Like a Rolling Stone

20 Jul

That first drum shot is what seals it. “The first time I heard Bob Dylan,” Bruce Springsteen said in 1989, inducting Dylan into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, “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.”

Bob Dylan’s epic “Like A Rolling Stone” is released. It will soon get to #2 behind “Help” by the Beatles.

When the single was released, on July 20 1965, copies serviced to radio stations cut the song in half and spread it over both sides of a red vinyl 45, giving them the option of airing only the first three minutes, thus preserving their normal song-to-commercial ratios. Dylan demanded that Like a Rolling Stone play through, and soon a new pressing replaced the first – but when the song first appeared on the radio, three minutes was all you heard, with the fade sounding fake, as if something was missing. When the word spread that something was, stations were hammered by callers demanding all six minutes, and six minutes was what they got. And then, it seemed, that was all your station played.

“They cut it in half for the disc jockeys,” explained Dylan at a press conference in San Francisco in December 1965. “If anybody was interested they could just turn it over and listen to what really happens.”

Greil Marcus adds to the mythology of “Like a Rolling Stone”.

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