This Day In Music 24.05.2016
Dylan’s breakthrough song as a songwriter reads like a time capsule of early-’60s anxieties: the Cold War, civil rights and general annihilation are all covered in his 1962 song. It was released on his second album a year later; three months after that, President Kennedy was assassinated, giving ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ a whole new level of significance.
9- Visions of Johanna
The song is s a tour de force, a breakthrough not only for the writer but for the very possibilities of songwriting. Visions of Johanna is one of Blonde on Blonde”s sturdiest highlights, a cryptic seven-and-a-half-minute epic that comes damn near close to poetry at times. Dylan tested out several different versions of the song at varying speeds during the sessions, eventually settling on a subtle mid-tempo rock shuffle that puts the emphasis on the winding lyrics, just as it should be.
"I still sing that song every once in a while," Dylan said in 1985. "It still stands up now as it did then. Maybe even more in some kind of weird way." Greil Marcus, music journalist and critic, writes that the song is concerned with internal questions, rather than external ones; “Visions of Johanna is asking different sorts of questions. Such as: Where are you? Who are you? What are you doing here?" Evoking the drugged, urban milieu of the song, he said, “makes a narrative solely out of atmosphere”.
Several critics have acclaimed this song as one of Dylan's highest achievements in writing, praising the allusiveness and subtlety of the language olling Stone included "Visions of Johanna" on their list of the 500 Greatsest Songs Of All Time. Numerous artists have recorded cover versions including Grateful Dead and Marianne Faithfull.
8- Mr tamburine Man
original version of it on his 1965 album Bringin It All Back Home. The Byrds recorded a version that reached number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart, as well as being the title track of their first album, Mr tamburine Man. The song has a bright, expansive melody and has become famous in particular for its surrealistic imagery, influenced by artists as diverse as French poet Arthur Rimbaud and italian filmmaker Federico Fellini.
7 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).
"I don't know how I got to write those songs," Dylan said in 2004, apropos of "It's Alright, Ma." "Try to sit down and write something like that. I did it once, and I can do other things now. But I can't do that." In the past, about this song Dylan described the the difficulty of getting "in touch with the person you were when you wrote the songs ... but I can still sing it, and I'm glad I've written it."
6 The Times They Are A Changin
Dylan wrote the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the time, influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads.
Ever since its release the song has been very influential to people's views on society, with critics noting the general yet universal lyrics as contributing to the song's everlasting message of change. The song ever since has been an occasional staple in Dylan's concerts. It was ranking 59 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
5 All Along The Wachtower
Covered by numerous artists in various genres, "All Along the Watchtower" is strongly identified with the interpretation Jimi Hendrix recorded for Electric Ladyland with the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
he Hendrix version, released six months after Dylan's original recording, became a Top 20 single in 1968 and was ranked 47th Rolling Stone magazine 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. "He played [my songs] the way I would have done them "He played [my songs] the way I would have done them if I was him," Dylan later said of Hendrix.
4 Just Like A Woman
This song is more than a love song, is a complex portrait of adoration and disappointment, written as vengeance but sung as regret. Dylan never revealed a specific inspiration for the woman indicted. (Dylanologists often cite Andy Warhol's star-crossed protégée Edie Sedgwick.) But the song is more about his own turbulent lessons in romance — the giving, taking and leaving.
3- Desolation Row
It has been noted for its length (11:21) and surreal lyrics in which Dylan weaves characters from history, fiction, the Bible and his own invention into a series of vignettes that suggest entropy and urban chaos. It was located on a stretch of Eight Avenue, Manhattan, “an aerea infested with whore houses sleazy bars and porno supermarkets totally beyond renovation or redemption". Probably the inspiration and title of the song may have come from Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouak and Cannery Row by John Steinback.
2 A hard Rain Is Gonna Fall'
The greatest protest song by the greatest protest songwriter of his time: a seven-minute epic that warns against a coming apocalypse while cataloging horrific visions — gun-toting children, a tree dripping blood — with the wide-eyed fervor of John the Revelator. "Every line in it is actually the start of a whole song," Dylan said at that time. "But when I wrote it, I thought I wouldn't have enough time alive to write all those songs, so I put all I could into this one”. The threat of nuclear war was in the air at the time, But this rain was abstract rather than literal. "It's not the fallout rain," Dylan said. "I just mean some sort of end that's just gotta happen."
1 Like A Rolling Stone
During a difficult two-day preproduction, Dylan struggled to find the essence of the song, which was demoed without success in ¾ time.
A breakthrough was made when it was tried in a rock music format. Columbia Records was unhappy with both the song's length at over six minutes and its heavy electric sound, and was hesitant to release it. It was only when a month later a copy was leaked to a new popular music club and heard by influential DJs that the song was put out as a single. Although radio stations were reluctant to play such a long track, "Like a Rolling Stone" reached number two in the US Billboard charts (number one in Cashbox) and became a worldwide hit. Critics have described the track as revolutionary in its combination of different musical elements, the youthful, cynical sound of Dylan's voice, and the directness of the question "How does it feel?" "Like a Rolling Stone" transformed Dylan's image from folk singer to rock star, and is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. Rolling Stone magazine listed the song at number one in their "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
Cover photo for the article is comin' from Getty Images / Europress.