Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’

I like this song a lot and I was drawn to it right away when I listened to it on my copy of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits…but I cannot connect to it like the listeners did in 64-65. It was more than a pop song.

Dylan wrote this in 1963 when the civil rights movement was underway and demonstrations against the Vietnam War were gearing up. It would become the anthem of his generation.

Sometime songs can sum up the generation and time they are released in and this one is one of the very few that does it.

The song was on Bob Dylan’s 3rd album The Times They Are a-Changin’ released in 1964. The song wasn’t released as a single until 1965 and it peaked at #9 in the UK.

On December 10, 2010 Sotheby’s in New York sold a single rather worn sheet of binder paper on which Bob DylanOffsite Link wrote the original lyrics of his most famous song, The Times They Are A-ChanginOffsite Linkprobably in October 1963. This battered piece of paper with messy writing sold for $422,500.

Bob Dylan

https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=2750

The song was ranked number 59 on Rolling Stone‘s 2004 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Bob Dylan: “I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short, concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. This is definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to.” 

From Songfacts

A call to action, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” became an anthem for frustrated youth. It summed up the anti-establishment feelings of people who would later be known as hippies. Many of the lyrics are based on the Civil Rights movement in the US.

Dylan recorded this song in October 1963. He first performed the song at a Carnegie Hall concert on October 26 that year, using it as his opening number.

On November 22, 1963, United States president John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which made this song even more poignant. This also presented a quandary for Dylan, who had to decide if he would keep playing the song; he found it odd when audiences would erupt in applause after hearing it, and wondered exactly what they were clapping for.

Dylan kept the song in his sets. It was issued on the album of the same name on January 13, 1964.

Dylan covered the Carter Family Song “Wayworn Traveler,” writing his own words to the melody and named it “Paths Of Victory”. This recording is featured on “Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3”. After writing that song, he re-wrote the words again, changed the time signature to 3/4, and created this, one of his most famous songs ever.

This was released as a single in the UK in 1965 before Dylan went there to tour. It became his first hit in that territory, climbing to #9 on April 21. British listeners liked what they heard from Dylan and made a run on his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (released in 1963), sending it to #1 on April 11. This marked the first time in two years that an album by a group other that The Beatles or Rolling Stones was #1 in the UK.

Dylan allowed this to be used in commercials for accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand in the ’90s. In 1996, he also licensed it for commercial use by the Bank of Montreal. 

This song appears on the official soundtrack of the 2009 movie Watchmen. A cover of Dylan’s “Desolation Row” by My Chemical Romance also appears on the soundtrack. >>

Simon & Garfunkel covered this on their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., in 1964. They were produced at the time by Tom Wilson, who also produced Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ album.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Bob Dylan – Knocking On Heaven’s Door

This song is one of Bob Dylan’s best known songs. There has been many covers but I’ll take this one over all. I read a review Thursday of the soundtrack of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid by Bob Dylan written by Cincinnati Babyhead.

Dylan  wrote the lyrics of the song from the perspective of a dying sheriff living his last moments played by Slim Pickens. The song plays beautifully to that scene in the movie

Last night I decided to watch the movie again. It’s a great movie and if you get a chance… watch it. Dylan had a part in the movie as the character, Alias. Knocking On Heavens Door peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100, #14 in rhe UK, and #12 in Canada in 1973.

Booker T. Jones (musician on the album): “He [Dylan] lived over in Paradise Cove and I lived on Winding Way in Malibu. I bought Lana Turner’s old house and I’m not sure where he lived, but he had a house just across the road there and he would come over and pick up my guitar and work on songs and stuff. They were working on the movie with Jason Robards late one night, and for some reason [Dylan] just called me up and asked me to come over to the studio and to play on the song, and I played bass on it.”

The other musicians on “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” are:

Vocals, Guitar: Dylan
Guitar: Roger McGuinn
Drums: Jim Keltner
Harmonium: Carl Fortina
Flute: Gary Foster
Backup Vocals: Brenda Patterson, Carol Hunter, Donna Weiss

From Songfacts

Dylan wrote it for the 1973 Western film, Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. It plays while Sheriff Colin Baker is dying from his gunshot wounds. 

Guns N’ Roses covered this on their 1991 album, Use Your Illusion II. They played it in 1992 at a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, who had died of AIDS. 72,000 people attended the concert, which was held in London’s Wembley Stadium. In case you’re wondering, towards the end of the end of this version, the man on the telephone says, “You just better start sniffin your own rank subjugation Jack, ’cause it’s just you and your tattered libido, the bank and the mortician, forever man and it wouldn’t be luck if you could get out of life alive.”

In 1996, Bob Dylan allowed the Scottish musician Ted Christopher to record a new verse for “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” which Christopher had written in memory of the schoolchildren and teacher killed in the Dunblane massacre. This is one of the rare times Dylan has officially permitted someone to add to or change the lyrics to one of his songs. Christopher’s version reached #1 in the UK.

One of the few times Dylan authorized a sample was when he let the British singer Gabrielle use this song as the basis of her 1999 track “Rise,” which went to #1 in the UK. According to Gabrielle, Dylan not only allowed it, but waived some of the royalties he was entitled to.

Warren Zevon recorded this for his 2003 album The Wind. Zevon was dying of lung cancer when he recorded the track, and died shortly after the album was released.

This song has been covered in reggae style by multiple artists including G.T. Moore & The Reggae Guitars, Arthur Louis and Eric Clapton.

Other artists to have covered this song include Avril Lavigne, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Cold Chisel, Neil Young and Aretha Franklin.

The title of the song was used as the original title for the Cowboy Bebop movie. Cowboy Bebop is a popular Japanese Anime that made a big hit in America when the dubbed version (done in the late ’90s) was broadcast on Cartoon Network in 2001. Bebop was known for taking influences from pop culture (example: The title of episode 6 is “Sympathy for the Devil,” obviously a take off of the Rolling Stones Song). When a full length Bebop movie was made in Japan, it was titled Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. When it was dubbed and brought to theaters in America for a short time, they changed it to Cowboy Bebop: The Movie so Dylan wouldn’t take any legal action against them. 

