Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone (Audio)

Lyrics:

[Verse 1]
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People call, say “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all a’kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging your next meal

[Chorus 1]
How does it feel?
How does it feel?
To be without a home?
Like a complete unknown?
Like a rolling stone?

[Verse 2]
Aw, you’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But ya’ know ya’ only used to get juiced in it
Nobody’s ever taught ya’ how to live out on the street
And now you’re gonna have to get used to it
You say you never compromise
With the mystery tramp but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say, “Do you want to make a deal?”

[Chorus 2]
How does it feel?
How does it feel?
To be on your own
With no direction home
A complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

[Verse 3]
Aw, you never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you
Never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal?

[Chorus 3]
How does it feel?
How does it feel?
To hang out on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

[Verse 4]
Aw, princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re all drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchangin’ all precious gifts
But you’d better take your diamond ring, ya’ better pawn it, babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls ya’, ya’ can’t refuse
When ya’ ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose
You’re invisible now, ya’ got no secrets to conceal

[Chorus 2]
How does it feel?
Aw, how does it feel?
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Like a Rolling Stone” is a 1965 song by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Its confrontational lyrics originated in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England. Dylan distilled this draft into four verses and a chorus. “Like a Rolling Stone” was recorded a few weeks later as part of the sessions for the forthcoming album Highway 61 Revisited.

During a difficult two-day preproduction, Dylan struggled to find the essence of the song, which was demoed without success in 3/4 time. A breakthrough was made when it was tried in a rock music format, and rookie session musician Al Kooper improvised the organ riff for which the track is known. However, Columbia Records was unhappy with both the song’s length at over six minutes and its heavy electric sound, and was hesitant to release it. It was only when a month later a copy was leaked to a new popular music club and heard by influential DJs that the song was put out as a single. Although radio stations were reluctant to play such a long track, “Like a Rolling Stone” reached No. 2 in the US Billboardcharts (No. 1 in Cashbox) and became a worldwide hit.

Critics have described the track as revolutionary in its combination of different musical elements, the youthful, cynical sound of Dylan’s voice, and the directness of the question “How does it feel?” “Like a Rolling Stone” completed the transformation of Dylan’s image from folk singer to rock star, and is considered one of the most influential compositions in postwar popular music. According to review aggregator Acclaimed Music, “Like a Rolling Stone” is the statistically most acclaimed song of all time.[3] Rolling Stone magazine listed the song at No. 1 in their “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.[4] The song has been covered by numerous artists, from The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Rolling Stones to The Wailers and Green Day. At an auction in 2014, Dylan’s handwritten lyrics to the song fetched $2 million, a world record for a popular music manuscript.[5]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone

Writing and recording

In the spring of 1965, after returning from the tour of England documented in the film Dont Look Back, Dylan was unhappy with the public’s expectations of him, as well as the direction his career was taking, and seriously considered quitting the music business. In a 1966 Playboy interview, he described his dissatisfaction: “Last spring, I guess I was going to quit singing. I was very drained, and the way things were going, it was a very draggy situation … But ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ changed it all. I mean it was something that I myself could dig. It’s very tiring having other people tell you how much they dig you if you yourself don’t dig you.”[6]

The song grew out of an extended piece of verse. In 1966, Dylan described its genesis to journalist Jules Siegel:

It was ten pages long. It wasn’t called anything, just a rhythm thing on paper all about my steady hatred directed at some point that was honest. In the end it wasn’t hatred, it was telling someone something they didn’t know, telling them they were lucky. Revenge, that’s a better word. I had never thought of it as a song, until one day I was at the piano, and on the paper it was singing, “How does it feel?” in a slow motion pace, in the utmost of slow motion.[7]

During 1965, Dylan composed prose, poems, and songs by typing incessantly. Footage in Dont Look Back of Dylan in his suite at London’s Savoy Hotel captures this process. However, Dylan told two interviewers that “Like a Rolling Stone” began as a long piece of “vomit” (10 pages long according to one account, 20 according to another) that later acquired musical form.[8] Dylan has never publicly spoken of writing any other major composition in this way. In an interview with CBC radio in Montreal, Dylan called the creation of the song a “breakthrough”, explaining that it changed his perception of where he was going in his career. He said that he found himself writing “this long piece of vomit, 20 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 was what I should do … After writing that I wasn’t interested in writing a novel, or a play. I just had too much, I want to write songs.”[9]

