Playlist: Bob Dylan by the numbers
“I said “Fee, fie, fo, fum, Cassius Clay, here I come
26, 27, 28, 29, I’m gonna make your face look just like mine
Five, four, three, two, one, Cassius Clay you’d better run
99, 100, 101, 102, your ma won’t even recognize you
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, gonna knock him clean right out of his spleen”
– Bob Dylan, I shall be free No.10
A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, and so forth. A notational symbol that represents a number is called a numeral. In addition to their use in counting and measuring, numerals are often used for labels (as with telephone numbers), for ordering (as with serial numbers), and for codes (as with ISBNs). In common usage, the term number may refer to a symbol, a word, or a mathematical abstraction.
Dylan has been fascinated by numbers all his career, he sometimes put them at the start or at the end of songs, sometimes even in the middle. A lot of his songs have numbers in their titles, I’ve tried to collect them all, tell me if there are songs missing…
…and I’ve tried to put them in ascending order!