This song is musically similar to Neil Young’s “Helpless,” which was recorded in 1969 and features on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album, Déjà Vu.

In October 2007, 1,730 guitarists in Shillong, India strummed this song for five minutes to set a world record for the largest ever guitar ensemble.

Knocking On Heavens Door

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Band – I Shall Be Released

There is a very solemn song with a religious hymnal feel to it. Richard Manuel sings this one with a slight mournful falsetto voice that is just pure as you can get. I Shall Be Released is not commercial, not meant to be a hit, sell a million copies, but just pure music at it’s best…there are no pretensions or gimmicks…this is the Band at one of it’s many peaks.

Bob Dylan wrote this in 1967 but it was not until 1971 on his Greatest Hits Vol. II album that his version was officially released. The Band, who backed up Dylan on his first electric tour, recorded it for Music From Big Pink, which was their first album. Their version is the most well-known.

Everyone under the sun has covered this song but the Band’s own rendition was released first and is probably the best known version.

The song was the B side to The Weight released in 1968. Music From The Big Ping peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 and #18 in Canada. That wasn’t the biggest thing though…the album helped change the landscape of popular music from the psychedelic harder rock to more earthy roots music.

From Songfacts

This song could be either an anti-death penalty composition or a metaphoric attempt by Dylan at looking forward to being released from Hell on Earth – possibly awaiting the “release” from the hell of being an innocent man wrongly imprisoned.

In Robert Shelton’s biography No Direction Home, he gives the song a different meaning. After Dylan’s motorcycle accident in 1966, when he was 25, he retreated from the spotlight. This was after he had suffered great disappointment at the reception his European and American tour dates brought. He’d been booed offstage, called a traitor, and attendance dropped at some of his concert dates. Dylan was seriously injured in the accident, and Shelton states that Dylan withdrew not only to recuperate, but to spend the time in self reflection, and with his family. He goes further, saying that the song represents Dylan’s search for personal salvation. 

This was featured in the 1987 Emmy-winning documentary Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. 

Other artists to record this song include Bette Midler, Nina Simone, and Joan Baez, who performed the song at Woodstock while pregnant with her son, Gabriel. The Band also performed it during their set at the festival.

I Shall Be Released

They say everything can be replaced
They say every distance is not near
So I remember every face
Of every man who put me here

I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall

I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Now, yonder stands a man in this lonely crowd
A man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shouting so loud
Just crying out that he was framed

I see my light come shining
From the west down to the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home…Desert Island Albums

This is my seventh-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. 

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 7- PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BOB DYLAN- BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME

he not busy being born
Is busy dying

I was a kid when I first heard a Bob Dylan song and it was Knocking On Heaven’s Door. I liked the song but didn’t think much else about it. Later I  heard about him while reading about the Beatles. This man was armed with words that caught everyone’s attention. The books would describe his voice as crude but effective with other adjectives thrown in the mix. I then bought his greatest hits.  I received that great Dylan poster with the album that had “ELVIS” formed in his hair…I thought what a cool guy.

Original Bob Dylan Poster Created by Milton Glaser – The Ross Art Group

I then purchased Bringing It All Back Home and I was a bigger fan. I loved his voice right away. He didn’t sing like McCartney, Lennon, Elvis, or anyone like that but it worked…his voice had soul and passion. I found out why a generation before me followed him like the Pied Piper…it all became clear. Whether you understood or agreed.. his voice and words meant something. Bob wasn’t a product.

It was Dylan who inspired the Beatles and it was The Beatles who inspired Dylan…they played off of each other and took popular music to new exciting places.

This album angered a lot of his fans. After being a folk singer armed with his acoustic and his bag of words…he blew people away. Then this album came out with electric instruments. That did not go down well with the folk fans. One side of the album was acoustic and the other side full of raw electric songs. Some of his fans would boo him at concerts as soon as the band backed him up on the rock section. That didn’t slow Bob down at all…he knew what he was doing was right and he would not yield to the boos or naysayers.

On top of all of this…the album was recorded in three days…three days (January 13,14, and 15 1965). That’s not enough time for most artists to get a decent outtake.

These songs…where do I start? Lets start with the opener Subterranean Homesick Blues and the line “You don’t need a weather man
to know which way the wind blows.” How many hippies have quoted that line? I learned this song by heart much like I did Tangled Up In Blue later on.

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) is a song that verse after verse amazes me. His voice in this song is perfect… almost like a preacher behind a pulpit. Bob sings about commercialism, hypocrisy, politics, and warmongering for starters. It’s wrong to pick out a lyric in this song without posting all of them but I will…”Made everything from toy guns that spark, To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark, It’s easy to see without looking too far, That not much is really sacred” I mean…holy hell…who comes up with that? It fits just right with today’s commercialism.

Love Minus Zero/No Limit is a over looked song by Bob that very well could be my favorite off of the album. This contains one of my favorite Dylan lyrics. “She knows there’s no success like failure, and that failure’s no success at all.” Lyricists would kill for lines like that…Dylan would make a habit of it. He helped raised the standards for songwriters. No longer would serious artists get away with simple rhyming lyrics.

She Belongs To Me took a while for me to get this one. For the longest time I skipped it on the album but then…one day it clicked. “She’s got everything she needs, She’s an artist, she don’t look back, She can take the dark out of nighttime
And paint the daytime black.” it has since become one of my favorites.

I’m not going to add more videos to the already full post but it was a coin toss on which ones to go over. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, Mr. Tambourine Man, Outlaw Blues, Gates of Eden, Maggie’s Farm…and all of them are worthy. Bob released three albums between March 22, 1965 and June 20, 1966. Those albums were Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisted, and Blonde on Blonde. Those alone would be a hall of fame career for any other artist but Bob was just getting warmed up.

This is my first non-band album on my island and I couldn’t have picked a better artist or album. Listening to Dylan never gets old because you continually find something new you didn’t hear before.

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
2. She Belongs To Me
3. Maggie’s Farm
4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
5. Outlaw Blues
6. On The Road Again
7. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream
8. Mr Tambourine Man
9. Gates Of Eden
10. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
11. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man

When I hear jangly Rickenbacker guitars I’m automatically happy … The Byrds influence everyone from Tom Petty to Cheap Trick to Big Star to new bands now. If I could go back to any era… it would be the mid-sixties. Much of the music we hear today has elements of this period.

Bob Dylan wrote “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which was originally released on his fifth album Bringing It All Back Home in early 1965. His version wasn’t released as a single, but when The Byrds released their cover later in 1965, it was a massive hit.

It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the UK, and #2 in Canada in 1965. topping the charts in both the US and UK. It’s the only song Dylan ever wrote that went to #1 in America.

Roger Mcguinn said he was trying for a vocal between John Lennon and Bob Dylan.

David Crosby: “He came to hear us in the studio when we were building The Byrds. After the word got out that we gonna do ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and we were probably gonna be good, he came there and he heard us playing his song electric, and you could see the gears grinding in his head. It was plain as day. It was like watching a slow-motion lightning bolt.”

From Songfacts

Dylan wrote this on a road trip he took with some friends from New York to San Francisco. They smoked lots of marijuana along the way, replenishing their stash at post offices where they had mailed pot along the way.

The Byrds version is based on Bob Dylan’s demo of the song that he recorded during sessions for his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan (Dylan’s version was not yet released when The Byrds recorded it). It was The Byrds manager Jim Dickson who brought in the demo and asked them to record it – the group refused at first because they thought it didn’t have any hit potential. When The Byrds did record it, they took some lyrics out and added a 12-string guitar lead.

Only three of the five members of the Byrds performed on this song: Roger McGuinn sang lead and played lead guitar; Gene Clark and David Crosby did the vocal harmonies.

Session musicians were brought in to play the other instruments, since the band was just starting out and wasn’t deemed good enough yet by their management. The session musicians who played on this song were the Los Angeles members of what came to be known as “The Wrecking Crew” when drummer Hal Blaine used that term in his 1990 book. This group of about 50 players ended up on many hit songs of the era.

The Byrds who didn’t play on this one were bass player Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke.

This was the Byrds’ first single. In a 1975 interview with Let It Rock, Roger McGuinn explained how the unrefined sound of this song came about. Said McGuinn: “To get that sound, that hit sound, that ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ sound, we just ran it through the electronics which were available to us at that time, which were mainly compression devices and tape delay, tape-sustain. That’s how we got it, by equalizing it properly and aiming at a specific frequency.

For stereo-buffs out there who noticed that ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ in stereo isn’t really stereo, by the way, that’s because when Terry Melcher, the producer, first started mixing records he didn’t know how to mix stereo, and so he made all the singles up to ‘Turn Turn Turn’ mono. The label is misrepresentative. See, when Columbia Records signed us, they didn’t know what they had. So they gave production to someone low on the totem-pole-which was Terry Melcher who was Doris Day’s son who was getting a token-job-in-the-mailroom sort of thing. They gave him the Byrds and the Byrds were supposed to flunk the test.”

This was inspired by a folk guitarist named Bruce Langhorne. As Dylan explained: “Bruce was playing with me on a bunch of early records. On one session, [producer] Tom Wilson had asked him to play tambourine. And he had this gigantic tambourine. It was, like, really big. It was as big as a wagon wheel. He was playing and this vision of him playing just stuck in my mind.”

Dylan never told Langhorne about it (Bruce had to read about it in the Biograph album liner notes, like the rest of us). He wrote the song and recorded a version with Rambling Jack Elliot that got to the Byrds (known as the Jet Set at the time) before it was ever put on a record.

Dylan claims that despite popular belief, this was not about drugs: “Drugs never played a part in that song… ‘disappearing through the smoke rings in my mind,’ that’s not drugs; drugs were never that big a thing with me. I could take ’em or leave ’em, never hung me up.” >>

This was the first of many Bob Dylan songs recorded by the Byrds. Others include: “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” and “Chimes of Freedom.”

The production style was based on The Beach Boys song “Don’t Worry Baby,” which was the suggestion of producer Terry Melcher. Bill Pitman, Leon Russell and Hal Blaine had all played on that Beach Boys song, so it wasn’t hard for them to re-create the sound on this track.

This was the first influential folk-rock song. All of the characteristics of that genre are present, including chorus harmonies, a rock rhythm section and lots of thought-provoking lyrics.

This was discussed in the 1995 movie, Dangerous Minds. In the movie, they talked about the underlying drug references this song might entail… Example: “Mr. Tambourine Man”=Drug Dealer; “Play a song for me”=give me a joint. The basis for this theory was that music was heavily censored at that time, so musicians would share their feelings about drugs and unallowed subject material through coded songs. >>

Although the Byrds didn’t write this or play most of the instruments, they would later write the song “Rock N’ Roll Star,” which made fun of The Monkees for not writing their own songs and not playing their own instruments. 

In the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers (Mike Myers) attempts to play the CD of this album on a record player. 

While many interpreted the song as a thinly veiled drugs record, McGuinn had other ideas. Having joined the Eastern cult religion Subud just 10 days prior to entering the studio, he saw the song as “a prayer of submission.” McGuinn told The Byrds’ biographer, Johnny Rogan, in 1997: “Underneath the lyrics to ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ regardless of what Dylan meant, I was turning it into a prayer. I was singing to God and I was saying that God was the Tambourine Man and I was saying to him, ‘Hey God, take me for a trip and I’ll follow you.'”

Chris Hillman admitted to Mojo that he’s never been a fan of The Byrds’ version. “Even though it opened the floodgates, I never liked that track,” he said. “I loved the song, but I never liked the track – it was too slick. I always wonder what would have happened if we cut it ourselves. But in a business sense Columbia were hedging their bets, because we were a pretty crude sounding band then.”

