Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mixing up some good medicine

Cruising through the Sixties -- nice!  Nudge the dial back ever so slightly now and it's 1965 and Bob Dylan, four years into the Greenwich Village scene, is entering the Top 40 charts for the first time.  Which of the following singles put him there?

a) Corrina Corrina
b) Blowin' in the Wind
c) Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
d) The Times They Are a-Changin'
e) Subterranean Homesick Blues

Singles, it turned out, weren't the game Columbia Records wanted to play to introduce its new folk prodigy to the world. The first Dylan song released as a single, "Mixed Up Confusion" w/ "Corrina Corrina" in 1962, was a curious choice that failed to chart.  Nor did "Blowin' in the Wind/Don't Think Twice" in 1963, which seems surprising, or even "The Times They Are a-Changin'/Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance" in 1964.

(It's annoying listing both songs with every release, but with Dylan's music there really aren't "B" sides, only "other" sides.)

Album sales, meanwhile, were doing swell.  The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan made it as high as No. 22 and The Times They Are a-Changin' was No. 20.

It was Dylan's fourth single, "'Subterranean Homesick Blues" backed by "She Belongs to Me,"  from the album Bringing It All Back Home that entered the Top 40 at number 39 on this date in 1965 and remained on the charts for eight weeks.

Johnny’s in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
The man in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
The man in the coon-skin cap
In the big pen
Wants eleven dollar bills
And you only got ten

They weren't exactly singing this one around campfires, but it worked for us then and it's definitely one of our favorites today at the Sanctuary.  And you don't need eleven dollar bills to download it.


  1. Here is a link to the great video by D.A. Pennebaker who also filmed "Monterey Pop."

  2. Also, on radio yesterday I heard somebody playing a cover of "Signs." Which reminded me that Joe South played guitar on "Blonde on Blonde." Which makes him cooler than the "hipsters" who make fun of him.