From the extended version on paper, Dylan crafted four verses and the chorus in WoodstockNew York.[10] In 2014, when the handwritten lyrics were put up for auction, the four-page manuscript revealed that the full refrain of the chorus does not appear until the fourth page. A rejected third line, “like a dog without a bone” gives way to “now you’re unknown”. Earlier, Dylan had considered working the name Al Capone into the rhyme scheme, and he attempted to construct a rhyme scheme for “how does it feel?”, penciling in “it feels real”, “does it feel real”, “shut up and deal”, “get down and kneel” and “raw deal”.[11] The song was written on an upright piano in the key of A flat and was changed to C on the guitar in the recording studio.[12]

For the recording session, Dylan invited Mike Bloomfield from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to play lead guitar. Invited to Dylan’s Woodstock home for the weekend to learn new material, Bloomfield recalled, “The first thing I heard was ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. I figured he wanted blues, string bending, because that’s what I do. He said, ‘Hey, man, I don’t want any of that B.B. King stuff’. So, OK, I really fell apart. What the heck does he want? We messed around with the song. I played the way that he dug, and he said it was groovy.”[13]

The recording sessions were produced by Tom Wilson on June 15–16, 1965, in Studio A of Columbia Records, 799 Seventh Avenue, in New York City.[1][14][15] This would be the last song Wilson would produce for Dylan.[16] In addition to Bloomfield, the musicians enlisted were Paul Griffin on piano, Joe Macho, Jr. on bass, Bobby Gregg on drums, and Bruce Langhorne on tambourine,[15] all booked by Wilson. Gregg, Griffin, and Langhorne had previously worked with Dylan and Wilson on Bringing It All Back Home.[17]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone

In the first session, on June 15, five takes of the song were recorded in a markedly different style (3/4 waltz time, with Dylan on piano) from the eventual release. The lack of sheet music meant the song had to be played by ear. However, its essence was discovered in the course of the chaotic session. The musicians did not reach the first chorus until the fourth take, but after the following harmonica fill Dylan interrupted, saying, “My voice is gone, man. You wanna try it again?”[18] This take was subsequently released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.[18][19] The session ended shortly afterward.[20]

When the musicians reconvened the following day, June 16, Al Kooper joined the proceedings. Kooper, at that time a 21-year-old session guitarist,[21] was not originally supposed to play but was present in the studio as Wilson’s guest.[22] When Wilson stepped out, Kooper sat down with his guitar with the other musicians, hoping to take part in the recording session.[23] By the time Wilson returned, Kooper, who had been intimidated by Bloomfield’s guitar playing, was back in the control room. After a couple of rehearsal takes, Wilson moved Griffin from Hammond organ to piano.[23] Kooper approached Wilson and told him he had a good part for the organ. Wilson belittled Kooper’s organ skills but did not forbid him to play. As Kooper later put it, “He just sort of scoffed at me … He didn’t say ‘no’—so I went out there.” Wilson was surprised to see Kooper at the organ but allowed him to play on the track. When Dylan heard a playback of the song, he insisted that the organ be turned up in the mix, despite Wilson’s protestations that Kooper was “not an organ player.”[24]

There were 15 recorded takes on June 16.[25] By now the song had evolved into its familiar form, in 4/4 time with Dylan on electric guitar. After the fourth take—the master take that was released as a single[16]—Wilson happily commented, “That sounds good to me.”[26] Despite this, Dylan and the band recorded the song 11 more times.[27]

The complete recording sessions that produced “Like a Rolling Stone”, including all 20 takes and the individual “stems” that comprise the four-track master,[28] were released in November 2015 on the 6-disc and 18-disc versions of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966.[29]

Release

According to Shaun Considine, release coordinator for Columbia Records in 1965, “Like a Rolling Stone” was first relegated to the “graveyard of canceled releases” because of concerns from the sales and marketing departments over its unprecedented six-minute length and “raucous” rock sound. In the days following the rejection, Considine took a discarded acetate of the song to the New York club Arthur—a newly opened disco popular with celebrities and the media—and asked a DJ to play it.[1][30] At the crowd’s insistence, the demo was played repeatedly, until finally it wore out. The next morning, a disc jockey and a programming director from the city’s leading top 40 stations called Columbia and demanded copies.[1] Shortly afterward, on July 20, 1965, “Like a Rolling Stone” was released as a single with “Gates of Eden” as its B-side.[31][32][33]

