​Almanac: "Like a Rolling Stone"

Bob Dylan in the recording studio in 1965. CBS News/Getty Images

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: July 20th 1965, 49 years ago today . . . the day rock music really got rolling.

For that was the day Bob Dylan released "Like a Rolling Stone."

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 ?

Just 24 years old, Dylan had already made his mark as a folksinger, with hits such as "Blowin' in the Wind," and "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

Now it was Dylan who was changing, writing his most brash and confrontational lyrics yet, while also exchanging his acoustic guitar for electric.

In a two-day recording session, Dylan and his fellow musicians improvised a number of different takes . . . including (improbably) a waltz-like version in 3/4 time.

Eventually, Dylan hit upon the sound that was destined to upend the music world.

That opening drum beat, Bruce Springsteen said years later, sounded to his then-15-year-old ears "like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind."

Radio stations that originally balked at playing the full six-minute-long version had to yield to pleading fans.

The song soared to Number Two on the Billboard chart, just behind The Beatles' "Help."

And that wasn't all.

Just five days after "Like a Rolling Stone"'s release, Dylan created a famous ruckus by performing it at the Newport Folk Festival, electric guitar and all . . . much to the outrage of folk music purists.

Last year, Dylan released the first official video version of his song.

To watch the interactive video of "Like a Rolling Stone" on bobdyland.com, click on the link, then maneuver the "Channel" buttons at left to flip through a panoply of renditions of Dylan's song.

like-a-rolling-stone-music-video-620.jpg
bobdylan.com

And last month, Dylan's hand-written lyrics sold for just over $2 million -- a rock music record.

Rolling Stone magazine has officially declared it the Number One Greatest Song of All Time.

Still more evidence for anyone who may need it that there's never been another rock song like "Like a Rolling Stone."


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