Like a Rolling Stone

Album: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Charted: 4 2
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  • An iconic Bob Dylan song, "Like A Rolling Stone" is the story of a debutante who becomes a loner when she falls out of high society. It's a crushing blow, but there is an upside: when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. Another advantage to being on your own: when you're invisible, you have no secrets to reveal.
  • The title is not a reference to The Rolling Stones. It is taken from the proverb "a rolling stone gathers no moss." Dylan got the idea from the 1949 Hank Williams song "Lost Highway," which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, all alone and lost."

    Thanks to The Rolling Stones, many associate the phrase with a life of glamor, always on the move, but Williams' song is about a hobo paying the price for his life of sin. Dylan also used the phrase to indicate loneliness and despair: his rolling stone is "without a home, like a complete unknown."
  • "Like A Rolling Stone" is Dylan's most popular song and his first big hit, although having a hit song was low on his list of priorities.

    It was the only single from his sixth album, Highway 61 Revisited, released in 1965 when he was buzzworthy - especially in the New York City music scene - but hardly a sensation. The song got significant airplay and many connected with it, sending them on an enlightening journey through his back catalog. Dylan became one of the most respected and analyzed songwriters of his time, with "Like A Rolling Stone" often the gateway.
  • Al Kooper, who was primarily a guitarist and went on to be a very successful music producer, played the famous Hammond organ riff on this song. If you listen very closely at the beginning, you'll notice the organ is 1/8th note behind everyone else. Kooper wasn't an expert on the organ, but Dylan loved what he played and made sure it was turned up in the mix.

    When Songfacts asked Kooper what stands out as his finest musical accomplishment, he said: "By the amount of emails I receive and the press that I get it is undoubtedly the organ part on 'Like A Rolling Stone.' I kinda like the way Martin Scorsese edited my telling of that story in the documentary No Direction Home. For me, no one moment or event sticks out. I think reading my resumé every 10 years or so, is my finest moment - certainly my most incredulous. I cannot believe I did all the stuff I did in one lifetime. One is forced to believe in luck and God."
  • The song runs 6:13, which was far longer than the typical pop song. Some radio stations wouldn't play songs that ran much more than three minutes, so it was a big breakthrough when "Like a Rolling Stone" got significant airplay. It was also rare for a song packed with so many lyrics to do well commercially.

    Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, who revolutionized the music manager profession and was known as a shrewd defender of his artists, was the one who told Columbia Records that they couldn't shorten the song to make it more radio friendly.

    It took a few more years for another song this long to break through as a hit: "Hey Jude" by The Beatles in 1968.
  • Dylan based the lyrics on a short story he had written. What made it into the song is only a small part of what was in the story.
  • We have Dylan's producer, Tom Wilson, to thank for the organ on this song - he's the one who invited Al Kooper to the session. Wilson, who had been a jazz producer, started working with Dylan on his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in 1963. He helmed Dylan's next three albums, but on Highway 61 Revisited only worked on "Like A Rolling Stone," the last song he produced for Dylan. Bob Johnston took over as Dylan's producer and was behind the board for all the other tracks on the album.
  • It is rumored that this was written about one-time debutante Edie Sedgwick, who was part of artist Andy Warhol's crowd. She was the subject of an emotional tug-of-war between the Dylan camp and the Warhol camp.

    According to this theory, the song includes some fanged, accusatory lines about Warhol and the way he mistreated the girl:

    Ain't it hard when you discover that
    He really wasn't where it's at
    After he took from you everything he could steal

    "Poor Little Rich Girl" Sedgwick is viewed by many as the tragic victim of a long succession of abusive figures. After escaping home and heading to New York, she ran into Warhol, who soon began to use her as his starlet. When her 15 minutes had come to an end, Warhol moved on.

    Sedgwick and Dylan had a brief affair shortly before the musician married Sarah Lownds, and many say that this Dylan song was written about her. It should be noted that there is absolutely nothing beyond circumstantial evidence to support this idea, but the myth is so widely known that it's taken on a life of its own and is therefore recognizable on its own terms.
  • The song made it to #2 in the US, held off the top spot by The Beatles' "Help!" Dylan had another #2 hit with "Rainy Day Women #12 And #35," but never reached #1 as an artist. He did as a writer when The Byrds hit #1 with their cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" in 1965.
  • This song made Bob Dylan an unlikely inspiration for Jimi Hendrix, who before hearing it considered himself a guitarist but not a singer. Dylan proved you didn't need a conventional voice to sing rock and roll.

