Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan (1965)
It never ceases to amaze me that Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited was released just five months after Bringing it all Back Home. And to top that off, The Beatles released Help! and Rubber Soul in the four following months.
How amazing must it have been to be a music fan in the mid-60s? Not just every year but seemingly every month brought some new masterwork by a rotating cast of artists who were in the process of defining popular music.
Kids today get what? Justin Bieber and Katy Perry?
While half of Bringing it all Back Home was electric, Highway 61 Revisited exhibited no such split personality. This was a folk rock album with the emphasis on rock. From the opening notes of ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ it was clear that Dylan had flipped the musical apple cart.
‘Like a Rolling Stone’ is the most celebrated track on the album, but this record also features the classics ‘Desolation Row,’ ‘Queen Jane Approximately,’ ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and ‘Ballad of a Thin Man,’ as well as the title track and today’s SOTD. Every song is packed with vicious, clever wordplay and performed by a band on a mission.
I don’t know if Dylan ever sounded more focused or driven than he does on this album.
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill
Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will
Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?
Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across
Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost