#AtoZ Dylan – “P” is for Positively 4th Street


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

 

Released as a single in 1965, “Positively 4th Street” is ranked #206 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. There’s been much debate about who the song is about. The odd thing about this song is the biting, harsh-as-anything lyrics juxtaposed with the music – that circus organ is so pop!

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

“Positively 4th Street” has been covered by Johnny Rivers, Bryan Ferry, and Jerry Garcia. It was difficult to find any version than can match Dylan’s original, but this A to Z series is about covers of Dylan songs, so here’s the band Simply Red in Sicily:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “O” is for On the Road Again


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

Recorded in January 1965, “On the Road Again” appears on the album Bringing it All Back Home. It’s slightly reminiscent of “Maggie’s Farm,” which is on the same album.

Click HERE for a link to this song’s lyrics.

Dylan has acknowledged being influenced by Jack Kerouac, and the title of this song is likely taken from Kerouac’s iconic On the Road.

Take a listen to Zachary Scot Johnson’s version of “On the Road Again” here:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “N” is for North Country Blues


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“North Country Blues” was released on Dylan’s album The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964. The song is about the demise of a mining town (no specific town, but it could be any of many).

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

Joan Baez covered the song in 1968. Here is a version by English folksinger Martin Simpson:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “M” is for Masters of War


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“Masters of War” was written over the winter of 1962–63 and released on Dylan’s album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in 1963. The song’s melody was adapted from the traditional song “Nottamun Town.” Dylan’s lyrics were a protest against the Cold War nuclear arms build-up of the early 1960s. (source: Wikipedia)

Click HERE for a link to the song’s lyrics.

In a 2001 interview, published in USA Today, Dylan said this about “Masters of War”:

“Masters of War”… is supposed to be a pacifist song against war. It’s not an anti-war song. It’s speaking against what Eisenhower was calling a military-industrial complex as he was making his exit from the presidency. That spirit was in the air, and I picked it up.

Here is Eddie Vedder’s version:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “L” is for Lay Lady Lay


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

Sometimes written with the commas (“Lay, Lady, Lay”) and sometimes without, “Lay Lady Lay” was released in 1969, on Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album. It was written for the movie Midnight Cowboy, but ended up not being included in the soundtrack.

Click HERE for a link to the lyrics.

Here is Jedd Hughes singing “Lay, Lady, Lay” at the Loveless Cafe:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “K” is for Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was written for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. 

Click HERE for a link to the lyrics.

It’s been covered by Eric Clapton and Guns N’ Roses, and by Warren Zevon in 2003, when he was suffering from lung cancer (Zevon died shortly after the album release). Here is a version by Avril Lavigne from 11 years ago:

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#AtoZ Dylan – “J” is for Just Like a Woman


“All I can do is be me, whoever that is.” ~ Bob Dylan

Dylan young

“Just Like a Woman” was included on Dylan’s album Blonde on Blonde (1966). Rolling Stone ranked it at #232 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. So, who was the song written about? <shrugs> Some speculate it was Edie Sedgwick and others say it was Joan Baez. It could be more than just one woman, and does it really matter?

Click HERE for a link to the lyrics.

“Just Like a Woman” has been covered by Stevie Nicks, Roberta Flack, even Nina Simone. Here is a version by the Old Crow Medicine Show, performed live at the Country Music Hall of Fame:

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