portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Of course . . . . . . how does it feel?

On this day in music history: July 20, 1965 - “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan is released. Written by Bob Dylan, it is the first single released from the landmark “Highway 61 Revisited” album. Dylan writes the song (starting off as a ten (or twenty) page poem before it is edited down) after returning home from a tour of England in June of 1965. The track is recorded over two days at Columbia’s Studio A in New York City on June 15 and 16, 1965. Initially written and demoed in ¾ time, Dylan abandons the original arrangement after attempting five takes, and searches for another way to express the song. Musician Al Kooper who plays Hammond Organ on the second session, is a key element in “Like A Rolling Stone” being changed to the rock arrangement, it becomes known for when he improvises the riff that runs through the song. Initially, producer Tom Wilson is not impressed by Kooper’s playing, but allows him to sit in when Paul Griffin is moved from organ to piano. The other musicians on the session include Paul Butterfield Band guitarist Mike Bloomfield, Frank Owens (piano), Joe Macho, Jr. (bass), Bruce Langhorne (tambourine) and Bobby Gregg (drums)  Written in a literal stream of consciousness, the lyrics are originally composed as Dylan refers to as “a long piece of vomit”, twenty pages long before paring it down. Eventually the lyrics are crafted into four verses and a chorus. The Columbia Records is initially very hesitant, to release the six minute long track as a single, but are forced to when it is leaked to several popular and influential DJ’s who lead the charge for its release. The record is revolutionary in rock & roll history, as being the first to shatter the “three minute rule” set by AM top 40 radio. “Like A Rolling Stone” peaks at #2 on the Hot 100 on September 4, 1965. The single is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.

No comments: