20 Jul Bob Dylan releases his revolutionary anthem, “Like a Rolling Stone”
On this day in 1965, renowned singer-songwriter Bob Dylan releases what would become his biggest ever hit
“Like a Rolling Stone” was released on July 20th, 1965 and quickly climbed to number 2 in the US and number 4 in the UK. The confrontational lyrics were adapted from an extended verse Dylan wrote after returning exhausted from a particularly gruelling England tour. The song was recorded on June 16 and released as a single, as well as on Dylan’s acclaimed 1965 album, Highway 61 Revisited, released in August of the same year.
The song’s two days of production were also an exhausting exercise as Dylan struggled to capture what he believed was the essence of the song. Breakthroughs were made however, when the song was recorded in a rock music format and when rookie session musician Al Kooper improvised the famous organ riff. Dylan’s label however were unhappy with the tracks length of over six minutes and it’s heavy electric sounds and were hesitant to release it. However, once an advance copy leaked to popular DJs and the songs potential was realised they hastened to organise an official release.
The song has been described as revolutionary, due to it’s combination of musical styles and the youthful, cynical sound of Dylan’s voice. It has been said that no other song has so thoroughly and successfully challenged the commerciality and artistic conventions of it’s time. “Like a Rolling Stone” was listed at number one in Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list and has been covered by numerous legendary musicians, including Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. The handwritten lyrics were sold at auction in 2014, fetching an immense $2 million, a world record for a pop music manuscript.