Song of the Day #1,154: ‘Just Like a Woman’ – Bob Dylan

Best Songwriters – #2 – Bob Dylan

Once again, no surprise to see today’s artist on this list — I did, after all, dedicate nearly a year to Bob Dylan Weekends. In fact, I’m guessing most of you assumed Dylan would land at the very top. So I guess that leaves a little suspense leading up to tomorrow.

I’m not going to attempt to sum up Dylan’s greatness in a single blog post. Countless blogs, magazines, books and movies have tackled that task over the 50 years he’s been recording and I don’t know if any of them have quite done the trick.

Put simply, he changed the face of popular music, and did it more than once. Dylan was one of the first singer-songwriters of the modern era and you’d have a hard time finding artists working today who don’t credit him as an inspiration of one sort of another. He brought poetry to rock-and-roll and proved that it could be not just critically but commercially successful.

Most remarkably, he’s put out game-changing albums in each of five different decades. Granted, the 80s were a rough patch, but even that period saw the release of Infidels, Oh Mercy and the classic song ‘Every Grain of Sand.’

Dylan put out two of his very best albums (Love and Theft and Modern Times) in the past ten years, and even at 70 years old with a voice that sounds about a century older, I don’t doubt that whatever he comes up with next will be just as exciting.

I discovered Bob Dylan when I was a lad of 14, just starting to explore my own musical tastes. I bought up all of his early albums on vinyl (at the Tower Records in Washington, D.C., now closed) and listened to them, eyes closed, thinking I was born in the wrong decade.

I soaked up the early protest songs, the electric infusion of Bringing it all Back Home, the cerebral rock of Highway 61 Revisited. Just as songwriters point to Dylan as an influence on how they shaped their own work, I can point to him as an influence on how I listened to and appreciated music for the rest of my life.

Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

Queen Mary, she’s my friend
Yes, I believe I’ll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can’t be blessed
Till she sees finally that she’s like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what’s worse
Is this pain in here
I can’t stay in here
Ain’t it clear that—

I just can’t fit
Yes, I believe it’s time for us to quit
When we meet again
Introduced as friends
Please don’t let on that you knew me when
I was hungry and it was your world
Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,154: ‘Just Like a Woman’ – Bob Dylan

  1. Amy says:

    Yes I’m surprised that he isn’t #1, and I am quite curious who will be (I have an idea, but I think that my guess would break some of your self-imposed rules…)

  2. Dana says:

    Dylan certainly deserves to be on the list, and it is no surprise he ranks so highly on your personal list given the influence he had upon you as you have indicated. I did not personally have that same type of spiritual experience with Dylan, although I do remember at an early age (maybe around 10) becoming fairly obsessed with the album Desire, owned and played by my sister.

    Some years later, I also fell in love with Blood on The Tracks, which remains my favorite of the albums I have heard from Dylan. But I never expanded to hear or own many other Dylan albums. Perhaps if I had, he would rank higher on my personal list, but the obsession I had for Costello’s music, which began with Imperial Bedroom, King of America and a sampling of songs from a number of other albums had me far more hooked. I get the criticism that Costello’s lyrics can be a bit too elusive or “cold,” but the lyrics are nevertheless intriguing, never trite or silly, and the musical diversity is something that even someone as great as Dylan could never match.

  3. pegclifton says:

    This is a lovely tribute to Dylan and I too am not surprised that he is so far up on your list. I had a dream about him the other night; and while I’ve forgotten most of it, I remember that he was spending the night here and I was so excited to tell you about it :) Well, it was just a dream, maybe I knew he was coming up on the blog.

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