Despite its length, the song is Dylan’s most commercially successful release,[16][34] remaining in the US charts for 12 weeks, where it reached number 2 behind The Beatles‘ “Help!“.[35][36] The promotional copies released to disc jockeys on July 15 had the first two verses and two refrains on one side of the disk, and the remainder of the song on the other. DJs wishing to play the entire song would simply flip the vinyl over.[37][38] While many radio stations were reluctant to play “Like a Rolling Stone” in its entirety, public demand eventually forced them to air it in full.[33][39] This helped the single reach its number 2 peak, several weeks after its release.[39] It was a Top 10 hit in other countries, including CanadaIreland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.[40][41][42][43]

Personnel

Themes

Unlike conventional chart hits of the time, “Like a Rolling Stone” featured lyrics that were interpreted as expressions of resentment rather than love.[44][45] Author Oliver Trager characterizes the lyrics as: “Dylan’s sneer at a woman who has fallen from grace and is reduced to fending for herself in a hostile, unfamiliar world.”[45] The song’s subject, “Miss Lonely,” previously opted for easy options in life—she attended the finest schools and enjoyed high-placed friends—but now that her situation has become difficult, it appears that she has no meaningful experiences to define her character.[45] The opening lines of the song establish the character’s former condition:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?[46]

And the first verse ends with lines that seemingly deride her current condition:

Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging your next meal[46]

Despite the obvious vitriol, the song’s narrator also seems to show compassion for Miss Lonely, and expresses joy for her in the freedom in losing everything.[44] Jann Wenner commented: “Everything has been stripped away. You’re on your own, you’re free now … You’re so helpless and now you’ve got nothing left. And you’re invisible—you’ve got no secrets—that’s so liberating. You’ve nothing to fear anymore.”[47] The final verse ends with the lines:

When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal[46]

The refrain seems to emphasize these themes:

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone[46]

Dylan biographer Robert Shelton gave this interpretation: “A song that seems to hail the dropout life for those who can take it segues into compassion for those who have dropped out of bourgeois surroundings. ‘Rolling Stone’ is about the loss of innocence and the harshness of experience. Myths, props, and old beliefs fall away to reveal a very taxing reality.”[10]

Dylan humorously commented on the song’s moral perspective at a press conference at KQED television studio on December 3, 1965. When a reporter, suggesting that the song adopted a harsh perspective on a girl, asked Dylan, “Are you hard on [people in your songs] because you want to torment them? Or to change their lives and make them know themselves?”, Dylan replied while laughing, “I want to needle them.”[48][49]

Commentators attempted to tie the characters in the song to specific people in Dylan’s personal life in 1965. In his book POPism: The Warhol ’60sAndy Warholrecalled that some people in his circle believed that “Like a Rolling Stone” contained hostile references to him; he was told, “Listen to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’—I think you’re the diplomat on the chrome horse, man.”[50] The reason behind Dylan’s alleged hostility to Warhol was supposedly Warhol’s treatment of actress and model Edie Sedgwick. It has been suggested that Sedgwick is the basis of the Miss Lonely character.[51] Sedgwick was briefly involved with Dylan in late 1965 and early 1966, around which time there was some discussion of the two making a movie together.[52] According to Warhol’s collaborator Paul Morrissey, Sedgwick may have been in love with Dylan, and was shocked when she found out that Dylan had secretly married Sara Lownds in November 1965.[52] However, in The Bob Dylan EncyclopediaMichael Gray argues that Sedgwick had no connection with “Like a Rolling Stone”, but states “there’s no doubt that the ghost of Edie Sedgwick hangs around Blonde on Blonde“.[53]

Greil Marcus alluded to a suggestion by art historian Thomas E. Crow that Dylan had written the song as a comment on Warhol’s scene:

I heard a lecture by Thomas Crow … about “Like a Rolling Stone” being about Edie Sedgwick within Andy Warhol’s circle, as something that Dylan saw from the outside, not being personally involved with either of them, but as something he saw and was scared by and saw disaster looming and wrote a song as a warning, and it was compelling.[54]

Joan BaezMarianne Faithfull and Bob Neuwirth have also been suggested as possible targets of Dylan’s scorn.[34][55][56] Dylan’s biographer Howard Sounes warned against reducing the song to the biography of one person, and suggested “it is more likely that the song was aimed generally at those [Dylan] perceived as being ‘phony'”. Sounes adds, “There is some irony in the fact that one of the most famous songs of the folk-rock era—an era associated primarily with ideals of peace and harmony—is one of vengeance.”[57]

