November 30: Bob Dylan recorded “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” in 1965

Jonathan Cott: Why have you been able to keep so in touch with your anger throughout the years, as
revealed in songs like Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? and Positively 4th Street?
Bob Dylan: Will power. With strength of will you can do anything. With will power you can
determine your destiny.
(from the Jonathan Cott interview Dec 1977)

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to


B-side “Highway 61 Revisited”
Released December 21, 1965
Format 7″
Recorded November 30 , 1965
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:32
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Johnston

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was a 1965 single by American rock artist Bob Dylan. It reached #58 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #17 on the UK chart in January 1966. Dylan is accompanied on the song by the musical group then known as The Hawks, who had backed the singer on his 1966 world tour and would subsequently go on to fame in their own right as The Band: Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ), and Levon Helm (drums).

Numerous takes of the song were recorded on July 30, 1965 during the sessions for the album Highway 61 Revisited with a band including Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Paul Griffin; one was mistakenly issued on a false pressing of the single Positively 4th Street that autumn.

The official single version, with the Hawks, is generally considered to have been recorded on November 30, 1965. 

The entire July 1965 and October/November 1965 recording sessions were released on the 18-disc Collector’s Edition of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966 in 2015, while highlights from the outtakes appeared on the 2-disc and 6-disc versions of that album.

  • Originally available as a single only, the song was eventually included on Dylan’s compilations Masterpieces (1978) and Biograph (1985), and on the Band’s box set A Musical History (2005).
  • An extended stereo mix of the original single version appeared on the limited Collector’s Edition of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966.
  • This song was included in the list of songs in Nick Hornby’s book 31 Songs, that was published in the U.S. as Songbook.


Original single versions

Studio A
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
30 November 1965

The 2nd Blonde On Blonde session, produced by Bob Johnston.

  • Bob Dylan (guitar, piano, harmonica)
  • Robbie Robertson (guitar)
  • Garth Hudson (organ)
  • Rick Danko (bass)
  • Richard Manuel (piano)
  • Paul Griffin (piano)
  • Bobby Gregg (drums)

The Hawks give their all on this single version, the wordplay is quintessential midperiod Dylan, and his vocal is a delight, but the song showed no obvious advance on an album’s worth of dispositions reflecting that ‘sadistic put-down game’ his sustained amphetamine habit was merely exacerbating. It failed to replicate the success of the previous two Dylan 45s, both of which went Top Ten Stateside.
-Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the Air: The Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973 (Songs of Bob Dylan Vol 1))


He sits in your room, his tomb, with a fist full of tacks
Preoccupied with his vengeance
Cursing the dead that can’t answer him back
I’m sure that he has no intentions
Of looking your way, unless it’s to say
That he needs you to test his inventions

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

He looks so truthful, is this how he feels
Trying to peel the moon and expose it
With his businesslike anger and his bloodhounds that kneel
If he needs a third eye he just grows it
He just needs you to talk or to hand him his chalk
Or pick it up after he throws it

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

Why does he look so righteous while your face is so changed
Are you frightened of the box you keep him in
While his genocide fools and his friends rearrange
Their religion of the little tin women
That backs up their views but your face is so bruised
Come on out the dark is beginning

Can you please crawl out your window?
Use your arms and legs it won’t ruin you
How can you say he will haunt you?
You can go back to him any time you want to

“Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was the cause of the fight between Bob Dylan and folksinger Phil Ochs. One evening, the composer had David Blue and Phil Ochs listen to his song. The first one liked it: “A good rock song,” he said. Ochs risked making a comment. “It’s OK, but it will never be a hit.” Dylan went into a rage. “What do ya mean, it’s not going to be a hit? You’re crazy, man. It’s a great song.” 2 Anthony Scaduto told the tale of what followed. At this point, a limousine arrived to drive them to a downtown club. They climbed aboard, but at the time when the driver was about to turn a few blocks before (Sixth Avenue), Dylan yelled at the driver, “Stop!” The car stopped and Dylan turned to Ochs to tell him, “Ochs, get out!” Ochs was white as a sheet. He couldn’t tell if Dylan was serious or joking. “Get out, Ochs!” Dylan repeated. “You’re not a folksinger. You’re just a journalist.” 2 The two songwriters did not see each other for nine years (until a concert in support of Chile in 1974). “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” was the first song that Bob Dylan recorded with the Hawks, the future Band.
-Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel. Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track

Take 1 (The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12)

Jimi Hendrix – Live Filmore East May 10, 1968:



2 thoughts on “November 30: Bob Dylan recorded “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” in 1965”

  1. This is from my in-progress book Shabtai Zisel benAvraham v’Rachel Riva: davening in the musematic dark

    There have been major chronological errors with the evolution of ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’
    ‘Freeze Out’ was re-recorded 30 November 1965, in 14 takes with The Hawks (minus Levon Helm). Some gossipographers repeat the mythicist concept they then recorded ‘Can You Please…’ on 30 November (again without Levon Helm). This never happened.