Bob Dylan didn’t make it to Woodstock, but four of his songs did, including “Mr. Tambourine Man,” which Melanie included in her set on the first day. Joan Baez and The Band both did “I Shall Be Released,” and Joe Cocker sang two Dylan songs: “Just Like A Woman” and “Dear Landlord.”

Roger McGuinn admitted to Uncut magazine he was petrified going into the studio to record “Mr. Tambourine Man.” “I was playing with the big boys, the Wrecking Crew. I was so nervous that Hal Blaine kept saying to me, ‘Settle down kid. Why don’t you go out and have a couple of beers?'”

 

Mr. Tamourine Man

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there ain’t no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning, I’ll come followin’ you

Take me for a trip upon your magic swirling ship
All my senses have been stripped
And my hands can’t feel to grip and my toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wandering

I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade
Cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there ain’t no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning, I’ll come followin’ you

 

Bob Dylan – Gotta Serve Somebody

This single won the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Male in 1979. Dylan performed the song at that same ceremony.

Slow Train Coming was Bob Dylan’s first release since becoming a born-again Christian. What a way to start it out…

I’ve always liked this song and this part of his career. It didn’t matter to me if it was a Christian song …it’s a good song.

The song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100 in 1979.

Much of the album thus deals with Dylan’s faith and Christian teachings. While some of his older fans were not happy…he did gain some new fans because of it.

This was one of three songs Dylan played when he was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 1979. It was the only time he appeared on the show.

You Gotta Serve Somebody

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock ‘n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

Still, you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone

A snare drum shot starts this song that helped shape the sixties.  In 2004 Rolling Stone named Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” the greatest song of all time. When Bob sings  “How Does it Feel?” you can feel the venom.

“Like a Rolling Stone” runs 6:13. It was a big breakthrough when the song got radio play and became a hit, as many stations refused to play songs much longer than 3 minutes. It was also rare for a song with so many lyrics to do well commercially.

The title was taken from the proverb “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Dylan got the idea from the 1949 Hank Williams song “Lost Highway,” which contains the line, “I’m a rolling stone, all alone and lost.”

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, and  #4 in the UK in 1965. The song was on the album Highway 61 Revisited that was released a few weeks after this single.

I like the studio version the best but I also like the “Judas” live version in 1966. Bob with The Hawks (later The Band) backing him fought boos and shouts through the tour. The world it seemed was upset at Dylan for going “electric” and having a band back him up. These are my favorite live Dylan performances…both versions are at the bottom of the post.

From Rolling Stone Magazine:

The music here is much more in that celestial mode, like it’s ether-borne, rather than anything originating from mind, guitar, bass, drum, organ, voice. The final showdown begins when someone in the audience, from out of the tension of the attendant silence, shouts, “Judas!” In the annals of heckling, that’s a pretty good one. Dylan responds with “I don’t believe you” – a nice little reference, too, to the earlier song. There is venom in his voice. “You’re a liar.” Another pause, before Dylan turns to his band and orders them to “Play fucking loud!” And goodness do they, right on command. Dylan puts his entire body into the “How does it feel?” line, like he is jumping straight down someone’s soul and punching the crap out of it. Then it is all over. Dylan says, “Thank you,” and “God Save the Queen” plays on the PA. Time to be rolling on. 

 

 

From Songfacts

This was the only song on the album produced by Tom Wilson, who produced Dylan’s second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Wilson had been a jazz producer and was brought in to replace John Hammond. Wilson invited keyboard player Al Kooper to the session, and Al produced the famous organ riff that drove the song. This was the last song Wilson worked on with Dylan, as Bob Johnston took over production duties.

Thanks to The Rolling Stones, many associate the phrase with a life of glamor, always on the move, but Williams’ song is about a hobo paying the price for his life of sin. Dylan also used the phrase to indicate loneliness and despair: his rolling stone is “without a home, like a complete unknown.”

Dylan based the lyrics on a short story he had written about a debutante who becomes a loner when she falls out of high society. The lyrics that made it into the song are only a small part of what was in the story.

Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman, who revolutionized the music manager profession and was known as a shrewd defender of his artists, was the one who told Columbia Records that they couldn’t shorten “Like a Rolling Stone” in order to make it more radio friendly.

Dylan recorded another version in 1970 for his Self Portrait album. This time, he used experienced session players in Nashville, Tennessee. Ron Cornelius played guitar on the album and told us about the session: “You’re not reading manuscripts. In Nashville the players are booked because of what they can create right now, not what’s written on a piece of paper. Everybody’s creating their part as the tape is rolling. Out of everybody I’ve worked with, I don’t know of anyone who’s been any nicer than Bob Dylan. He treated me wonderfully, but at the same time you knew being around him day after day that this man wakes up in a different world every morning. On a creative level that’s a really good thing and to try to second guess him or to ask him what he actually meant by these lyrics, you’re shooting in the dark because he’s not going to tell you anyway. And he might be telling you the truth when he says “I don’t know, what does it mean to you.'”

It is rumored that this was written about one-time debutante Edie Sedgwick, who was part of artist Andy Warhol’s crowd. She was the subject of an emotional tug-of-war between the Dylan camp and the Warhol camp.

According to this theory, the song includes some fanged, accusatory lines about Warhol and the way he mistreated the girl:

Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

“Poor Little Rich Girl” Sedgwick is viewed by many as the tragic victim of a long succession of abusive figures. After escaping home and heading to New York, she ran into Warhol, who soon began to use her as his starlet. When her 15 minutes had come to an end, Warhol moved on.

Sedgwick and Dylan had a brief affair shortly before the musician married Sarah Lownds, and many say that this Dylan song was written about her. It should be noted that there is absolutely nothing beyond circumstantial evidence to support this idea, but the myth is so widely known that it’s taken on a life of its own and is therefore recognizable on its own terms.

This made Bob Dylan an unlikely inspiration for Jimi Hendrix, who before hearing this considered himself only a guitarist and not a singer. After hearing this, he saw that it didn’t take a conventional voice to sing rock and roll.

Hendrix often played “Like A Rolling Stone,” including a performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix and Dylan met only once, but Jimi had a knack for bringing out the emotions in Dylan’s songs: he also did a very successful cover of “All Along The Watchtower.” 

The Rolling Stones didn’t take their name from this song, but rather the 1950 Muddy Waters track “Rollin’ Stone.” The magazine Rolling Stone was named after this song, with a degree of separation: Ralph Gleason wrote a piece for The American Scholar about the influence of music on young people called “Like a Rolling Stone,” which he titled after the song. When he founded the magazine with Jann Wenner in 1967, they decided to name it after his story. Wenner muddied the waters a bit when he wrote in the debut issue: “Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote. The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy’s song. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ was the title of Bob Dylan’s first rock and roll record.”

In the November 2004 issue, Rolling Stone Magazine named this #1 on their list of the greatest songs of all time. >>

Greil Marcus wrote a book of almost 300 pages about this song. The book was released in 2005 and is titled Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads.

Al Kooper, who was primarily a guitarist and went on to be a very successful music producer, played this organ on this song. If you listen very closely at the beginning of this song, you will notice that the organ is an 1/8th note behind everyone else. Kooper wasn’t an expert on the organ, but Dylan loved what he played and made sure it was turned up in the mix.

When we asked Kooper what stands out as his finest musical accomplishment, he told us: “By the amount of emails I receive and the press that I get it is undoubtedly the organ part on ‘Like A Rolling Stone.’ I kinda like the way Martin Scorcese edited my telling of that story in the documentary No Direction Home. For me, no one moment or event sticks out. I think reading my resumé every ten years or so, is my finest moment – certainly my most incredulous. I cannot believe I did all the stuff I did in one lifetime. One is forced to believe in luck and God.” (Check out our interview with Al Kooper.)

A line from this song provided the title of the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan called No Direction Home.

Jimi Hendrix’s performance of this song at Monterey is a classic. Hendrix had made a name for himself in Europe, but didn’t manage to make a dent in the US market until the fabled Summer of Love. It happened at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. All of a sudden, an artist who had struggled unsuccessfully for recognition in his own country became one of its future music legends.

Rolling Stone asked a panel of musicians, writers and academics to vote for Dylan’s greatest song in a poll to mark Dylan’s 70th birthday on May 24, 2011. This song came out on top, beating “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and “Tangled Up In Blue” into second and third places respectively.

 

Dylan’s original draft of the song’s lyrics were written on four sheets of headed note paper from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, DC. The quartet of handwritten pages fetched over $2 million at Sothebys New York in June 2014, setting a new price record for a popular music manuscript. The previous record was John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for the 1967 Beatles track “A Day In The Life,” which cost $1.2 million.

The Rolling Stones recorded this for their 1995 album Stripped. Stones guitarist Keith Richards explained: “We got over the built-in reticence. If he [Bob Dylan] had written ‘Like a Beatles,’ we probably would have done it straight away. We’ve been playing that song ever since Bob brought it out; it was like a dressing room favorite, a tuning room favorite. We know it really well. It was just a matter of screwing up the courage, really, to get over the feeling like we were riding on its back. We also realized that, hey, we took our name from a Muddy Waters album, a Muddy Waters song. Suddenly it didn’t feel awkward to play it.” 

An early manuscript of this song in the Dylan archives at the Center for American Research in Tulsa reveals some lyrics that were later changed or removed. Instead of “You used to laugh about,” it was “You used to make fun about.” Some lines that were excised:

You’ve studied all these great theories on life
And now you find out they don’t mean a thing
You’ve been blessed by counts these old friends claimed to love
Now they’re all ashamed of you

John Mellencamp performed this with Al Kooper at a Bob Dylan tribute concert held in Madison Square Garden on October 16, 1992.

Like A Rolling Stone

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you
People call say beware doll, you’re bound to fall
You thought they were all kidding you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

You’ve gone to the finest schools, alright Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
Nobody’s ever taught you how to live out on the street
And now you’re gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say do you want to make a deal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

You never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discovered that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

Princess on a steeple and all the pretty people
They’re all drinking, thinking that they’ve got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you better take your diamond ring, you better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you’ve got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone

 

 

 

Tom Petty – Jammin’ Me

I remember I had the album this was on…Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) and I was disappointed. I always liked this song though. The album did not live up to Southern Accents the previous album.

Although this is a 1980s song…Steve Jobs, Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, and Vanessa Redgrave are singled out…as well as events in the world…the idea behind it is more relevant today than 1987.

I’ve always thought this song was about information overload on our senses…being overwhelmed in the disinformation age…and this was 1987! How about now?

Mike Campbell, the guitarist for The Heartbreakers, wrote the music for this and gave Petty the demo. Tom held it for a while and didn’t do anything with it until one day when he was working with Bob Dylan. They came up with some lyrics by picking words out of a newspaper and off the television. Tom pulled out Mike’s demo, and they inserted those words over the track. The song is about the deluge of information and marketing messages that can prove overwhelming.

This song peaked at #18 in the Billboard 100, #41 in Canada, and #38 in New Zealand in 1987. It was written by Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Mike Campbell.

From Songfacts

Many of Petty’s songs start as demos written by Campbell. Mike also wrote the tracks for Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” and “The Heart Of The Matter,” and helped Petty produce this album. 

In 1986, the band toured with Bob Dylan in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, which led to Dylan’s contribution on this song. In 1988, Petty and Dylan played together in The Traveling Wilburys, a band whose other members were Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Roy Orbison.

In the lyrics, Petty mentions various places and events that were in the news and getting constant media exposure. Actors Vanessa Redgrave, Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy also show up.