Mike Marqusee has written at length on the conflicts in Dylan’s life during this time, with its deepening alienation from his old folk-revival audience and clear-cut leftist causes. He suggests that the song is probably self-referential: “The song only attains full poignancy when one realises it is sung, at least in part, to the singer himself: he’s the one ‘with no direction home.'”[58] Dylan himself has noted that, after his motorcycle accident in 1966, he realized that “when I used words like ‘he’ and ‘it’ and ‘they,’ and talking about other people, I was really talking about nobody but me.”[55]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone

Music video

In November 2013, 48 years after the release of the song, Dylan’s website released an official music video for “Like a Rolling Stone”.[59] Created by digital agency Interlude, the video is interactive, allowing viewers to use their keyboards to flip through 16 channels that imitate TV formats, including game shows, shopping networks and reality series. People on each channel appear to lip-sync the song’s lyrics. Video director Vania Heymann stated, “I’m using the medium of television to look back right at us — you’re flipping yourself to death with switching channels [in real life].”[60] The video contains an hour and 15 minutes worth of content in all [61] and features appearances from comedian Marc Maron, rapper Danny BrownThe Price Is Right host Drew CareySportsCenter anchor Steve Levy, Jonathan and Drew Scott of Property Brothers, and Pawn Stars cast members Rick Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell.[62] The video was released to publicize the release of a 35 album box set, Bob Dylan: The Complete Album Collection Vol. One, containing Dylan’s 35 official studio albums and 11 live albums.[59] The Guinness Book of World Records recorded it as the longest wait for an official music video.

Live performances

Dylan performed the song live for the first time within days of its release, when he appeared at the Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965 in Newport, Rhode Island.[63]Many of the audience’s folk enthusiasts objected to Dylan’s use of electric guitars, looking down on rock ‘n roll, as Bloomfield put it, as popular amongst “greasers, heads, dancers, people who got drunk and boogied.”[33] According to Dylan’s friend, music critic Paul Nelson, “The audience [was] booing and yelling ‘Get rid of the electric guitar'”, while Dylan and his backing musicians gave an uncertain rendition of their new single.[33]

Highway 61 Revisited was issued at the end of August 1965. When Dylan went on tour that fall he asked the future members of The Band to accompany him in performing the electric half of the concerts. “Like a Rolling Stone” took the closing slot on his setlist and held it, with rare exceptions, through the end of his 1966 “world tour.” On May 17, 1966, during the last leg of the tour, Dylan and his band performed at Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. Just before they started to play the track, an audience member yelled “Judas!”, apparently referring to Dylan’s supposed “betrayal” of folk music. Dylan responded, “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar!” With that, he turned to the band, ordering them to “play it fucking loud”.[63][a]

Since then, “Like a Rolling Stone” has remained a staple in Dylan’s concerts, often with revised arrangements.[64] It was included in his 1969 Isle of Wight show and in both his reunion tour with The Band in 1974 and the Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975–76. The song continued to be featured in other tours throughout the 1970s and 1980s.[64]

Live performances of the song are included on Self Portrait (recorded at the Isle of Wight, August 31, 1969), Before the Flood (recorded February 13, 1974), Bob Dylan at Budokan (recorded March 1, 1978), MTV Unplugged (recorded November 18, 1994), The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (recorded in Manchester, UK, May 17, 1966; same recording also available on The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack), The Band’s2001 reissue of Rock of Ages (recorded January 1, 1972),[65] and The Bootleg Series Vol. 13: Trouble No More 1979–1981 (Deluxe Edition) (recorded June 27, 1981). The July 1965 Newport performance of the song is included in Murray Lerner‘s film The Other Side of the Mirror, while a May 21, 1966 performance in Newcastle, England is featured in Martin Scorsese‘s documentary No Direction Home, along with footage of the above-mentioned May 17 heckling incident.

Besides appearing on Highway 61 Revisited, the song’s standard release can be found on the compilations Bob Dylan’s Greatest HitsBiographThe Best of Bob Dylan (1997), The Essential Bob DylanThe Best of Bob Dylan (2005), and Dylan. The mono version appears on The Original Mono Recordings. In addition, the early, incomplete studio recording in 3/4 time appears on The Bootleg Series Vol. 2.[19][66]

Image result for Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone

Legacy

The song’s sound has been described as revolutionary in its combination of electric guitar licks, organ chords, and Dylan’s voice, at once young and jeeringly cynical.[67] Critic Michael Gray described the track as “a chaotic amalgam of blues, impressionism, allegory, and an intense directness in the central chorus: ‘How does it feel'”.[67] The song had an enormous impact on popular culture and rock music. Its success made Dylan a pop icon, as Paul Williams notes:

