(probably) May 19: Bob Dylan Ballad of a Thin Man, 1966 (Video)

bob dylan 1966 - ballad OATM

You walk into the room
With your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked
And you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard
But you don’t understand
Just what you’ll say
When you get home

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

—-

Yeah, That’s a fantastic shot isn’t it? You know, that was a home-made lens, I made that lens. There was no lens like that then, it made marvelous distortions. I love it, the light would flare out.
~D.A. Pennebaker (from “Who threw the glass Magazine”)

Odeon
Glasgow, Scotland
19 May 1966

Musicians:

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & piano)
  • Robbie Robertson (electric guitar)
  • Garth Hudson (organ)
  • Rick Danko (bass)
  • Richard Manuel (piano)
  • Mickey Jones (drums)

You raise up your head
And you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says
“It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?”
And somebody else says, “Where what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God
Am I here all alone?”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, “How does it feel
To be such a freak?”
And you say, “Impossible”
As he hands you a bone

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

You have many contacts
Among the lumberjacks
To get you facts
When someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect
Anyway they already expect you
To just give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you
And then he kneels
He crosses himself
And then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice
He asks you how it feels
And he says, “Here is your throat back
Thanks for the loan”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word “NOW”
And you say, “For what reason?”
And he says, “How?”
And you say, “What does this mean?”
And he screams back, “You’re a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Well, you walk into the room
Like a camel and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket
And your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law
Against you comin’ around
You should be made
To wear earphones

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Check out:

-Egil

20 thoughts on “(probably) May 19: Bob Dylan Ballad of a Thin Man, 1966 (Video)”

  1. As far as I know this video is from Olympia, Paris on his 25th birthday, May 24. 1966. If this is wrong, then there is a video of Bob with the same suit and same song from Paris as well as Glasgow.

  2. I was at the Glasgow show with my sister and a friend in 1966. I would love to think that this clip came from it. Nothing else exists in audio or video from this show, as far as I am aware.

    If anyone has anything else, please post it!

    Also around the hotel, we have these:

    Film from jam in a hotel room:
    Hotel room
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cv7RJXveok

    Next morning – near clip of Bob leaving his

  3. The reason why none of the clues match up is because this is not a concert film. It is Pennebaker filming a rehearsal/tryout/special during daytime. There is too much light from the window and no audience shots (which Pennebaker liked to do). That why he refers to it as his little film, as ‘mixed up’ mentions above.

  4. Well…here is a fact I just discovered…on the back of the dvd
    No Direction Home it says under Special Features:
    “One Too Many Mornings”- Live in Liverpool,England: May 1, 1966
    according to the site Still On The Road he played Copenhagen at that date …
    And he played the Odeon theatre in Liverpool on May 14…according to
    the same site…so..go figure…who got it right…
    And the tiny bit of Ballad Of A Thin Man in the film shows Dylan wearing
    a dark turtleneck and some kind of jacket but in the clip here he wears the
    so-called ‘pied-de-cocque’ suit…

  5. Where it was or was not…is it important?
    What is important is the music….but one thing I do know is that the venue
    Kopenhagen burned down ..a few years ago I think…because when I first saw this footage several years ago I asked my Danish friend if she had been there…
    She said she had not but wished she had…that’s when she told me about
    the fire…

  6. egil

    i have spent many hours trying to track the locales of the various live performances which were included in ‘document’ and ‘no direction home’.

    a danish photographer – bjorn larson ask — took photographs at the press conference in copenhagne and also at the concert. one photo, with dylan standing at the piano, graced the back cover of ‘the telegraph’, issue 55.
    the piano stool evident there is not the same one as in the video.

    also: i purchased the video tape which (to my knowledge) included this video footage of ‘thin man’. the tape was a mixture of various musical items, of which this was the only dylan. it was described as ‘glasgow 1966’. not totally certifiable, of course, but very often things like this which come from otherwise uninformed dylan sources bear as much, or even more, authenticity than material emanating from the experts.
    the 1966 camera crew was most certainly in attendance for the glasgow shows, as there is further documented footage included in the two films.

    glen

  7. Too bad Levon Helm did not want to go on this tour…that is what I heard or read somewhere…but I did see and hear The Band in Amsterdam in 1971 and then he was there…but what I really like here is Garth Hudsons organ playing…

    1. Thanks for your feedback Glen,

      I was hoping somebody would comment on the date… I did some googling trying too gather “evidence” for the date & venue, but didn’t find much. The only suggestions I found was May 1 – Copenhagen. I wasn’t convinced, but today is May 1.. and the video is mindblowing! a good excuse for putting it out 🙂

      In C.P. Lee’s great book “Like The Night”, I found a quote from D.A. Pennebaker commenting on the lens he used… (page 193), but I havent found anything about the date & venue.

      Why is it “definitely not from Copenhagen” ?

      -Egil

      1. I have added some links at the bottom of my post.. the last one (Eat the document details) indicates May 1 – Copenhagen….

        -Egil

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