Tuesday, July 15, 2014

When It Nearly 'Gathered Moss'

Forty-nine years ago today, Columbia released Bob Dylan's single "Like a Rolling Stone" (which I soon bought and wore out) and the rest is history--Dylan became a mega-star and the song was picked ten years ago as the greatest single ever, by Rolling Stone,  beating out "Satisfaction," released just a month before in 1965.  The promo copies for the six-minute single released to radio stations on this date held the first two verses and refrain on one side, the final two on the other--that's how revolutionary the song was. 

But the single nearly did not happen!  A guy who played key role wrote a piece about it in 1964 after it got that Rolling Stone honor.   I just gave it a re-read and it's great.  I forgot the details--that Columbia rejected the song, and this guy got an acetate and got it played at the hot disco Arthur.  Folks went nuts, forcing Columbia to release it....Then, what happened live after he was called "Judas."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"He started in to dealing in slaves and something inside of him died." -from Tangled Up in Blue

Beginning in 1964 with Another Side of Bob Dylan if not before, Dylan sold out to corporate media. Some observers have said he became something of a mobster as well as a Zionist. Sad, very sad, and quite disappointing, really, given his early progressive views and talent for meaningful social commentary in song. His enthusiastic promotion of drug subculture idiocy and gangsterism was inexcusable, understandable only in the context of wholesale exploitation and profiteering by record company executives who enriched themselves and their "stars" (those who didn't die of overdose or burn out) by preying on the idealism and naivete of young people who wanted to create a better world but were all too susceptible to the industry's cynical and relentless glamorization and glorification of drug use and abuse in the name of "art" and the quest for personal freedom.

Only God knows how many who idolized Dylan fell into addiction, disease, criminality, and death in the chasm between "Blowin in the Wind" and "Down in the Flood", the gulf between "Masters of War" and "Tangled Up in Blue", the abyss between "The Times They are a Changin" and "Joey," a musical tribute to a gangster, mob enforcer, and hit man who initiated one of the bloodiest mob conflicts since the 1930s and was murdered for it.

Today, big media corporations peddle hideously violent, socially destabilizing media content to children in the form of first-person-shooter video games that incite mass murder and contribute directly to the nation's continuing epidemic of school shootings, which makes the 60s and 70s seem rather tame by comparison. Same industry, new players, new technologies, same greed, same utterly ruthless exploitation of naive and vulnerable young people.