Jammin’ Me

You got me in a corner
You got me against the wall
I got nowhere to go
I got nowhere to fall

Take back your insurance
Baby nothin’s guaranteed
Take back your acid rain
Baby let your T.V. bleed

You’re jammin’ me, you’re jammin’ me,
Quit jammin’ me
Baby you can keep me painted in a corner
You can look away, but it’s not over

Take back your angry slander
Take back your pension plan
Take back your ups and downs of your life
In raisin-land

Take back Vanessa Redgrave
Take back Joe Piscopo
Take back Eddie Murphy
Give ’em all some place to go

You’re jammin’ me, you’re jammin’ me
Quit jammin’ me
Baby you can keep me painted in a corner
You can walk away but it’s not over

Take back your Iranian torture
And the apple in young Steve’s eye
Yeah take back your losing streak
Check your front wheel drive

Take back Pasadena
Take back El Salvador
Take back that country club
They’re tr yin’ to build outside my door

Bob Dylan – A Simple Twist Of Fate

This song was on Blood On The Tracks, a brilliant album by Bob released in 1975. This wasn’t a hit but it was a great song. The album though was a hit…peaking at #1.

As with other Dylan songs, the words keep me in this one. I also like the way he sings it…he sings it like he has lived it. People tell me it’s a sin, To know and feel too much within, I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring, She was born in spring, but I was born too late, Blame it on a simple twist of fate.

This album was made when he was having trouble with his wife Sara. Dylan denies the album is about the two of them.

In Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of all time in the early 2000s, Blood on the Tracks came in at Number 16.

Jacob Dylan about Blood on the Tracks: ‘When I’m listening to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues,’ I’m grooving along just like you. But when I’m listening to Blood on the Tracks, that’s about my parents.’ 

From Songfacts

This song is from Blood on the Tracks, the 15th studio album by Bob Dylan, which made the album charts at #1 in the US and #4 in the UK. Blood on the Tracks is also legendary amongst Bob Dylan fans and critics, regarded as one of the high points of his career and standard against which future Bob Dylan albums were compared.

Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan has stated that the songs from Blood on the Tracks are “his parents talking.” Although Dylan denies that the album content is autobiographical, most of the lyrics have a confessional nature.

Covers of “Simple Twist of Fate” include Joan Baez (1975), The Jerry Garcia Band (1991), Concrete Blonde (1994), Sean Costello (2005), The Format (2005), Bryan Ferry (2007), Jeff Tweedy (2007), and Stephen Fretwell (2007). The Jeff Tweedy cover was also used on the soundtrack for the film I’m Not There .

A Simple Twist Of Fate

They sat together in the park
As the evening sky grew dark
She looked at him and he felt a spark
Tingle to his bones
‘Twas then he felt alone
And wished that he’d gone straight
And watched out for a simple twist of fate

They walked along by the old canal
A little confused, I remember well
And stopped into a strange hotel
With a neon burnin’ bright
He felt the heat of the night
Hit him like a freight train
Moving with a simple twist of fate

A saxophone someplace far-off played
As she was walkin’ on by the arcade
As the light bust through a beat-up shade
Where he was waking up
She dropped a coin into the cup
Of a blind man at the gate
And forgot about a simple twist of fate

He woke up, the room was bare
He didn’t see her anywhere
He told himself he didn’t care
Pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside
To which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate

He hears the ticking of the clocks
And walks along with a parrot that talks
Hunts her down by the waterfront docks
Where the sailors all come in
Maybe she’ll pick him out again
How long must he wait?
One more time, for a simple twist of fate

People tell me it’s a sin
To know and feel too much within
I still believe she was my twin
But I lost the ring
She was born in spring
But I was born too late
Blame it on a simple twist of fate

Bob Dylan – Rainy Day Women #12 And 35

I would say this is a little out of character for Bob. A very commercial song with laughter and what sounds like a drunken Salvation Army band.  With the popular sing-along chorus of “Everybody Must Get Stoned,” many people thought it was a drug song at the time. Dylan has denied it saying “I never have and never will write a drug song. I don’t know how to. It’s not a drug song, it’s just vulgar. I like all my songs. It’s just that things change all the time.”

Bob’s story was that while he was recording the song, two females happened to come into the studio to get out of heavy rain that was falling. As the story goes, Dylan correctly guessed their ages to be 12 and 35. I t was recorded in Nashville.

Whatever is true…it didn’t hurt it’s climbing up the charts. it peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, #13 in New Zealand and #7 in the UK in 1966. It was banned on some radio stations but that probably only made it more popular.

 

 

From Songfacts

With the line, “Everybody Must Get Stoned,” this song is often associated with smoking marijuana, although Dylan insists it isn’t, stating, “I have never and never will write a ‘drug song.'” It is more likely about trials of relationships with women, and Dylan has hinted that it could have a Biblical meaning. Answering a question about people interpreting this song to be about getting high, Dylan told Rolling Stone in 2012: “These are people that aren’t familiar with the Book of Acts.”

The Book of Acts is from the Gospel of Luke, and contains an account of a stoning: “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God… And when they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

In this story, Stephen received his sentence after giving a speech to authorities who were going to kill him no matter what he said. This relates to how Dylan felt about his critics, who were going to figuratively “stone” him no matter what he did. (More on the meaning of “stoned” in popular songs.)

A less official explanation: The song is about two women who came into the studio on a rainy day. Dylan apparently read an article about punishment for women in Islamic states – hence “Everybody must get stoned” because relationships are a trial and error thing. 

If you multiply 12 by 35, you get 420, a number commonly associated with smoking marijuana. 420 came about because five high school students in California could only smoke at 4:20 in the afternoon. This time was after school and before their parents came home, so it was a good time for them to get high. 

This was one of the few songs Dylan released that was a traditional hit record, reaching the Top 10 in both the US and UK, and spending a week at #2 in America behind “Monday Monday” by The Mamas & The Papas. Perhaps relishing the opportunity to turn a song that repeats “everybody must get stoned” into a radio hit, Dylan cut the song down to 2:26 for the single release. On the Blonde On Blonde album, where it is the first track, the song runs 4:33. The single cuts out two verses and some instrumental passages.

