Bob Dylan 6/15/22

t was 57 years ago today (June 15th, 1965) that Bob Dylan recorded “Like A Rolling Stone.” The song not only revolutionized the way lyrics were written and sung, but ultimately pushed the boundaries of how long a hit single could actually be. “Like A Rolling Stone,” which clocked in at 6:06, would end up being printed as 5:59 on the 45’s label in an effort to fool Top 40 disc jockeys into playing the single.

The session for the song began at 1:20 p.m. at Columbia Records studios in New York City, with Dylan performing the song on the piano as a waltz. By dawn the song had taken shape as one of the all time greatest rock n’ roll singles. Producer and friend Paul Rothchild remembered visiting the session in the early hours of June 16th in Bob Spitz‘ Bob Dylan: A Biography recalling that, “They told me they had played it 25 times before I got there. Dylan just sat in a chair with a smile plastered on his face and his leg going a mile-a-minute. He was grooving on the knowledge that he’d made a great record.”

Dylan recalled writing the song in the liner notes to his 1985 box set Biograph revealing that, “My wife and I lived in a little cabin in Woodstock, New York, which we rented. I wrote the song there. . . It just came, you know it started with that ‘La Bamba’ riff.”

The song’s title was inspired by Hank Williams‘ song “Lost Highway,” which contains the line, “I’m a rolling stone, I’m alone and lost.”

The song has long been rumored to be about the late model and former debutante Edie Sedgwick who was mainstay of Andy Warhol’s legendary Factory.

In August 1965 “Like A Rolling Stone” peaked at Number Two in the charts — his highest ranking single to date.

In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine voted “Like A Rolling Stone” Number One in its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs.”

Throughout the years, the song has been covered by the Rolling StonesJohn Mellencamp, the Rascals, the TurtlesDavid Bowie, and Judy Collins, among others.

Dylan himself has performed the song at most of his shows since 1965, often saving it for one of his encores.

Although Bob Dylan performs songs from every era of his career on a nightly basis, going back and listening to his work is a trip he’s avoided for some time: [“I very rarely listen to the records that I make. I mean, I’m fortunate that I have an audience. Y’know, I don’t know if I’d do it if I didn’t have an audience, though.”] SOUNDCUE (:08 OC: . . . an audience, though)

SIDE NOTES

The lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ 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 without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d 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 ask him 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 the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
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

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 the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you 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?

Copyright 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music