Category Archives: Bob Dylan songs

Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Tweeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash
They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash
To an undercover cop who had a sister named Jan
For reasons unexplained she loved the Monkey Man

‘Tweeter & The Monkey Man’ was Tom Petty and Bob sitting in the kitchen, Jeff and I were there too, but they were talking about all this stuff which didn’t make sense to me – Americana kind of stuff. And we got a tape cassette and put it on and transcribed everything they were saying and wrote it down. And then Bob sort of changed it, anyway. That for me was just amazing to watch ’cause I had very little to do with writing that [song] at all – except Jeff and I remembered a little bit that [Bob] did that he’d forgotten – which became that chorus part. It was just fantastic watching him do it because . . . he had one take warming himself up and then he did it for real on take two. The rest of us had more time but Bob had to go on the road and we knew he couldn’t do any more vocals again, so we had to get his vocals immediately. And on take two he sang [it] right through, and then what he did was he changed some of the lyrics maybe in about four places he changed a couple of lines and improved them, and dropped these lines in and that’s it – just as it was done and written. And the way he writes the words down! Very tiny, like a spider’s written it . . . It’s just unbelievable seeing how he does it.
– George Harrison, to Roger Scott, 1989

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: ‘Cross The Green Mountain

I cross the Green Mountain
I sit by the stream
Heaven blazing in my head
I dreamed a monstrous dream
Something came up
Out of the sea
Swept through the land of
The rich and the free

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Tangled Up In Blue

This is a song that took ten years to live and ten years to write.
~Bob Dylan (Special Events Arena, El Paso, Texas – November 21, 1978)

I was trying to do something that I don’t know if I was prepared to do. I wanted to defy time, so that the story took place in the present and past at the same time. When you look at a painting, you can see any part of it or see all of it together. I wanted that song to be like a painting.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan, March 1985)

Joni Mitchell had an album out called Blue. And it affected me, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And it just stayed in my head and when I wrote that song I wondered, what’s that mean? And then I figured that it was just there, and I guess that’s what happened, y’know.
~Bob Dylan (to Craig McGregor, March 1978)

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Like A Rolling Stone

….would be Like A Rolling Stone because I wrote that after I’d quit. I’d literally quit singing and playing, and I found myself writing this song, this story, this long piece of vomit about twenty pages long, and out of it I took Like A Rolling Stone and made it as a single. And I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me that that was what I should do, you know. I mean, nobody had ever done that before.
~Bob Dylan (to Martin Bronstein – Feb 1966)

.. The sound is so rich the song never plays the same way twice
~Greil Marcus

The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind
~Bruce Springsteen (Jan 1988)

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Visions of Johanna

“The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place”
— from “Visions of Johanna”

In 1982 readers of ‘The Telegraph” voted ‘Visions of Johanna’ their “favourite Dylan Song” by a wide margin (‘Like A Rolling Stone’ & ‘It’s Alrght, Ma’ tied for second). Why? There is a depth in this song, an intimate bond created between the singer and the listener, that defies analysis & explanation
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist 1960-73)

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