Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Question: Do you think there’s a move afoot to turn you into a pop star?
Dylan: They can’t turn me into anything. I just write my songs and that’s that! Nobody can change me and by the same token, they can’t change my songs. Of course I vary things once in a while, like with the different backing I had on Subterranean Homesick Blues. But that was entirely my own doing. Nobody talked me into it. Just so happened we had a lot of swinging cats on that track, real hip musicians.
~Bob Dylan (May 1965, UK)
Subterranean Homesick Blues. I mean… I don’t think I would have wanted to do it all by myself. I thought I’d get more power out of it, you know, with a small group in back of me. It
was electric, but doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s modernized just because it’s electric, you know? It was, you know, like a… Country music was electric, too.
Bob Dylan (Jeff Rosen Interviews, 2005)
If Dylan like Shakespeare is to be someday remembered for having created combinations of language that “age cannot wither,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” will be a shining example thereof.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist I: The Early Years 1960-1973)
Subterranean Homesick Blues” was electric all the way down to its obvious R & B roots. No traditional ballad provided this song with its underlying infrastructure. Acoustic or electric, it had been taken at quite a different clip from any folk ballad—or, indeed, the southern boogie Chuck Berry utilized when devising the template on April 16, 1956. And Dylan would be the last to deny Berry’s overt influence. As he told Hilburn recently, this first foray into folk-rock was “from Chuck Berry, a bit of ‘Too Much Monkey Business,’ and some of the scat songs of the forties.
~Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan, 1957-1973)
Subterranean Homesick Blues – video: