For several years, Bob Dylan followers have spoken in a kind of hushed awe about the longest tune he at any time released, “Highlands,” an album facet-length 1997 keep track of that ran 16 minutes and 31 seconds. Now, 23 several years later on, he’s somewhat outdone himself. As the clock struck midnight on the east coast Friday early morning, Dylan introduced a new song, “Murder Most Foul,” that has a 16:57 managing time — and it is an epic no cost association on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Tiny information and facts was supplied about the surprise keep track of, except for a brief assertion from Dylan himself:
“Greetings to my enthusiasts and followers with gratitude for all your assist and loyalty in excess of the a long time.
“This is an unreleased song we recorded a whilst back that you could locate intriguing.
“Stay safe and sound, continue to be observant and might God be with you.
A Dylan agent reported the statement was all the information and facts they would be releasing about the track, so irrespective of whether “a while back” usually means a subject of months or several many years remains a thriller.
Dylan’s past album of first substance, “Tempest,” came out in 2012, even though he has produced three sets of his interpretations of tracks from the Great American Songbook in-among, the very last of which was the triple-album “Triplicate” in a few yrs back. Rumors have been rampant that this year Dylan may well be releasing his initially album of self-penned songs in eight many years, but there’s been no confirmation of that.
The lyrics of the monumental track will fascinate Dylanologists who’ve waited decades for some thing contemporary to dissect, since there’s virtually 50 % an album’s value of material just in a person monitor listed here.
At periods the lyrics communicate basically of the Kennedy assassination, with a bent toward conspiratorial normally takes on the event, but as the tune goes along it breaks more freely into a pop-society fantasia.
In opposition to a minimum mattress of violin, piano and gentle percussion, Dylan commonly references or riffs on 1960s situations, catchphrases or titles, with lines that include things like: “The Beatles are coming, they’e gonna keep your hand” (the arrival of the Fab 4 in America in early 1964 is regarded by some as a tonic to the lingering despair from the assassination) “ferry cross the Mersey and go for the throat” (only component of which is a nod to Gerry and the Pacemakers) “Tommy can you hear me, I’m the Acid Queen,” and “I’m likely to Woodstock, it’s the Aquarian age / Then I’ll go to Altamont and stand in the vicinity of the stage.”
Dylan does not have his head solely in the ’60s: “Frankly Pass up Scarlett, I don’t give a damn” also arrives up for a quotation. And finally, so do — transferring into the ’70s, and past and again — Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, the Allman Brothers Band’s Dickey Betts, “Only the Fantastic Die Younger, “Nightmare on Elm Road,” Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Art Pepper, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, “Charlie Parker and all that junk,” Nat King Cole, Marilyn Monroe, John Lee Hooker, Wolfman Jack, Patsy Cline, Houdini, “Wake Up Minor Suzy,” “Let the Very good Instances Roll,” “The Previous Rugged Cross,” “Down in the Boondocks,” “The Service provider of Venice,” “Memphis in June,” “Moonlight Sonata,” “Play Misty for Me,” “Lonely at the Top” and “Lonely Are the Courageous.”
From time to time, Dylan instantly marries his pop-tradition references and the assassination, as when he sings, “You acquired me Dizzy Skip Lizzy, you fill me with lead.” Or: “What’s new pussycat, what’d I say / I mentioned the soul of a country been torn away.”
When it will come to the real assassination, Dylan does not skimp on the details: “They blew off his head when he was nonetheless in the vehicle,” he sings in the first stanza. Afterwards on, he traces the car’s frantic exit away from Dealey Plaza in Dallas, even getting the initial-individual stage of see of the deceased Kennedy: “Riding in the backseat up coming to my spouse / And it is straight on into the afterlife / I’m leaning to the left I got my head in her lap…” He receives precise about facts subsequent the death, way too — like “Johnson sworn in at 2:38.”
He also can take the position of watch of Kennedys assailant — or, in his watch, assailants — singing provocative strains like, “We’ve previously got an individual right here to just take your place,” or, of Kennedy’s brothers, “we’ll get them as very well.”
In the song’s see, the killing of JFK, “right there in front of everyone’s eyes,” is the “greatest magic trick” — and a single he presumably thinks has some relevance in 2020.