Like a Rolling Stone

"Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by Bob Dylan from his album Highway 61 Revisited. First issued in 1965, it represents in its length (6:09), style, and scoring, one of the most influential of Dylan's songs. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the greatest song of all time, declaring, "No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time". In his 1988 speech inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen remembered, "The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind".

Originally written in waltz time and later changed to 4-4, Dylan first recorded the song on June 15-16, 1965, in a pair of sessions produced by Tom Wilson; the musicians included Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Paul Griffin, and Bobby Gregg. Bloomfield, a blues guitarist, was specifically asked by Dylan not to play "any of that B.B. King blues shit". Kooper, nominally a guitarist, volunteered to play the organ. Producer Wilson was dubious about Kooper's abilities with the instrument but acquiesced and, according to Kooper, "that was the moment I became an organ player!". Over the two days, Dylan managed to complete only one take of the song out of nearly two dozen attempts - the version heard on Highway 61 Revisited.

"Like a Rolling Stone" was released as a 45 rpm single on July 20, 1965. Despite its length – twice the maximum preferred by radio at the time – it became Dylan's biggest hit to that date,[1] remaining in the U.S. charts for nearly three months and rising to #2 behind The Beatles' song "Help!".

Dylan gave the song its live debut at his legendary Newport Folk Festival appearance on July 25, 1965. Highway 61 Revisited was issued at the end of August, and when Dylan went on tour that fall, "Like a Rolling Stone" took the closing slot on his playlist and held it, with rare exceptions, through the end of his 1966 "world tour", as well as during his return to touring in 1974 with The Band.

The standard studio recording of the song is found on four official albums:

* Highway 61 Revisited
* Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
* Biograph
* The Essential Bob Dylan

Live performances of the song are included on:

* Self Portrait
* Before the Flood
* Bob Dylan at Budokan
* MTV Unplugged
* The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert
* The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (same recording as Live 1966 version)
* The Band's Rock of Ages

as well as on countless unofficially circulating field recordings.

An early, incomplete studio recording was included on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991; other studio outtakes were included on the Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM.

Below is a list of some notable artists who have covered "Like a Rolling Stone," along with its source album or live performance and year:

* The Four Seasons - The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits by Burt Bacharach/Hal David/Bob Dylan, 1965
* The Young Rascals - The Young Rascals, 1966
* Cher - The Sonny Side of Cher, 1967
* The Creation - We Are the Paintermen, 1967
* The Jimi Hendrix Experience - The Jimi Hendrix Experience, live at the Monterey Pop Festival, 1967
* Rotary Connection - Rotary Connection, 1967
* Spirit - Spirit of '76, 1975
* Neil Young - with Spirit in Santa Monica, California, August 29, 1976
* John Mellencamp - live during American tour, 1987-88; The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration, 1993
* Judy Collins - Judy Sings Dylan... Just Like a Woman, 1993
* Bob Marley and the Wailers - The Wailing Wailers at Studio One (the same as disc two of One Love at Studio One), 1994
* Mick Ronson - Heaven and Hull, with vocals by David Bowie, 1994
* The Rolling Stones - Str­ip­ped, 1995
* Michael Bolton - Timeless: The Classics, Vol. 2, 1999
* Phil Lesh and Friends - live in San Francisco, April 15, 1999
* Eiffel 65 - Eiffel 65, 2003
* Anberlin - Listen to Bob Dylan: A Tribute Album (compilation}, 2005
* Drive-By Truckers - Highway 61 Revisited, Revisited {compilation}, 2005

In other languages:

* Masato Tomobe - in Japanese
* Articolo 31 - in Italian (title: "Come una Pietra Scalciata")

Speculation about the song's unnamed subject has run continuously since its 1965 release; one common school of thought centers on Edie Sedgwick, an actress/model known for her association with Andy Warhol. Sedgwick is also often identified as a figure in other Dylan songs of the time, particularly "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat" from his album Blonde on Blonde. However, Dylan is widely believed only to have begun to associate with Sedgwick in the fall of 1965, after "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded. Joan Baez was considered another possible target of Dylan's words.

Others have claimed to see a deeper meaning. Mike Marqusee has written at length on the conflicts in Dylan's life at this time, with its deepening alienation from his old folk-revival audience and clear-cut leftist causes. He suggests that the song, which veers near misogyny, in its references to its presumed female recipient, is probably self-referential. Thus: "The song only attains full poignancy when one realises it is sung, at least in part, to the singer himself: he's the one 'with no direction home'". Martin Scorsese's recent movie about Dylan, No Direction Home, appears to show, in footage filmed backstage in 1966, that Dylan was deeply affected by his mixed audience reception at that time.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine declared "Like a Rolling Stone" the greatest song of all time, based on its poll of 172 music industry figures. When asked about the citation in his 2004 60 Minutes interview with Ed Bradley, Dylan himself seemed to find the matter bemusing, saying he never paid attention to such polls, as they changed from week to week:

Bradley: "But as a pat on the back, Bob..."
Dylan: "This week it is. But, you know, who's to say how long that's gonna last?"Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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