It seems Bob Dylan is finally getting the hint that no one really cares about his new music and to mark this moment of clarity, the legendary songwriter is releasing 20 different versions of his famous tune Like A Rolling Stone.
First released back in 1965 on the seminal album Highway 61 Revisted, the 20 new versions of the single song are featured on an 18 disc CD set called The Cutting Edge: 1965 – 1966 that catalogues rare unreleased studio outtakes from the aforementioned Highway 61 Revisited as well as Bringing It All Back Home and Blonde On Blonde.
Seen by many as the golden era of Dylan, the incredibly expansive collection is sure to set hardcore fans scrambling into their headphones to pour over what could have been had Dylan not chosen the takes we now know as rock and roll cannon.
The Like A Rolling Stone recordings themselves all come from one session on June 16th 1965, with the backing band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper. Listening to the various different renditions it’s amazing to hear how much of what became one of the most iconic songs of the 20th Century was made up on the spot – Kooper’s iconic organ riff among them, with the musician improvising the now famous hook on the spot.
Originally seen by executives at Columbia Records as being unsuitable as a single – the track coming in at a lengthy six minutes and featuring Dylan’s updated electric sound instead of the acoustic folk stylings he was known for – the track would nevertheless go on to reach #2 on the Billboard Chart. Essentially launching Dylan’s career in rock and roll, and 50 years after it’s release it’s still his most recognisable and famous song.
Unsurprising then, it is being used as a centre piece of a huge marketing push to sell on Dylan’s expansive back catalogue on to a new generation of fans, with an interactive video released to accompany the track (this is seriously bizarre and worth checking out) as well as a Complete Album Box Set featuring all 41 official albums and a double disc release of rare and non-album tracks to go along with The Cutting Edge: 1965 – 1966.
You can visit the Official Bob Dylan Website to order the compilation, or just relive the brilliance of the originally released version here below.
Watch: Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone