Monday, April 21, 2014

When Dylan Met Donovan

Forty-nine years ago (ouch) next week, Bob Dylan toured England, the experience famously captured by D.A. Pennebaker for his groundbreaking doc, Don't Look Back.   Dylan had already recorded his first electric album but was touring acoustic and his real coming out at Newport was still a few weeks off.  He'd write "Like a Rolling Stone" a month later.  I'd catch him, live, with the Hawks, that November.

Anyway:  One of the most famous scenes in the movie relates to young folkie Donovan, who was getting a lot of press while Bob was there, and became a kind of running gag, with Bob tacking up his press clippings in hotel rooms and all that.  Finally, Donovan appears in Dylan's room at party, and sings a somewhat sappy song for Bob, who sarcastically exclaims, "Good song, man!"    Dylan then cruelly, you might say, debuts "It's All Over Baby Blue"--the two songs are not even on the same planet--while Donovan good-naturedly looks on, even as Bob laughs as he sings about "the vagabond who is rapping at your door / is standing in the clothes that you once wore."

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