Joey

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Songfacts®:

  • 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: 2

  • Squatch from California While much maligned by Dylan fans Joey was likely the strongest Dylan Dead song. Check out the 87 JFK and Giants Healy Matrix recordings on Relisten - sound is way better than the Dylan Dead album. Garcia singing back up to Dylan and the powerful stadium Phil bass bombs make it worth a listen.
  • 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.
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