Dylan had been famous, had been the center of attention, for a long time. But now the ante was being upped again. He’d become a pop star as well as a folk star … and was, even more than the Beatles, a public symbol of the vast cultural, political, generational changes taking place in the United States and Europe. He was perceived as, and in many ways functioned as, a leader.[68]

Paul Rothchild, producer of The Doors‘ first five albums, recalled the elation that an American musician had made a record that successfully challenged the primacy of the British Invasion groups. He said, “What I realized when I was sitting there is that one of US—one of the so-called Village hipsters—was making music that could compete with THEM—the Beatles, and the Stones, and the Dave Clark Five—without sacrificing any of the integrity of folk music or the power of rock’n’roll.”[69]

The song had a huge impact on Bruce Springsteen, who was 15 years old when he first heard it. Springsteen described the moment during his speech inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and also assessed the long-term significance of “Like a Rolling Stone”:

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’d kicked open the door to your mind … The way that Elvis freed your body, Dylan freed your mind, and showed us that because the music was physical did not mean it was anti-intellect. He had the vision and talent to make a pop song so that it contained the whole world. He invented a new way a pop singer could sound, broke through the limitations of what a recording could achieve, and he changed the face of rock’n’roll for ever and ever “[70][71]

Dylan’s contemporaries in 1965 were both startled and challenged by the single. Paul McCartney remembered going around to John Lennon‘s house in Weybridge to hear the song. According to McCartney, “It seemed to go on and on forever. It was just beautiful … He showed all of us that it was possible to go a little further.”[72]Frank Zappa had a more extreme reaction: “When I heard ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, I wanted to quit the music business, because I felt: ‘If this wins and it does what it’s supposed to do, I don’t need to do anything else …’ But it didn’t do anything. It sold but nobody responded to it in the way that they should have.”[72] Nearly forty years later, in 2003, Elvis Costello commented on the innovative quality of the single. “What a shocking thing to live in a world where there was Manfred Mann and the Supremes and Engelbert Humperdinck and here comes ‘Like a Rolling Stone'”.[73]

Although CBS tried to make the record more “radio friendly” by cutting it in half and spreading it over both sides of the vinyl, both Dylan and fans demanded that the full duration of the recording should be placed on one side and that radio stations play the song in its entirety.[74] The success of “Like a Rolling Stone” was influential in changing the music business convention regarding the length of singles, whereby they were restricted to durations of less than three minutes. In the words of Rolling Stone magazine, “No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time, for all time.”[75] Richard Austin, of Sotheby’s auction house, said: “Before the release of Like a Rolling Stone, music charts were overrun with short and sweet love songs, many clocking in at three minutes or less. By defying convention with six and a half minutes of dark, brooding poetry, Dylan rewrote the rules for pop music.”[76]

In 1966, Dylan told Ralph Gleason: “‘Rolling Stone’s the best song I wrote.”[77] In 2004, speaking to Robert Hilburn, Dylan still felt that the song had a special place in his work: “It’s like a ghost is writing a song like that, it gives you the song and it goes away. You don’t know what it means. Except that the ghost picked me to write the song.”[78]

More than 50 years since its release, “Like a Rolling Stone” remains highly regarded, as measured by polls of reviewers and fellow songwriters. A 2002 ranking by Uncut and a 2005 poll in Mojo both rated it as Dylan’s number one song.[79][80] As for his personal views on such polls, Dylan told Ed Bradley in a 2004 interview on 60 Minutes that he never pays attention to them, because they change frequently.[81] Dylan’s point was illustrated in the “100 Greatest Songs of All Time poll” by Mojo in 2000, which included two Dylan singles, but not “Like a Rolling Stone”. Five years later, the magazine named it his number one song.[80][82] Rolling Stone picked “Like a Rolling Stone” as the number two single of the past 25 years in 1989,[83] and then in 2004 placed the song at number one on its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[84] In 2010, Rolling Stone again placed “Like a Rolling Stone” at the top of their list of “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”.[4] In 2006, Pitchfork Media placed it at number 4 on their list of “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s”.[85]

On June 24, 2014, Sotheby’s sold Dylan’s original hand-written lyrics of “Like a Rolling Stone” at a New York auction devoted to rock memorabilia.[11][76] The lyrics were sold for $2 million, a record price for a popular music manuscript.[76][86][87]

