the corner while Jakob and Julian sing to me. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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