Today we wish a happy birthday to one of the most important figure in American music and American culture in general, Mr. Bob Dylan.
This music video was shot as a promo for the ground-breaking documentary, Don’t Look Back. It was filmed in an alley near the Savoy Hotel in London. The cards that Dylan flips throughout the video were written by Donovan, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Neuwirth and Dylan himself and, of course, both Ginsberg and Bob Neuwirth can spotted standing in the background of the video. (Considering that Don’t Look Back features a famous scene in which Dylan absolutely humiliates Donovan, I always found it interesting that he played a role in the production of this video. Did Donovan help write out the cards before or after the It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue incident?) In typical Dylan fashion, the cards feature intentional misspellings and occasionally they don’t actually match up with the lyrics. For instance, the song may mention needing “eleven dollar bills” but the card reads “twenty.”
Dylan filmed two other versions of this video, neither one of which was officially released but which can both be found in Martin Scorsese’s Dylan documentary, Don’t Look Back. One was shot at a nearby park while the other was apparently filmed in the Savoy Hotel itself. All three of the videos follow the same basic theme of Dylan flipping cards while Ginsberg and Neuwirth wander about in the background.
This song, which was inspired by the writings of Beats like Ginsberg and Kerouac (as well as, according to Bob Dylan, by the music of Chuck Berry), was Bob Dylan’s first top ten single in the U.S.