    Immediately after ‘Visions of Johanna’, the impromptu arranged recording session stopped. This is the chronology of ‘Can You Please Crawl Your Window?’:

    1) 30 July 1965, Studio A, NYC, CO 86844, ‘Look At Barry Run’

    PERSONNEL: Mike Bloomfield, Paul Griffin, Bobby Gregg, Russ Savakus, Harvey Goldstein, Al Kooper

    Takes 1-4, false starts = 1:41
    Take 1, complete = 4:37 (or 4:38)
    Take 2, false start = 0:36
    Take 3, complete = 4:10
    Take 4, false start = 0:26
    Take 5, complete = 4:09
    Take 6, rehearsal/false start = 1:02
    Take 7, false start = 0:27
    Take 8, false start = 0:43
    Take 9 = LOST
    Takes 10-11, false starts = 0:50
    Takes 12, breakdown = 3:48
    Take 13 = LOST
    Takes 14, breakdown = 1:06
    Take 15, breakdown = 2:49
    Take 16 = LOST
    Take 17, complete, accidentally released as A-side of Columbia ‘Positively 4th Street’ Columbia 4-43389 September 1965 = 4:01
    [THE CUTTING EDGE COLLECTOR’S EDITION (2015). Disc 6/6-19, Disc 8/19-20, Disc 10/4-12]

    2) September 1965, Woodstock, rehearsals for tour with The Hawks, 2 takes

    3) 1 October 1965, Carnegie Hall, live version with The Hawks

    4) 5 October 1965, Studio A, NYC, with The Hawks, CO 87184, ‘Crawl Out Your Window’

    PERSONNEL: Robbie Robertson (guitar), Garth Hudson (organ), Levon Helm (drums), Rick Danko (bass), Richard Manuel (piano)

    2 ‘takes’, incomplete (SONY calls them ‘fragments’), both CO 87184 (Job No. 98362, Reel No. 1C)
    1 = 0:57, false start
    2 = 1:21, false start rehearsal

    A separate tape box (?lost) contained these 5 October 1965 10 further takes, the final take subsequently used 30 November 1965 for mixing in both stereo and mono:

    Take 1, false start = 0:12
    Take 2, false start rehearsal = 1:15
    Take 3, false start = 0:15
    Take 4, false start rehearsal = 1:34
    Take 5 = LOST
    Take 6, complete = 3:48
    Take 7, breakdown = 0:43
    Take 8, complete = 3:49
    Take 9, false start = 0:14
    Take 10, complete = 3:57.

    On the stereo acetates 87184 is retained, and released as a 3:37 mono single 4-43477, first as a promo single for radio airplay (18, 21, 27 December 1965), then for general release January 1966 (in Europe, January-February). On The Cutting Edge 10/12 is the complete stereo Take 10 which was the basis for the mono single.

    On 30 November 1965 Studio A there was a remixing session of 5 October 1965, Job # 98616, ZSP 112316 (Mono Matrix #), CO 87184 given the new number of CO 88582. There is a 3:37 mono acetate and two stereo acetates (retaining CO 87184). One stereo acetate was manufactured by Capitol Magnetics, Winchester, Virginia, with typed text and no time; the other by Columbia Recording Studios, Nashville, with time and hand-written text written in red ink. This remixing session was not the 30 November 1965 recording session in Studio A, which began 2:30 p.m., and the acetates for ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window’ were not made for a Greatest Hits release.

    Roger Ford (2016C) mangles the events of 5 October 1965, derived from his reliance on SONY’s incomplete, often inaccurate studio logs, and his ignorance of the fact there was a remixing session early 30 November 1965. He fatuously rejects Levon Helm’s precise discussion of the single deriving from 5 October 1965, and the 5 October 1965 dating used by Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson are mistaken ‘memories of far-off events’. When I briefly met Levon Helm 3 January 1974, he was especially proud of his drum work on the released single.

    On the Columbia Contract File (page 28), the 30 November 1965 remixing title is given as ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’

    The Artist Contract Card clearly indicates the only recording done on 30 November 1965 was for the hastily arranged ‘Freeze Out’ session (less than 24 hours before their transcontinental flight). For his ‘Freeze Out’ work, ‘Robt Gregg’ was paid $2009.73. This Card was prepared in late December 1965, or early January 1966, and shows the scheduled release date of the single.

    5) 26 May 1966, London, Royal Albert Hall, sound-check with Richard Alderson: he performs two lines from ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?’. This was released 11 Novvember 2016 by Sony Music Entertainment as ‘Bob Dylan. The 1966 Live Recordings. The Untold Story Behind The Recordings’.


    All of this information is further verified by the personal archival records of Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson, as well as Levon Helm’s writings.

    The later audio misidentifications of personnel were made by Special Rider’s Diane Lapson. It is most unfortunate that Sean Wilentz (2007, 2010, 2015) repeats Diane Lapson’s audio misidentifications, which are refuted by the data here. In the 72 page book of sleeve notes (pp 71-72 are unnumbered) for The Cutting Edge, there is (pp. 60-70) a ‘Producers Note’ (presumably Jeff Rosen and Steve Berkowitz), page 65 replicating the misidentifications, guessing ‘Richard Manuel or Paul Griffin’ were on piano, and Bobby Gregg was on drums. The text states Take 10 was recorded 30 November 1965, and ‘Released as a single in October 1965’ (sic). Both presumptions are, of course, errors.
    STEPHAN PICKERING / חפץ ח”ם בן אברהם
    Torah אלילה Yehu’di Apikores / Philologia Kabbalistica Speculativa Researcher
    לחיות זמן רב ולשגשג…לעולם לא עוד

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