Category Archives: Great American Songbook

The Greatest Song of All-Time – Bob Dylan

Every now and then a song really speaks to a generation. No song did that better than Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone.” I love rhythmic tunes. This isn’t one of those. I love songs where I can figure out the lyrics. This isn’t one of those songs, either. I had to go to the that lyrics site and then the light bulb went off.

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you ?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all 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 for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Is this the greatest rock and roll song of all time? Rock and roll, like jazz before it and rap after it, has to speak to a generation. To be great the song must change the dynamic. The less gifted must try to emulate the artist who created the masterpiece. Everyone should be able to sit back and listen to Dylan and become lost in the thoughtful, penetrating lyrics. How does it feel?

From RS:

“I wrote it. I didn’t fail. It was straight,” Bob Dylan said of his greatest song shortly after he recorded it in June 1965. There is no better description of “Like a Rolling Stone” — of its revolutionary design and execution — or of the young man, just turned 24, who created it.

Al Kooper, who played organ on the session, remembers today, “There was no sheet music, it was totally by ear. And it was totally disorganized, totally punk. It just happened.” Continue reading The Greatest Song of All-Time – Bob Dylan

The Second Greatest Song of All-Time – The Rolling Stones

There are only a few songs that you can play where everyone in the room will know it instantly from the opening riff. The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” is one of those tunes. This is a tune that simply and clearly captures the thoughts and feelings of a generation. Although the Rolling Stones have about 15 – 20 tunes which are easily recognizable, “Satisfaction” is their masterpiece. (I thought that “Start Me Up” was a better tune.)

From RS:

“It’s the riff heard  round the world,” says Steve Van Zandt, guitarist for the E Street Band. “And it’s one of the earliest examples of Dylan influencing the Stones and the Beatles — the degree of cynicism, and the idea of bringing more personal lyrics from the folk and blues tradition into popular music.” Continue reading The Second Greatest Song of All-Time – The Rolling Stones