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Accolades

ListPublisherRankYear of Publication
500 Greatest Songs of All TimeRolling Stone12010[4]
200 Greatest Songs of the 1960sPitchfork Media42006[85]
100 Greatest Rock SongsVH142000[88]
500 Songs That Shaped RockRock & Roll Hall of Fame1995[89]
The 100 Greatest Songs of All TimeConsequence of Sound32012[90]
The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever MadeDave Marsh71989[91]
The 40 Most Influential Records of the 20th CenturyGary Pig Gold1999[92]

Cover versions

Many artists have covered “Like a Rolling Stone”, including David Bowie (with Mick Ronson),[93] the Four Seasons,[94] Sixto Rodriguez,[95] The Young Rascals,[96] Judy Collins,[97] Johnny Winter,[98] Cher,[99] Anberlin,[100]Spirit,[101] Michael Bolton,[102] The Creation,[103] David Gilmour,[104] The Surfaris,[105] Al Stewart,[106] John Mellencamp,[107][108] The Wailers,[109][110] Green Day,[111] DIIV,[112] Sebastian Cabot,[113][114]Bachman & Cummings and the Rolling Stones.[115]

Guitarist Jimi Hendrix, performing with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, recorded a live version at the Monterey Pop Festival.[116] Hendrix was an avid fan of Bob Dylan, and especially liked “Like a Rolling Stone”. “It made me feel that I wasn’t the only one who’d ever felt so low …” Hendrix said.[117] Hendrix skipped the third verse. Hendrix played the electric guitar, and music critic Greil Marcus described the atmosphere of the Hendrix recording thus:

Huge chords ride over the beginning of each verse like rain clouds; the tune is taken very slowly, with Hendrix’s thick, street-talk drawl sounding nothing at all like Dylan’s Midwestern dust storm.”[118]

The song has also been covered in various languages. Hugues Aufray covered the song in French as “Comme des pierres qui roulent” (“Like Rolling Stones”) (Aufray Trans Dylan, 1995), Austrian Wolfgang Ambros included an Austrian-German dialect version “Allan Wia a Stan” on his 1978 LP Wie Im Schlaf which reached position 8 in the Austrian charts for 8 weeks,[119] German band BAP created a dialect of Cologne version “Wie ‘ne Stein” on its LP Vun drinne noh drusse and Lars Winnerbäckdid a performance of the song in Swedish titled “Som en hemlös själ”, literally “Like a Homeless Soul”.[120] Articolo 31 recorded an Italian version titled “Come una Pietra Scalciata” (literally, “Like a Kicked-off Stone”) for their 1998 album Nessuno.[121] Articolo 31’s version is a hip-hop song which contains overdubs of a confused girl’s voice, rapped parts and DJing. This version contains only three verses and is four and a half minutes long.[122]

Chart performance

Year-end charts

Chart (1965)Rank
US Billboard Hot 100[127]41
US Cash Box [128]38

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Mickey Jones—the drummer for that part of the tour—maintains that it was not Dylan who said to “play it fucking loud”, but most likely a member of their British road crew. Jones argues that in footage of the performance, the movement of Dylan’s lips does not match the utterance, and that the words were spoken in a British accent (see Jones, Mickey in Down in the Flood).

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References

Footnotes

  1. Jump up to:a b c d Considine, Shaun, “The Hit We Almost Missed”

    The New York Times, December 3, 2004

  2. Jump up^ Unterberger, Richie“Great Moments in Folk Rock: Lists of Aunthor Favorites”

    . www.richieunterberger.com. Retrieved 2011-01-26.

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  5. Jump up^ Blistein, Jon. “Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Lyrics Sell for $2 Million; Four-sheet draft includes scratched-out ideas, rhymes and doodles”

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  6. Jump up^ Hentoff, Nat. Playboy, March 1966, reprinted in Cott 2006, p. 97
  7. Jump up^ Siegel, Jules. “Well, What Have We Here?”, Saturday Evening Post, July 30, 1966, reprinted in McGregor 1972, p. 159
  8. Jump up^ Heylin, 2009, p. 240. Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin speculates that Dylan typed a long piece of “vomit” as “quite possibly a conscious imitation of Kerouac’s fabled ‘scroll’ version of On the Road.
  9. Jump up^ Dylan interviewed by Marvin Bronstein, CBC, Montreal, February 20, 1966. Quoted by Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 70
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  14. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 203
  15. Jump up to:a b Marcus & 2005 (2), p. 110
  16. Jump up to:a b c Gilliland 1969, show 32, track 3.
  17. Jump up^ Irwin 2008, pp. 62–68
  18. Jump up to:a b Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 234
  19. Jump up to:a b Marcus & 2005 (1), pp. 203–210
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  24. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), pp. 110–111
  25. Jump up^ Irwin 2008, p. 72
  26. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), pp. 211–225
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  30. Jump up^ Braunstein, Peter (March 5, 1997). “Disco”

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  33. Jump up to:a b c d Marcus & 2005 (3)
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  35. Jump up^ “Like A Rolling Stone”

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  36. Jump up^ Schlansky, Evan (May 18, 2009). “The 30 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs: #2, “Like A Rolling Stone””

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  37. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 3
  38. Jump up^ Irwin 2008, p. 78
  39. Jump up to:a b Irwin 2008, pp. 79–80
  40. Jump up to:a b “Top Singles – Volume 4, No. 1, August 31, 1965”

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  41. Jump up to:a b “Search the Charts”

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  42. Jump up to:a b “Bob Dylan – “Like a Rolling Stone””

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  43. Jump up to:a b “UK Top 40 Database”

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  44. Jump up to:a b Polizzotti 2006, p. 33
  45. Jump up to:a b c Trager 2004, pp. 378–379
  46. Jump up to:a b c d Dylan, B. (2004). Bob Dylan Lyrics 1962–2001. Simon & Schuster. pp. 167–168. ISBN 0-7432-2827-8.
  47. Jump up^ Polizzotti 2006, p. 35
  48. Jump up^ Cott 2006, p. 64
  49. Jump up^ Dylan, Bob (2006). Dylan Speaks: The Legendary 1965 Press Conference in San Francisco (DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment.
  50. Jump up^ Warhol 1980, p. 108
  51. Jump up^ “No Direction Home—the Life and Death of Edie Sedgwick”

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  52. Jump up to:a b Stein 1992, pp. 283–285
  53. Jump up^ Gray 2006, pp. 603–604
  54. Jump up^ Boylan, J. Gabriel (April 20, 2010). “The Q&A: Greil Marcus, Critic, Scholar”

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  55. Jump up to:a b Heylin 2009, p. 241
  56. Jump up^ Williamson 2006, pp. 226–227
  57. Jump up^ Sounes 2001, pp. 178–179
  58. Jump up^ Marqusee 2003, p. 157
  59. Jump up to:a b Edwards, Gavin (November 20, 2013). “Inside Bob Dylan’s Brilliant ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Video”

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  60. Jump up^ “Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Interactive Video Mimics TV Surfing”

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  61. Jump up^ Edwards, Gavin. “Inside Bob Dylan’s Brilliant ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Video”

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  62. Jump up^ “Now there’s an interactive channel-surfing video for Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone””

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  63. Jump up to:a b “Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone”

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  64. Jump up to:a b Trager 2004, p. 380
  65. Jump up^ “Like A Rolling Stone”

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  66. Jump up^ “Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone”

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  67. Jump up to:a b Gray 2006, p. 413
  68. Jump up^ Williams 1991, p. 155
  69. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), pp. 144–145
  70. Jump up^ Corliss, Richard (May 24, 2006). “Bob Dylan at 65”

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  71. Jump up^ Bauldie 1992, pp. 191–192
  72. Jump up to:a b Heylin 2003, p. 205
  73. Jump up^ Costello, Elvis (September 2003). “What I’ve Learned”. Esquire.
  74. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 145
  75. Jump up^ Rolling Stone, page 66, issue number 963, December 9, 2004
  76. Jump up to:a b c “Bob Dylan Like a Rolling Stone lyrics to go on sale”

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  77. Jump up^ “The Children’s Crusade” by Ralph Gleason, reprinted in McGregor 1972, p. 187
  78. Jump up^ Hilburn, Robert, “How To Write Songs and Influence People” (interview from 2004), Guitar World Acoustic, February 2006, quoted in Polizzotti 2006, pp. 32–33
  79. Jump up^ “Uncut – Top 40 Dylan Tracks”

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  80. Jump up to:a b “100 Greatest Dylan Songs”

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  81. Jump up^ “Dylan Looks Back”. 60 Minutes. December 5, 2004.
  82. Jump up^ “100 Greatest Songs of All Time”

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  83. Jump up^ “The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 years”

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  84. Jump up^ “The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”

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  85. Jump up to:a b “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s—Part Five: #20-1”

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  86. Jump up^ “Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone lyrics fetch $2m record”

    . BBC News. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2014.

  87. Jump up^ Dowling, Tim (June 25, 2014). “How does it feel – to own Bob Dylan’s original lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone?”