    Hendrix often played "Like A Rolling Stone," including a performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix and Dylan met only once, but Jimi had a knack for bringing out the emotions in Dylan's songs: he also did a very successful cover of "All Along The Watchtower." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Dylan recorded another version in 1970 for his Self Portrait album. This time, he used experienced session players in Nashville, Tennessee. Ron Cornelius played guitar on the album and told Songfacts about the session: "You're not reading manuscripts. In Nashville the players are booked because of what they can create right now, not what's written on a piece of paper. Everybody's creating their part as the tape is rolling. Out of everybody I've worked with, I don't know of anyone who's been any nicer than Bob Dylan. He treated me wonderfully, but at the same time you knew being around him day after day that this man wakes up in a different world every morning. On a creative level that's a really good thing and to try to second guess him or to ask him what he actually meant by these lyrics, you're shooting in the dark because he's not going to tell you anyway. And he might be telling you the truth when he says 'I don't know, what does it mean to you?'"
  • The Rolling Stones didn't take their name from this song, but rather the 1950 Muddy Waters track "Rollin' Stone." The magazine Rolling Stone was named after this song, with a degree of separation: Ralph Gleason wrote a piece for The American Scholar about the influence of music on young people called "Like a Rolling Stone," which he titled after the song. When he founded the magazine with Jann Wenner in 1967, they decided to name it after his story. Wenner muddied the waters a bit when he wrote in the debut issue: "Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote. The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy's song. 'Like a Rolling Stone' was the title of Bob Dylan's first rock and roll record."
  • In the November 2004 issue, Rolling Stone Magazine named this #1 on their list of the greatest songs of all time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ed - Perth, Australia
  • Greil Marcus wrote a book of almost 300 pages about this song. It was released in 2005 and is titled Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads.
  • The line "To be on your own, with no direction home" provided the title of the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary about Bob Dylan called No Direction Home.
  • Jimi Hendrix' performance of this song at Monterey is a classic. Hendrix had made a name for himself in Europe, but didn't manage to make a dent in the US market until the fabled Summer of Love. It happened at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. All of a sudden, an artist who had struggled unsuccessfully for recognition in his own country became one of its future music legends.
  • Rolling Stone asked a panel of musicians, writers and academics to vote for Dylan's greatest song in a poll to mark Dylan's 70th birthday on May 24, 2011. "Like A Rolling Stone" came out on top, beating "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Tangled Up In Blue" into second and third places respectively.
  • A music video for the song was created by the digital agency Interlude and debuted on November 19, 2013. The clip is interactive, allowing viewers to flip through a mock TV network with 16 channels mimicking various formats such as games shows, shopping networks and reality series. Director Vania Heymann stated, "I'm using the medium of television to look back right at us — you're flipping yourself to death with switching channels [in real life]."

    Among the celebrities that appear lip-synching along with the lyrics are comedian Marc Maron, rapper Danny Brown, The Price is Right host Drew Carey, SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy and Jonathan and Drew Scott of the reality show Property Brothers.

    Consequence Of Sound named the clip as their Best Video of 2013, calling it a "fascinating nod to social dissonance," adding, "watching a contestant from The Price Is Right grip his head in disbelief while mouthing 'Like a complete unknown,' then flipping through to see Danny Brown waving a corn dog while singing out 'with no direction at all' demonstrates that the chasm between generations isn't as deep as we think. On the contrary, the format couldn't have served as a more obvious channel bridging decades of time."
  • Dylan's original draft of the song's lyrics were written on four sheets of headed note paper from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, DC. The quartet of handwritten pages fetched over $2 million at Sothebys New York in June 2014, setting a new price record for a popular music manuscript. The previous record was John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for the 1967 Beatles track "A Day In The Life," which cost $1.2 million.
  • The Rolling Stones recorded this for their 1995 album Stripped. Stones guitarist Keith Richards explained: "We got over the built-in reticence. If he [Bob Dylan] had written 'Like a Beatles,' we probably would have done it straight away. We've been playing that song ever since Bob brought it out; it was like a dressing room favorite, a tuning room favorite. We know it really well. It was just a matter of screwing up the courage, really, to get over the feeling like we were riding on its back. We also realized that, hey, we took our name from a Muddy Waters album, a Muddy Waters song. Suddenly it didn't feel awkward to play it." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • An early manuscript of this song in the Dylan archives at the Center for American Research in Tulsa reveals some lyrics that were later changed or removed. Instead of "You used to laugh about," it was "You used to make fun about." Some lines that were excised:

    You've studied all these great theories on life
    And now you find out they don't mean a thing
    You've been blessed by counts these old friends claimed to love
    Now they're all ashamed of you
  • John Mellencamp performed this with Al Kooper at a Bob Dylan tribute concert held in Madison Square Garden on October 16, 1992.