Many radio stations received a publication called the Gavin Report that discussed new songs, and this one was described as a “drug song.” Many stations refused to play it, but Dylan was so influential at the time that the song had no trouble getting plenty of airplay.

You can hear Dylan burst out laughing in this song. According to Down the Highway: the Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes, the musicians were having a lot of fun in the studio, passing around joints and swapping instruments as they kept the mood light and jovial.

This song was covered by The Black Crowes for the 1995 album Hempilation, a collection of songs about marijuana. 

Guitarist and bassist Charlie McCoy played the trumpet on this. He recalled to Uncut magazine March 2014: “(Producer, Bob) Johnston said,’Tonight he wants to do a song with a Salvation Army sound – we need a trumpet and trombone.’ I said, ‘Does the trumpet need to be good?’ He’s said, ‘no!’ I kept track: It took 40 hours to cut Blonde on Blonde.”

This was included on the soundtrack to the 1994 movie Forrest Gump.

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good,
They’ll stone ya just like they said they would.
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home.
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ ‘long the street.
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat.
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ on the floor.
They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ to the door.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

They’ll stone ya when you’re at the breakfast table.
They’ll stone ya when you are young and able.
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck.
They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say, “good luck.”
Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end.
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again.
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car.
They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar.
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone.
They’ll stone you when you are walking home.
They’ll stone you and then say you are brave.
They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave.
But I would not feel so all alone,
Everybody must get stoned.

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

I would never bet against Bob doing anything. When one of my friends told me at the time that Dylan released a Christmas album…I thought he was kidding. Nope…and I liked it when I heard it.

Must Be Santa” was written by Hal Moore and Bill Fredericks. The song was first released in 1960 by Mitch Miller. In 2009, Bob Dylan covered Brave Combo’s arrangement as part of his holiday album, Christmas in the Heart.

All of the profits from this album went towards Feeding America, Crisis and the World Food Program. In 2009, Dylan told Bill Flanagan that he had intended to make a Christmas record for sometime: “Yeah, every so often it has crossed my mind. The idea was first brought to me by Walter Yetnikoff, back when he was President of Columbia Records.”

Bob Dylan: “This version comes from a band called Brave Combo. Somebody sent their record to us for our radio show [Theme Time Radio Hour]. They’re a regional band out of Texas that takes regular songs and changes the way you think about them. You oughta hear their version of ‘Hey Jude.'”

From Songfacts

This song is reportedly based on a German drinking game, with the lyrics taking on a ‘call and answer’ structure: “Who’s got a beard/That’s long and white?/Santa’s got a beard/That’s long and white.” Dylan’s version intersperses the names of former US presidents into the list of Santa’s reindeers: “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen/Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.”

The official video for this was directed by Nash Edgerto and features Dylan singing in a gray wig in the midst of a rather raucous Christmas house party.

Even though Dylan is Jewish, he told Flanagan he never felt left out at Christmastime: “…it’s so worldwide and everybody can relate to it in their own kind of way.” Dylan added his ideal Christmas dinner would consist of “Mashed potatoes and gravy, roast turkey and collard greens, turnip greens, biscuit dressing, corn bread and cranberry sauce.”

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Who’s got a beard that’s long and white?
Santa’s got a beard that’s long and white
Who comes around on a special night?
Santa comes around on a special night

Special Night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who wears boots and a suit of red?
Santa wears boots and a suit of red

Who wears a long cap on his head?
Santa wears a long cap on his head

Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who’s got a big red cherry nose?
Santa’s got a big red cherry nose

Who laughs this way: “HO HO HO”?
Santa laughs this way: “HO HO HO”

HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Who very soon will come our way?
Santa very soon will come our way

Eight little reindeer pull his sleigh?
Santa’s little reindeer pull his sleigh

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen
Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that’s red
Special night, beard that’s white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus
Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

My Top 10 Favorite Live Albums

I’m more of a studio guy when it comes to listening to bands but there are a few live albums I really like. This is my top 10 and a few honorable mentions at the bottom. Very few artists can improve on the studio version but sometimes some manage to pull it off.

10. Led Zeppelin –  How the West Was Won – After the disappointing live album The Song Remains The Same, this album released in 2003 contained Led Zeppelin live in 1972 from two shows in top form.

How the West Was Won (Live) (3-CD)

9: Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park – This was big for me when it was released. I had by this time worn a groove out in their greatest hits. The band was great and their harmonies were as good as ever.

Image result for Simon And Garfunkel – The Concert In Central Park

8: George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh – Fun to listen to George freed from the Beatles and he sounds great with Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo, and other friends.

Image result for George Harrison – The Concert For Bangladesh

 

7: The Band: The Last Waltz – One of the best live albums ever. The Band’s last concert with Robbie with a host of talented famous friends. I still don’t get the Neil Diamond selection…nothing against Neil…he didn’t fit in with this atmosphere.

Image result for The Band: The Last Waltz album

6: The Allman Brothers Band “At Fillmore East” – This album floats up and down this list depending on my mood. It was at number 2 when I first made this list a couple of weeks ago. This band was probably one of the most talented bands in the seventies. I didn’t start heavily listening to them until around 5-10 years ago. They are better live than in the studio. There was not a weak link in this 6 piece band…especially in the Duane version but later incarnations were almost as strong.

At The Fillmore East (2LPs - 180GV)

5: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’ – I listened to this so much in the 80s that I knew the stories Bruce would tell by heart. Later when listening to the studio version of a song I would expect the story that went with it.

Image result for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ‘Live/1975-85’

4: Paul McCartney  Wings Over America – This triple album set was a live greatest hits. The songs had some edge to them thanks to Jimmy McCulloch the young prodigy guitar player.  Paul even broke his silence on the Beatles and included five Beatle songs. Blackbird, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Yesterday, The Long and Winding Road, and Lady Madonna. Unlike the other 3 albums ahead of this on in the list, Paul didn’t mess with the songs too much from the original studio recordings.

