Top 100 singles of all time: 79 – Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues

I’ll admit it – I’ve never really got Bob Dylan. My friend, whose dad gave me that Tyrannosaurus Rex album, was a fan – or maybe he was, I can’t quite remember. I do recall looking up at pictures of Dylan through the vague blue haze of marijuana smoke that always hovered in that house. She was a Cure fan – I remember that most, drunkenly giggling along to Lovecats. I remember her fixing her makeup in the school toilets – she’d draw eyeliner inside the rims of her eyelids in black felt-tipped pen. That still makes me shudder. 

No, it was my sister who liked Bob Dylan first, though only in a casual way. Like I said, I never really got the appeal. He had a few good songs, but like most of the Ancient Gods of Rock, I’m as likely to worship Dylan as I am Apollo.

I’ll give him this one, though.

This is a great song.

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It’s weird, though – it makes no sense. I don’t just mean the lyrics, the song is all over the place. It’s only just over two minutes long and was Bob Dylan’s first hit. “It’s from Chuck Berry, a bit of Too Much Monkey Business and some of the scat songs of the 40s,” Bob Dylan told The LA Times in 2004. There’s a strong Jack Kerouac influence going on, too.

Probably more famous than the song is the promotional filmed insert (which is how they referred to music videos before MTV). It was the opening scene of DA Pennebaker’s Dont Look Back documentary, which followed Dylan’s 1965 UK tour.

Funny to think it’s nearly 50 years old. It’s still cooler than we’ll ever be.

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