Monday, December 17, 2007

Diamonds and Rust

GC pointed this song out to me, which now that I take a look at the lyrics, I would say is a companion song to "Like A Rolling Stone", in a way, done 10 yrs. later (1975). References to the "Madonna and the half-shell" and her sheltering of the "vagabond", are clearly references to the relationship between Joan Baez and Bob Dylan in the early/mid 60's. It's generally considered her best written work, and it just blew me away when I read these words today for the first time.

Diamonds and Rust

Joan Baez

Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Like A Rolling Stone

I'm really interested in things like turning point moments; those events that occur when everything changes. Well, this song is one of those turning point moments. Before this song went out on the airwaves in 1965, popular music was basically, "hey baby baby", or "you're so fine be mine", or "sha la la la", but when this came out, the doors were blown open. It was really the first time in popular music that someone had written and sang a personalized song, about personal things, and in such a way that others could then relate to it, though each in their own way. Their simply was not a song like this prior to its release, and many still feel that it is the greatest song in popular rock music. I say it's still much better than pretty much anything out there today; a lyrical and melodic complete package. Just listen to that organ, real musicians were playing on this song. The song was in fact chosen recently as the greatest rock song of all time. 1965 was the year that Dylan went electric, and said goodbye to the folk music, a great controversy at the time, and this was the song he went electric with. Many have speculated on the meaning, if any, of the song. Personally, I think he was talking to the person who really gave him his break and made him a name, folk singer Joan Baez (no one ever said that Dylan was the most compassionate or thoughtful person. "Thinking", but not thoughtful). He was so frustrated with how they wouldn't let him break away from the folk music, and his one-time partner Joan Baez symbolized all of that for him. He really didn't do her right, but I guess he's human, like the rest of us. If you ever wondered where today's modern popular music derived from as we now know it, then this is the song from which it all started.

Like A Rolling Stone
Bob Dylan

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

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd 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 ask him do you want to make a deal?

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

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
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 the 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

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

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you'd better lift your diamond ring, you'd 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 you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

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