Wings over America

3: The Rolling Stones – ‘”Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” – This tour and the 1972  tour were the Stones at their live peak.

Image result for the rolling stones get yer ya-ya's out

2: Bob Dylan – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert – I have seen Dylan 8 times but if I could pick a tour to see him on…I would go back and this would be the one. With The Band backing him up…minus Levon Helm but Mickey Jones on drums is very powerful.

Image result for bob dylan 1966 royal albert hall concert

1: The Who – ‘Live at Leeds’ This album highlights The Who at their best. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rock band so tight. The power of the performance is huge. Pete Townshend told his soundman Bob Pridden to erase all other shows on this tour at the time…Bob did… much to Pete’s regret later on.

The Who - Live at Leeds By The Who

 

 

Honorable Mentions

Beatles Live At The Star-Club in Hamburg Germany – The quality of the recording is pretty bad but it’s exciting to hear the punkish Beatles before Beatlemania hit.

The Kinks – One For The Road

Neil Young & Crazy Horse –  Live Rust

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Band – Rock of Ages

Cheap Trick – At Budokan

Elvis (68 Comeback Special)

 

Traveling Wilburys – Congratulations

This will be it for this Wilbury Weekend…one more tomorrow.

Congratulations for breaking my heart, Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed, Congratulations for leaving me in need

This appeared on their first Album Vol 1. This was the B side of the single End of the Line. Dylan sings this song of despair.

There is not a song on either of their two original album that I don’t know by heart. This one was played a lot in my car…which I seemed to livein… going in between a girlfriend and friends.

 

Congratulations

Congratulations for breaking my heart
Congratulations for tearing it all apart
Congratulations, you finally did succeed
Congratulations for leaving me in need

This morning I looked out my window and found
A bluebird singing but there was no one around
At night I lay alone in my bed
With an image of you goin’ around in my head

Congratulations for bringing me down
Congratulations, now I’m sorrow bound
Congratulations, you got a good deal
Congratulations, how good you must feel

I guess I must have loved you more than I ever knew
My world is empty now ’cause it don’t have you
And if I had just one more chance to win your heart again
I would do things differently, but what’s the use to pretend?

Congratulations for making me wait
Congratulations, now it’s too late
Congratulations, you came out on top
Congratulations, you never did know when to stop

Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations
Congratulations

Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care

This was the hit that kicked the Wilburys project off the ground. George Harrsison and Jeff Lynne started the ball rolling… Initially an informal grouping with Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, they got together at Bob Dylan’s Santa Monica, California studio to quickly record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison’s song This Is Love. This was the song they came up with, which the record company immediately realized was too good to be released as a single B side. They also recorded “You Got It” at the session, which helped convince them to record an album together.

The song made it to #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs Chart in 1988.

The title Handle With Care came when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.

Tom Petty on Bob Dylan: “There’s nobody I’ve ever met who knows more about the craft of how to put a song together than he does. I learned so much from just watching him work. He has an artist’s mind and can find in a line the keyword and think how to embellish it to bring the line out. I had never written more words than I needed, but he tended to write lots and lots of verses, then he’ll say, this verse is better than that, or this line. Slowly this great picture emerges. He was very good in The Traveling Wilbury’s: when somebody had a line, he could make it a lot better in big ways.”

Handle With Care

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In daycare centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

Byrds – You Ain’t Going Nowhere

A great song by The Byrds that was written by Bob Dylan. The Byrds released this song in 1968 and it was on their classic album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Their version was released 3 years before Dylan commercially released a version of the song on his Greatest Hits Vol 2 album in 1971.

You Ain’t Going Nowhere peaked at #74 on the Billboard 100 in 1968. This country-rock song has been covered many times by different artists.

Dylan’s original Basement Tapes demo of this song contained the lyric “Pick up your money, pack up your tent”, which was mistakenly altered by McGuinn in the Byrds’ version to “Pack up your money, pick up your tent.” Dylan took note of this lyric change in his 1971 recording of the song, singing “Pack up your money, put up your tent McGuinn. You ain’t goin’ nowhere.” McGuinn said: “It was an honor to be in a Bob Dylan song! I got the words wrong and he changed all the words for his version of it. He and I have always been kind of like that. He likes to poke fun at me.”

From Songfacts

The likely influence on this song was Dylan’s 1967 motorcycle accident, which severely limited his mobility. The song was recorded in the basement of a house where members of The Band lived, and played with Dylan while he experimented with new sounds. The Basement Tapes album was not officially released until 1975, but the songs were circulated and this one drew the attention of The Byrds, who released it on their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo

The Byrds released “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” as the first single off the album peaking at #45 in the US and #74 in the UK. Guitarist and singer Roger McGuinn recalled to Uncut that their record label, Columbia Records (which was also Dylan’s record label), sent their producer Gary Usher some demos from Dylan’s Woodstock sessions. Among them were “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and “Nothing Was Delivered” (which the Byrds also recorded), 

Roger McGuinn said “I thought they sounded really good,” he said. “You didn’t know what Bob was up to; and far as I knew, he was just laid up from a motorcycle accident. But I think it was probably a reaction to the psychedelic thing. It just got to be too much and everybody wanted to back off.”

You Ain’t Going Nowhere

Clouds so swift
Rain won’t lift
Gate won’t close
Railings froze
Get your mind off wintertime
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chairI don’t care
How many letters they send
Morning came and morning went
Pack up your money
Pick up your tent
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chairBuy me a flute
And a gun that shoots
Tailgates and substitutes
Strap yourself
To a tree with roots
You ain’t goin nowhere
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair

Now Genghis Kahn
He could not keep
All his kings
Supplied with sleep
We’ll climb that hill no matter how steep
When we get up to it
Whoo-ee ride me high
Tomorrow’s the day
My bride’s gonna come
Oh, Oh are we gonna fly
Down in the easy chair