• This 11-minute number is about the New York gangster Joey Gallo, who was gunned down by a rival at a restaurant in New York City. Dylan's song is a highly sensationalized account of Gallo's life.
  • A number of the songs on Desire, including this one, were co-written by the songwriter/theater director Jacques Levy, who had co-written the Byrds song "Chestnut Mare." Levy also acted as stage manager on Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue.
  • This song generated controversy as it was thought that it glorified the violent activities of Gallo and it took liberties with the truth. Dylan responded to these accusations in a 2009 interview published on his website: "Jacques Levy wrote the words. Jacques had a theatrical mind and he wrote a lot of plays. So the song might have been theater of the mind. I just sang it. Some say Davy Crockett takes a lot of liberties with the truth and Billy the Kid too – FDR in Trinidad. Have you ever heard that?"

Comments: 1

  • Barry from New York, NcI really like the DYLAN AND THE DEAD version of this song. One of the things I will go to my grave now knowing is... why people hate DYLAN AND THE DEAD so much? I love the album yet everybody else considers it the worst of the worst.
see more comments

Paul WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

He's a singer and an actor, but as a songwriter Paul helped make Kermit a cultured frog, turned a bank commercial into a huge hit and made love both "exciting and new" and "soft as an easy chair."

Director Wes Edwards ("Drunk on a Plane")Song Writing

Wes Edwards takes us behind the scenes of videos he shot for Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Chase Bryant. The train was real - the airplane was not.

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.

Zac HansonSongwriter Interviews

Zac tells the story of Hanson's massive hit "MMMbop," and talks about how brotherly bonds effect their music.

The Punk Photography of Chris SteinSong Writing

Chris Stein of Blondie shares photos and stories from his book about the New York City punk scene.

dUg Pinnick of King's XSongwriter Interviews

dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.