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  88. Jump up^ “VH1 – ‘100 Greatest Rock Songs'”

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  89. Jump up^ James Henke. “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – 500 Songs That Shaped Rock”

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  90. Jump up^ Mike Madden. “The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time”

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  91. Jump up^ Dave Marsh. “The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made”

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  92. Jump up^ Gary Pig Gold. “Gary Pig Gold’s Top 40 Most Influential (Pop) Records of the 20th Century!”

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  93. Jump up^ “Mick Ronson – Like A Rolling Stone (David Bowie vocal)”

     (Video upload). nbmike65 on YouTube. Google, Inc. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  94. Jump up^ “The 4 Seasons: Like a Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). hunchybunker on YouTube. Google, Inc. 1 February 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  95. Jump up^ “Rodriguez – Like a Rolling Stone, Live in Dublin 2012 [HD]”

     (Video upload). MrCatstail on YouTube. Google, Inc. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 12 September2014.

  96. Jump up^ “The Young Rascals”

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  97. Jump up^ “Judy Collins – Like A Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). JudyCollinsForever on YouTube. Google, Inc. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  98. Jump up^ “Johnny Winters – Like a Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). PoK3rJacK on YouTube. Google, Inc. 18 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  99. Jump up^ “Cher – Like A Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). BestCher96 on YouTube. Google, Inc. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  100. Jump up^ “Anberlin – Like A Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). Zer0small on YouTube. Google, Inc. 23 November 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  101. Jump up^ “Randy California [Spirit] Like a Rolling Stone”

     (Video upload). Mark Work. Google, Inc. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  102. Jump up^ “Like a Rolling Stone (Michael Bolton)”

     (Audio upload). rockev on YouTube. Google, Inc. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  103. Jump up^ “The Creation – Like A Rolling Stone”

     (Audio upload). Sergio Mod on YouTube. Google, Inc. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  104. Jump up^ “David Gilmour – Like A Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan Cover 1983)”

     (Audio upload). Floyd Channel on YouTube. Google, Inc. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.

  105. Jump up^ “The Surfaris”

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  106. Jump up^ “Al Stewart – The Stage Left Cafe / “Like a Rolling Stone””

     (Video upload). Milan Nikitovich on YouTube. Google, Inc. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 12 September2014.

  107. Jump up^ “John Part Of The Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Deluxe Edition Release”

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  108. Jump up^ Irwin 2008, p. 248
  109. Jump up^ Huey, Steve. “One Love (At Studio One) [Heartbeat]”

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  110. Jump up^ Greene, Jo-Anne. “The Wailing Wailers at Studio One, Vol. 2”

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  111. Jump up^ “Green Day Announces Breakdown Digital Bonus Tracks”

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  112. Jump up^ “Watch DIIV Perform “(Druun Pt. II)”, Cover “Like a Rolling Stone” at 285 Kent’s Final Show”

    . Pitchfork. February 3, 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2018.

  113. Jump up^ Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice; Preuss, Peter (23 April 2003). “MGM Album Discography, Part 9”

    . Both Sides Now Publications. Retrieved 24 October 2014.

  114. Jump up^ Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice (25 July 2004). “Rhino Album Discography, Part 2”

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  115. Jump up^ “Like a Rolling Stone – The Rolling Stones : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards”

    . AllMusic. 1995-11-14. Retrieved 2013-03-10.

  116. Jump up^ Unterberger, Richie. “Jimi Plays Monterey”

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  117. Jump up^ Lawrence 2005, p. 32
  118. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), p. 89
  119. Jump up^ “Wolfgang Ambros ‘Wie im Schlaf’ 1978 chart position”

    . Retrieved May 23,2010.

  120. Jump up^ Winnerbäck, Lars. “”Som en hemlös själ”, Text & musik: Bob Dylan (Like A Rolling Stone), Svensk text: Lars Winnerbäck”

     (PDF) (in Swedish). Winnerback, Sweden. Retrieved February 6, 2010.

  121. Jump up^ “Come Una Pietra Scalciata”

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  122. Jump up^ Marcus & 2005 (1), pp. 81–82
  123. Jump up^ “BOB DYLAN – LIKE A ROLLING STONE (NUMMER)”

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  124. Jump up^ “Chartverfolgung – Dylan, Bob”

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  125. Jump up^ “Bob Dylan Billboard singles”

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  126. Jump up^ “Cash Box Top Singles 1965”

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  127. Jump up^ “Top 100 Hits of 1965/Top 100 Songs of 1965”

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