The Hit we Almost Missed
December 7, 2004 8:03 AM   Subscribe

The Hit we Almost Missed Shaun Considine, an employee of Columbia Records in Sxities, recounts how close Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" came to being lost to obscurity. (NY Times)
posted by Tullius (12 comments total)
Op-Ed. Old Op-Ed. See Altercation for details.
posted by y2karl at 8:20 AM on December 7, 2004

Oops, upon review, I meant to delete that last sentence--but will stand by with old Op-Ed. And a questionable story, too.
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on December 7, 2004

Ah, who gives a hoot, y2k.

I remember once hearing the organ on that song (which is the only part that really moves me) was a completely spontaneous choice, not a part of the original arrangement, and played by some guy in the studio who hadn't ever played with Dylan before. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
posted by Peter H at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2004

Dylan is everywhere this month, from the bestseller list (for his wonderfully quirky memoir “Chronicles”) to “60 Minutes.” So it was no surprise to find him on the Times' op-ed page on Friday, with Shaun Considine, who used to work at Dylan's record company, revealing that he personally saved “Like a Rolling Stone” from oblivion after it had been spiked by Columbia because of its groundbreaking length (six minutes) for a single.

It's a wonderful yarn, centering on Considine getting the acetate of the record played at Sybil Burton's Arthur disco, which set off a frenzy that forced Columbia to finally release the damn thing. Who knows if it's all true, or if a dozen others will step forward now and say that they are the real heroes of this episode...

Bob Dylan: Ballad of a Press Critic
posted by y2karl at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2004

I hadn't read it, so I could give a rat's ass if it was was a NYT op ed or if it was published way, way back on December 3. And how about supporting your assertion it's a questionable story? Facts, please.

On Preview: That's all you got y2karl? Phui.
posted by mojohand at 8:37 AM on December 7, 2004

Yes, it was Al Kooper, who fashioned a career out of the fact.
posted by y2karl at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2004

"There was no sheet music, it was totally by ear. And it was totally disorganized, totally punk. It just happened."
posted by buggybuy at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2004

Dylan did have a great interview on Sunday night's Simpsons, however.
posted by y2karl at 8:49 AM on December 7, 2004

I think the spontaneity of the recording is romanticized. A well thought-out piece of music should be able to be performed at any time, any place, given the right resources.
posted by asbates2 at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2004

I think the spontaneity of the recording is romanticized.

Indeed--Highway 61 Interactive, the infamous Dylan CD-ROM has several samples of its incremental evolution:
In the Columbia recording studio you'll find bits of interviews with Dylan sideman Al Kooper and some alternate takes of early Dylan songs, including a waltz version of "Like a Rolling Stone."
posted by y2karl at 10:14 AM on December 7, 2004

from the rolling stone article on the song, proclaiming it #1 of all time (emphasis mine):

Written by: Dylan
Produced by: Tom Wilson
Released: July '65 on Columbia
Charts: 12 weeks
Top spot: No. 2

...which cements it in my mind. the best never make it to number 1 in the popular count. if it's bland enough to get a vote from most people, it's not dynamic enough to really be great.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:55 AM on December 7, 2004

Before there was "Like a Rolling Stone," there was "Subterranean Homesick Blues," which was released some months earlier, as I recall, and turned my knees to water when I heard it coming out of the radio. Doggies! THAT was the beginning of the revolution.
posted by Faze at 1:02 PM on December 7, 2004

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