Song of the Day #630: ‘The Man in Me’ – Bob Dylan

“Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place.”

Yes, I am in fact talking about The Dude, here. If anybody is qualified to steal the spotlight from Bob Dylan on a Dylan Weekend, it’s Jeffrey Lebowski.

Thanks to The Dude —and his creators, the Coen Brothers — the other best-known track on New Morning is ‘The Man in Me,’ which played over the opening credits of The Big Lebowski.

I love when filmmakers use obscure tracks from relatively obscure albums. You pick a hit and you’re basically allowing the song to define your movie. You pick a song like this and your movie can define the song.

That’s what the Coens did for this song and Kenny Roger’s ‘Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In)’ in The Big Lebowski. I don’t know that any serious film fan can ever hear either of those songs again without thinking of The Dude.

And God bless them for that.

The man in me will do nearly any task,
And as for compensation, there’s little he would ask.
Take a woman like you
To get through to the man in me.

Storm clouds are raging all around my door,
I think to myself I might not take it anymore.
Take a woman like your kind
To find the man in me.

But, oh, what a wonderful feeling
Just to know that you are near,
Sets my heart a-reeling
From my toes up to my ears.

The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen,
But that’s just because he doesn’t want to turn into some machine.
Took a woman like you
To get through to the man in me.

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #630: ‘The Man in Me’ – Bob Dylan

  1. dana says:

    I don’t remember this song from Big Lebowkski, but I do appreciate the idea of filmmakers using these obscure songs, particularly from well-known artists, to put a stamp on the movie.

    There have been a number of recent references to Lebowski in my life–my sister just saw it for the first time and loved it. Then it was used in Idolatry, and now here. I really need to see that movie again! Clearly, the Dude is calling me to do so!

  2. Amy says:

    I have watched certain scenes from Lebowski many, many times but I haven’t seen the entire film from beginning to end for years (and, then, only once). Still, I’m surprised this song isn’t ringing any bells. As I read your post, I immediately started hearing Roger’s song (though I must admit I never wondered who actually sang it the many times I’ve heard it, and I had no idea that it was Kenny Rogers – even though it’s immediately obvious once I read his name next to the song).

    That said, I certainly agree that it’s a brilliant and confident move by filmmakers to use songs such as these to help create the mood they want for their films. However, when the Coen brothers used the very well-known “Somebody to Love” in A Serious Man, I found it just as powerful and effective. Certain filmmakers are just so adept at integrating music into their films that they can make even the most popular song bend to the way they need it to be viewed (or listened to) in their movie. It’s the same reason why the Coen brothers often use little known character actors in their movies but can get fabulous performances out of the George Clooney’s of the world (and, really, why aren’t there more George Clooney’s in the world? 🙂

    A great filmmaker should be able to do both.

  3. Clay says:

    Good point about ‘Somebody to Love’.. it’s definitely an integral and indelible part of A Serious Man despite its popularity.

  4. rt.packard says:

    YOU STOLE MY NEXT IDEA! Haha. Not really, but I was totally going to mention “The Big Lebowski” when I wrote a post about Bob Dylan next Friday on my blog. I’m going to have to find a new song.

    I can’t believe your other commenters haven’t heard “The Man in Me” in that movie though. Those scenes…just…wow.

    For anybody missing out on the love, go to this link: http://vimeo.com/6595788
    That’s the VIMEO video of the absolutely epic opening scene from “The Big Lebowski”

    Speaking more in terms of the Dylan song itself — I always loved it. When I first saw “The Big Lebowski” I freaked out at the inclusion of “The Man in Me”. Seriously — you are absolutely correct: having such a relatively obscure song carry the movie made it much more personal on so many levels than using a mainstream or popular cut would have done.

    Keep up the good work on this awesome blog!

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