About The Song

The origin of these lyrics was in a piece of verse Bob Dylan wrote in June 1965, after he had returned from an exhausting tour of England. He reworked it into four verses and a chorus of this song.

At first, this song made an unsuccessful demo in 3/4 time. Al Kooper, a session musician, helped Bob Dylan to finish it by improvising the organ riff.
Columbia Records wasn’t satisfied with both the song’s length (over six minutes) and its heavy electric sound. Only a month later they made a decision to release a single, after a copy had been leaked to a new popular music club and had been heard by influential DJs.
Despite the fact that radio stations were reluctant to play such a long track, “Like a Rolling Stone” reached number 2 on the US Billboard charts and became a hit throughout the world.


3 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone”
  1. Anyone with an appreciation of poetry was/is ‘hooked’ by this Lyric. Dylan’s precise enunciation sends the ‘communication’ effectively to be ‘received’, thereby qualifying as a ‘communication’, from the Latin root, ‘com’, meaning ‘with’.
    The hard rhyme and Structure thereof, ‘time, fine, dime, prime’ and then the Singer-Character’s question of the Love-Interest Character, ‘Didn’t you?’ Repeats in the next long Line, ‘call, doll, fall, all’ and ‘kiddin’ you’, has by that time piqued your interest. The ‘Hook Factor’ of Lyrical, poetic imagination enters the ears and must be processed by the listening mind. You are paying attention, wondering to know, wanting to know, where the Singer Character will go next.
    Remember the context of the times, the ‘mix’ of what our little amplitude modulation (AM) radios offered, when suddenly there was this.
    The Melody ‘Changes’ a bit at this point; Repetition and Change, supplying Structure the listener can follow, Change interrupting Monotony. (One tone).
    The four-Line Rhyme Scheme Repeats, ‘about, out, loud, proud,’ followed by the Pre-Chorus ‘Lift’, the vivid concept of the Lyric, ‘scrounging your next meal’, that Dylanesque sustained Note on ‘meal’, signaling arrival of the main idea, the Title Line.
    Check the timing; how long did it take the Singer-Character to get to that point of asking the Title question?
    Was it too soon? Too late? Or right on time?
    The Structure varies in succeeding Verses but continues vivid poetry, Hard Rhyme, Rhythm, Hook Factor in various forms, Lyrical, Melodic, concepts and characters, eves-dropping on the ‘conversation’ between two Characters, and leading back to the Chorus Repeat.
    Verse III, Verse IV, and the Hook-Factor elements continue to hold your attention.
    Radio likes short Songs; they leave more time for commercial advertising that pays the bills.
    But Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” was irresistable, to the Leadership Decision-Makers in the industry, and to the listeners ‘Hooked’ like fish, unable to look…or listen…away…unable to drift off to their own thoughts while the Singer-Character was ‘communicating’ with the Love-Interest Character, this ‘Miss Lonely’ and her pecadillos of lifestyle, in a time of lifestyle revolution, when millions of Citizens, worldwide, were questioning the old order of things and trying to figure out how to live by their own choices in a new world, a world where Leadership Decision-Makers in Government running a life-threatening war could reach and snatch an American teenager out of his ‘own’ life and make him live…and die…in theirs.
    Where females were ‘liberating’ themselves from the history of male domination, patriarchy, political marginalizing, religious dogma, to make choices of their own, even those going to the finest schools, and those getting juiced.
    Not all of it is political or revolutionary, but simply poetic, visionary, imaginative; and it worked, it Hooked, and it sold, and Dylan went on to enunciate to any and all who will listen.
    I had the experience of buying fifteen Dylan albums, listening to three each night, for five consecutive days. I got the depth and breadth of a great poet, born in the twentieth century, in a land called America, where freedom and innovation were tumultuous, exciting, inspiring. I raise my glass, to Robert Zimmerman, Bob Dylan, and music and poetry that are “Like A Rolling Stone”.

    1. Thank you Gary E. Andrew’s for sharing your thoughts, feelings and ideas of a so song so fundamental then, and that has endured the test of time. You friend, got it right.

  2. Probably one of the most prolific and accomplished song writers of this age. Truth be told..I never liked his voice timbre..It felt manufactured, sounded thin and unreal…sorry but 60 years of Dylan never attracted me. Yeah..I’m nuts but..

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