Comments: 158

  • Virginia Abreu De Paula from BrazilI hear Dylan turned it to rock thanks to John Lennon who gave him this suggestion. It happened when The Beatles paid him a visit out of admiration. Dylan liked them but thought they could improve their lyrics, John agreed it had to be done and...suggesting him to go electric in his next song. So it was a great night for Dylan and also for The Beatles. By the way, it was the same night Dylan introduced the Liverpool guys to marijuana.
  • Lee from PhoenixBob has stated he takes snippets of dialog or observations for his lyrics, throws them in a drawer, and then pulls them out to help him complete songs. So, the imagery for LARS could’ve come from anywhere, regardless what the original song’s “intent” or “subject” might’ve been. Dylan usually tries to avoid writing “topical” songs. The ones he has written from the early 60’s aren’t performed. He tries to keep the subject vague enough to apply so it can apply to everyone at different points in their lives.

    Here’s Dylan on the far left, with an unidentified man with a banjo and a Siamese cat on his shoulder from the Indian Neck Folk Festival of 1961.
  • Bob Harvey from Mesa,azI saw Bob at the Newport Folk festival in 1965 just after I finished my tour in the USMC. Spent the week sleeping in a farmer's field. "GREAT TIME". Still have all his Music. Got to see him again in White Plains N.Y. Greatest Song writer of all Time! Happy 80 Bob
  • Estee from CanadaFor some reason, I started listening to this song again, a lot. I had a couple of questions/thoughts and I logged in to see what others were thinking. Here are my thoughts - though Dylan most likely had a specific person in mind when writing the song; I find it to be a little more general than a specific person. There are clearly 5 main characters: the singer (Dylan), the fine dressed women (sheltered, well cared for female), Napoleon in rags, the diplomat and the mystery tramp. Dylan, the female and Napoleon go back a long time. Dylan say "once upon a time" - indicating he has know the female for a long time. Additionally he comments that she use to be so amused at Napoleon and the language that he used; showing clearly the three go back a long way. I think the song is about a sheltered female, living a comfortable life, in an environment full of people who can say even the rudest things politely. Then the female "evolves" becoming more aware and in tune with a less sheltered existence. She rides a motorcycle, with a diplomat friend. The diplomat friend has a girlfriend from Thailand . The female realizes the diplomat is not that interested in her - as he is riding all over town with the cat. Dylan defends the female by saying, you realized he wasn't where it was at but he also taunts her by saying she didn't realize it until he stole everything he could from her. The Mystery tramp is another boyfriend of the female: who doesn't lie to her ; he has had a difficult life, and tunes out - the female realizes there is a lot of truth in what he says about his life when he tunes out . She the female tries to "bring him back/awake him" during one of his tune out sessions by offering to "make a deal". Napoleon in rags refers to a Super influential person, with power, and the ability to move the people. Clearly, Napoleon dresses for the street and uses street language - at the beginning of the song Napoleon and the female are VERY DIFFERENT, but by the end of the song, as the female has experienced some of the less favourable things in life; like being used, and the revolving door of boyfriends (jugglers and the clowns all did tricks for you); Napoleon and the female are now a better match; that is to say the female is no longer "high and mighty", over dressed and inexperienced. Dylan tells her to give Napoleon a try now, they go back a long way and she has nothing to lose. I see the song as an old friend that is Street Wise and knowledgeable about the world, taunting (but protecting) a childhood friend. Scrounging for her next meal just says dinner will not be SERVED on fine china this evening -- you'll need to pull together your own meal. Additionally, in a lot of circles scrounging food is foraging, or if you planted it trying to pull together a meal from stuff that isn't quite ready to harvest yet -- or working out of a poorly stocked fridge/pantry..... all just saying it ain't as easy as it use to be. I don't see taunting someone as a negative thing: you can learn a lot from someone taunting you .
    Princess on a steeple and the pretty people is XMAS. The princess is placing the star on the tree - looking down at all the people celebrating, drinking and exchanging gifts - enjoying affluence -- but she doesn't belong there --- and Dylan suggests that she take the diamond ring that was a gift and pawn it.
    In some strange kind of way, Dylan is keeping an eye out for his old friend and offering the best advice he can -- in a format that fits the street - taunting.
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    Aa I told you below last time, two things happening to him made him write a song, Like A Rolling Stone, in 1965. According to Wiki, Dylan started writing the song when he returned form England in 1965. I think something's happening to him over there. Acctually I did not review how the idea of Like A Rolling Stone came from until recently. Because I had know no idea about it. But when I happened to heard a radio program one day and heard a song from it, I thought This must be a song that Dylan got the idea of writing Like A Rolling Stone from! Because the song that I heard singing 'You know How I feel, you know how feel'. It is the song, Like A Rolling Stone, singing 'How does it Feel ? How does it feel ? They are almost the same. The song I heard from the radio was a song called Feeling Good covered by a famous female singe named Nina Simone in 1965. I think the is the song Dylan got the first inspiration of writing Like A Rolling Stone. There is more, another thing happening to him when he stayed in England 1965 was the another thing that made him finish writing it.

    To be continued,
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    I think that the idea of the lyrics of the song, Like A Rolling Stone, in 1965 came from two things. First one was a song sung by a famous singer at that time and the other one was not from a song, but something else happening in 1964 in England when he was there for his touring or in 1965 when he came back from England. Those two things gave him a great inspiration and made him wrote 'like A Rolling Stone' in 1965 when he came back home from England for his touring.

    To be continued,
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer:
    Donald 'Bob' Johnston, producer with Columbia Records, passed away in hospice care in Nashville at the age of 83 on Friday (August 14th, 2015)...
    While at Columbia, Bob worked on such legendary albums as Bob Dylan's "Blonde On Blonde" and "Highway 61 Revisited," Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds Of Silence" and "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme" and "Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison"...
    He also produced Patti Page's single of "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" (#8-1965)...
    He claimed to have written or co-written songs credited to his wife, Joy Byers for contractual reasons, including Elvis Presley's "It Hurts Me" and "Let Yourself Go" and Timi Yuro's "What's A Matter Baby"...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 28th 1965, Bob Dylan performed at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York City...
    He played a fifteen song set, closing the concert with "Like A Rolling Stone"...
    His backing musicians on "Like A Rolling Stone" were Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Harvey Brooks and Al Kooper...
    At the time "Like A Rolling Stone" was at #6 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eight days later on September 5th, 1965 it would peak at #2 {for 2 weeks}...
    The two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Help!" by the Beatles.
  • Robert from Saratoga, NyBob Dylan's 'like a rolling stone' may or may not be the greatest song of all time. What song would you expect the people from Rolling Stone magazine to pick.
  • Roy from Slough, United KingdomIn an interview someone asked Dylan what this song was about......Dylan answered 'oh about six or seven minutes'. So there we have it MYSTERY SOLVED!
  • Guy from High Wycombe, United KingdomThats Dylan's genius: Wordsmith, Poet, Troubadour. He writes it so WE can relate to it in one way or another. His observation is so very sharp and poignant. His ego was hurt by Edie. Go forward to Blood on The Tracks, Tangled up in Blue and especially If You See Her Say Hello, which is the MOST soulful love song. To hear Bob Dylan's pain, it's just beautiful and authentic. He lived it and felt it... WE can ALL relate to it so easily. That's his gift to all of us and for the next millennium and beyond! Make no mistake.
  • Guy from High Wycombe, United KingdomSong is about Edie Sidgewick, Napolean in Rags is Warhol,The Mystery Tramp IS Heroin Addiction (You stared into the vacuum of his eyes,He wasn't selling any allibies). The diplomat with the chrome Horse refers to Edie's Executive Father ,who sexually abused Her, hence "took from You everything He could steal) .Edie fell for Dylan , who was already married, for reasons of propriety,or because she thought She fitted in well at The Factory. She Rejected Him. Dylan was bitter,The Taurean revenge were His acidic Lyrics. Its not a Love Song . But is fuelled also by Regret. It's so sad.
  • Chris from Snohomish County, WaI find all these attempts to analyze Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" to be rather amusing. Especially the ones stating that it's about a specific person. Songs like this one don't have "staying power" if they don't resonate with people and I don't think that most people think of Edie Sedgwick (whoever she is/was) or any other specific person when they think of or hear this song. For me this song is about somebody - a young person - coming perhaps from privilege and having lived a bit of a sheltered life striking out on his or her own only to discover that in the world outside nobody knows you, cares about you, or figures they owe you any favors and that you have to "watch your back." The kind of song that MANY people can relate to (and this coming from somebody who, generally, isn't much of a Dylan fan).
  • Coy from Palestine, TxTom Wilson had produced the three albums prior to "Highway 61 revisited". He did the session for "Like a Rolling Stone" and then was removed from the project and replaced by Bob Johnston. Wilson was born in Waco, Texas and was educated at Harvard. He was rare for that time period, A black man who demanded respect. Dylan never commented on whether or not he had Tom replaced, but it seems odd given he had worked with him on three albums and the single? One thought is that John Hammond thought Tom gave Dylan too much grief in the studio. Wilson didn't want Al Kooper there at all.
  • Patrick Kanan from Santa Clarita, CaWeird, I owned a dog named Napolean. Then years later I adopted a stray and named him Rags. To top it off my cousin had a German Shepard (Napolean's brother) named Dylan! All non-intended!
  • Kunal Somaiya from Mumbai, IndiaDebate of over Edie Sedgwick: This song was released in 1965 Whereas Her downfall begun in 1966-67!
    Still- The Lines "You used to ride on a chrome horse with
    your diplomat
    Who carried on his shoulder a siamese cat
    Ain't it hard when you discover that
    He really wasn't where it's at
    After he took from you everything he could
    steal" Could have been about Warhol!
    And the Earlier part Has to be about Edie!
  • Curt from Ojai , CaWithout question this song perfectly describes Edie Sedgewick. Anyone who does not think so has not done their homework, but it is easy enough to do, just see her bio in "Factory Girl". Why Dylan wants to ignore his association with her will have to remain a mystery, but he did seriously try to stop the movie from being made. While there is an obvious Dylan character in the movie, they could not use his name.
  • David from Woburn, Ma"I don't believe you. You're a liar... play it f*****g LOUD."
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaThis record(45) gets my vote as one of the 10 best records ever made....looking at the 45 back in the day...the grooves were placed so close together , I marveled at how the needle could even track it...They were packed so closed together it looked like one solid, dense wall...this was because of the singles length...
  • Velveeta from Vars, OnDylan was experiencing many conflicts during this time, with a deepening alienation from his old folk-revival audiences and his clear-cut leftist causes. He suggests that the song is self-referential. "The song only attains full poignancy when one realises it is sung, at least in part, to the singer himself: he's the one 'with no direction home.'"Dylan himself has noted that after his motorcycle accident in 1966 he realized that "when I used words like 'he' and 'it' and 'they,' and talking about other people, I was really talking about nobody but me." He also has made reference to the 20 pages he initially wrote as 'vomit' and that it was himself he was needling. ( One has to take him at his word-for one generally can write tomes on what we know best - ourselves.)
    Once upon a time you dressed so fine
    You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you ? ( self-referential)
    People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"( folk music was on its way out givin over to rock and roll)
    You thought theywere all kiddin' you
    You used to laugh about
    Everybody that was hangin' out (likely the warhol crowd)
    Now you don't talk so loud (Eating humble pie after negative reaction to his using an electric guitar for the first time.)
    Now you don't seem so proud ( losing his fanbase)
    About having to be scrounging for your next meal. ( 1964 money not coming in)

    You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
    But you know you only used to get juiced in it (He quit U of Minnesota first year.)
    And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
    And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
    You said you'd never compromise ( staying true to his folk roots)
    With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
    He's not selling any alibis
    As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
    And say do you want to make a deal?

    You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
    When they all come down and did tricks for you
    You never understood that it ain't no good
    You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
    You used to ride on the chrome horse ( his motorcycle which he crashed) with your diplomat (warhol)
    Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat (?)
    Ain't it hard when you discover that
    He really wasn't where it's at ( Warhol)
    After he took from you everything he could steal. (perhaps Edie, as Warhol was determined to keep them apart...)

    How does it feel
    How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone ?

    Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
    They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
    Exchanging all precious gifts
    But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
    You used to be so amused
    At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
    Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
    When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
    You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

    Bottom line-it's all about him.
  • Jason from Tampa, FlTo Carlos,

    This was from 1965, when the '60s generation was still new and the idealism hadn't faded yet.
  • Carlos from Cleveland, OhAs far as what the song means and who it was written for; I guess a strong case could be made for the Edie Sedgwick connection, but in my mind, I always envisioned it being an allegory for the lost and corroded dream of the 60's Hippie culture, which started out so bright and idealistic, but like so many things that humans endeavor to do, eventually degraded and faded into a shadow of what it once was and kind of lost its direction. Too many people who "went to San Francisco" got lost and caught up in the superficial trappings of the lifestyle and either ended up burned out on the streets or didn't make it out alive, period. While others gave up on the dream and succumbed to the "establishment" and capitalist way of life. Not to say that no good came of that time - quite a lot did. And I'm glad to say that I was heavily influenced in my thinking and values by the best of what was intended.
  • Carlos from Cleveland, OhI agree with blind boy grunt's comment about Dylan's voice. It's taken me years to develop an appreciation for his voice and style of song delivery, which can be pretty loose and "freewheeling". While technically, each note may not be perfect, the raw passion and heart comes through and the effect is mesmerizing. I'm a singer who has sung with bands for the last 32 years, and I've never been particularly fond of my own voice. Yet others rave about it - go figure! All I can say is that when I sing, I just go for it, and pour my heart into every word. I sort of see it like being on a bike going down a hill and just letting go of the brakes. It can be a wild ride, but quite exhilarating!
  • Mellissa from Laguna Beach, CaKevin from NJ, I LOOOVVVEE your comment. 15 yrs. ago, I was in a not so successful, but "real"signed, touring, and album selling band. The meaning of my lyrics change daily in my mind, so I dig Dylan for holding back. True poets understand that moods change; thus, with our moods the meaning of our words change. HOWEVER, one can't deny that he has admitted "Miss Lonely" IS about Edie, so since that line is in Like a Rolling Stone, maybe the song is partly about her?
  • Lawrence from London, United KingdomJanis of Port Arthur (RIP). Dylan was very much influenced by Kerouac and in the film Renaldo & Clara visits Kerouac's grave.
  • Sasha from Perth, AustraliaThis is such a great song. That 'How does it feel?' line has an impact, you know..It's so fantastic and all :-D
  • Lennon from Lverpool, United Kingdompeople who dont know that the songs about sedgy, need to sort there head out, ask bob, he blushes, we spke to the man thats what the songs about, she was a queen and he tryed to save her and faylled, warholl needs to be done over the twat,,,
  • David from Lawren, MaA Rolling Stone is also a slang for Wanderer...the song is about those in the Diaspora after 1945.
  • Bret from Chicago, IlThis song is absolutely about Edie Sedgwick and how the sadistic homosexual Andy Warhol used her and took her apart piece by piece until she was completely penniless, addicted, and vacant. Warhol resented the fact that Edie came from old money. Dylan tried to warn and save her but she would not believe him.
  • Job from Henderson, KyCheck that. "She Belongs to Me" was also recorded at Isle of Wight.
  • Job from Henderson, KyThe aforementioned version recorded for the Self Portrait album was actually recorded at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969. He played that show using the Band as his backing group.

    Two other songs from Self Portrait were also recorded at Isle of Wight. "Quinn the Eskimo" and "Minstrel Boy".
  • Kevin from Glenridge, NjI get kick out of people trying to figure out the meanings of Dylan's songs for some 50+ years. Dylan does not tell and keeps people guessing. Today's 'artists' want you to know all including the inspiration for it and at the end of the day no one cares. Most of it is crap anyway.
    Besides being the so-called genius and Voice of a generation which I would never argue, Dylan was very clever in not disclosing what his songs meant. So here we are almost 45 years later asking "what does it mean?" We can only guess and we might even be right but the only one who knows for sure is the great Mr. Dylan. As far as the hear-say I have read above attributing this person or that group or Dylan said this to a close friend I don't believe a word of it. Perhaps we will know the meanings origins and inspiration for a lot of the songs but as Harmonica says to Frank in the film Once upon a time in the West..
    "Only at the point of dying"
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaThis song is about Edie Sedgwick. She was the "It' girl in the Andy Warhol Factory crowd. She briefly had a thing with Bob or somebody from his camp. She was a "blue blood" that was getting used by Warhol becouse of her money..She died in the 70's in a very tragic way..
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyGotta love Bob Dylan; When Dylan was on CBS' '60 Minutes' and they mentioned that the song was the #1 record of all-time according to Rolling Stone mag. His response was "Yeah, and next week some other survey will have a different song as the greatest of all-time"...
  • Fred from Laurel, MdRe: the Songfact about breaking the 3-min play barrier on top-40 radio -- actually, in those days, this song was almost always truncated on the radio to the first 2 verses, and the DJ would fade it out just as the 3rd verse was starting. Once in a while, they would play the whole thing, and that was a treat! Then a little later, MacArthur Park (Richard Harris) and Hey, Jude (Beatles) would get around 7 min of airtime each. Not to mention Alice's Restaurant (Arlo Guthrie, 1967) at 18+ min!
  • James from London, United KingdomHmmm... Sorry.. I can't say I have definitive proof but I do know Marianne Faithful and I would be very surprised if it were not about her when after great success she was left homeless living in the Southbank. I understand one of the previous posts also mentions his friendship and his designs on her.
  • Paul from Memphis, TnHi All: What a great, GREAT Dylan song this is and has always been! One thing I just wanted to clear up. Someone said they thought it was Dylan who first turned the Beatles onto LSD, but actually this was in regard to pot (at the Plaza Hotel in NYC in August 1964). George and John didn't try acid until spring 1966.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnHe may not a have a stunning voice but no one can write a song like Dylan.
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiait takes a whle to gather appreciation for this song..... wen i first heard it the music as well as his voice was extremely bad, but after enough listens i realized how great this song is.... a single note ain't out of place.... and that was the magic of dylan..... though a bit overrated, this song is definitely one of the greatest ever made....
  • Tony Brown from Adelaide, AustraliaYea I know Bob's a brilliant song-writer and all that but jeeeeeeeeez he murders this song :'( I think I actually prefer "The Rolling Stones" version. I mean you can actually understand what Mick's singing about.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InWhomever this song was directed at, the meaning is timeless.
    Who has not known someone who started out as a close friend at first, who then later decided to run with another crowd, ignoring you in the bargain?
    You know, the whole "I wouldn't want my new friends to know I was ever YOUR buddy" mentality.
    Stinging accusation and reproach throughout, and that is only appropriate, musical and vocal blemishes notwithstanding.
  • Anthony from Cape May, NjType of song that just gets you walking in step down the street. A very meaningful song, about someones (or a very general statement) decline.
  • Jonathan from Las Vegas, NvThis song is DEFINATELY about Edie Segdwick. Do your research and you will also come to find this to be true. You can even watch the movie "Factory Girl" if you're still having your doubts...solves a lot of questions.
  • Regie from Napier, New ZealandBob Dylan. an artist.. a poet
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceA record which shattered the conventions of rock and roll radio, not just in its length (6:09!) but its very structure -- Dylan had electrified his rambling folk epics, and the result was, well, electriying, especially since his lyrics were turning bitter commentary (here, possibly directed at Edie Sedgwick) into actual poetry. It led Dylan to boast that he had killed Tin Pan Alley. He was right.
  • Nady from Adelaide, AustraliaI heard this song was about Edie Sedgewick....I could be wrong but it's pretty convincing.
  • Scott from Boston, MaAlso, The Stones' version on Stripped is great. Much better than Hendrix's cover at Monterey in my opinion.
  • Jacko from Atlanta, GaOk, This is definitely one of the best songs ever written. And it has to be a lot deeper than what everyone else is saying.

    C'mon People. One of the best songs ever has to have alot of meaning
  • Scott from Boston, MaThere's no doubt in my mind that this song is about Brian Jones. Dylan and Jones were very close friends and Dylan recognized that Jones was an outcast from the band he created. I'm reading "Old Gods Almost Dead" (about the Stones) right now and these lyrics follow Brian Jones' journey too perfectly for it to not be about him.
  • Paulo from Toronto, OnThis is a great song. It has lyrics that can be related to and can touch emotions. Even though stairway to heaven is a good song i don't think it's better than this.
  • Mike from Brookfield, Ctbob dylan is bob dylan he makes a lot of snotty remarks in some of his songs that the people who are the target of his wraith know he is singing to them . springstien, peter paul and mary,the byrds,the beatles,and so many more entertainers have said repeatedly that like a rolling stone made every thing after it possible. dylan is singing this song in the same vein as positively 4th street,its all over now baby blue,idiot wind, and many more songs. throughout his illustrious career he has shown a sharp tongue to reporters andstantions of people who are stuck in their genre of music and lash out at dylan for forcing them into areas they are not comfortable in dylan is like a daredevil who always wants to keep changing to suit his particular mood at a certain time. dylan does not have the best voice but has the best message to share,sometimes you wonder if he changes ways or words in presenting a song to the public eg.listen to his bootleg volume1-3 . other great songs that he recorded but never put on an album ,my favorite is angelina,blind willie mctell,series of dreams,oops i was only supposed to name my to conclude dylan has touched every one differantly and each has his or her favorite dylan song he seems to change with the times(what a great name for a song m320753
  • Andy from Pittsburgh, PaStairway to Heaven was a better song
  • Andy from Pittsburgh, PaThis was a good song, but not #1 by any means. Top 10-sure but there are better songs. Besides, I doubt that it's a coincidence that Rolling Stone mag made this song#1 of all time. For ten years and more, various radio stations did Memorial Weekend Top 500 Countdowns; Stairway to heaven, Freebird, and Turn the page usually finished in the top 3. I don't remember Bob Dylan claiming the #1 spot.
  • Jennie from New York, NyI would nearly swear I heard him say in an interview on the bbc many years ago that when he wrote that song he was talking to himself and that he did that alot in those days
  • Felipe from Guayaquil, EcuadorThe man who plays the organ didn't now how to play organ, but he was a musician. He insisted and played it while they where recording the song, that's why he was 1/8th note behind everyone else. Dylan listened it in the recording studio and he liked it.
  • Tom from Cleveland, OhFor years, I enjoyed this song on its own merit not trying to overanalyze while other times thought it was about society in general. However, when I saw the movie 'Factory Girl' about Edie Sedgewick and Andy Warhol, I realized it was a very personal song about them and the anger expressed toward them was how he felt. This was no social commentary with hidden or mysterious meanings. The raw words told Edie's story and the experiences with Warhol and his Factory. It's incredible that such a famous song would have such a personal origin.
  • Karen from Houston,To me, the lyrics of Like A Rolling Stone are among the least obscure he's ever written, so it's funny to me to read people saying "the words don't mean anything," etc. Not a put-down, okay? Just an observation. One of my favorite things about this song is the incredibly catchy, creative, and well-crafted rhyme scheme. I'm 49 and was alive (though pretty dang young) when it came out, and I've listened to it probably thousands of times. After all this time, I'm still transfixed when I hear it. To me, it's just about the perfect song -- or maybe the perfect song is one of all those brilliant songs by The Kinks ...
  • Jd from Seattle, WaBob Dylan was going to quit music before e wrote tis song. He said "It changed everything." This song was cut in half because it was too long.
  • Robert from Chicago, IlThis is the greatest song ever if you were stuck in a room for a 1,000 years and could only listen to one song, this would be the song.
  • Cold from Sydney, AustraliaIn terms of eveybody telling each other what/who this song is about well for all those ppl who say there opinion in a matter-of-fact way, you cant possibly say it like that for unless dylan told you himself, which we all know he never will, how the hell could you possibly know for sure.
    for everybody else who is just stating their opinion then i think its such a fantastic topic and so interesting to hear eveyones interpretation.
    At the end of the day we all hold this song as apart of our individual history and to have our own interpretaion of its meaning is all that should matter to us as individuals.
    By the way.....

    @Swisher, just for the record Dylan introduced LSD to the Beatles so I'm pretty sure they were friends. Also, this song is about what you believe, I think
    - Josh, Toronto

    Wrong he introduced them to pot.
  • Ian from Chicago, IlWhenever I hear it, I have to stop whatever I'm doing and experience it! It's angry/hypnotic! One of my favorites.
  • Tanq from San Francisco, Ca"who carried on his shoulder, a siamese cat" - edie sedgwick kind of looked like a siamese cat in those days.
  • Pete from Sydney, AustraliaI wonder, could this song be about Marianne Faithful? In her autobiography she mentions him trying to seduce her while in London in 65 and writing a song about her which he then tore up. She was a society girl/debutante type who was engaged to another man (John Dunbar) that Dylan thought she was wasting her time with, and marrying beneath herself. The timescale is right, as this happened during the filming of 'Don't Look Back', which also featured a sequence of him tinkering with a song on piano which seems to contain several of the 'Rolling Stone' chord progressions. Just a thought...
  • Bob from Ny, NyDylan's song Like a rolling stone is about Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and himself. Dylan along with other's tried to get Edie away from Warhol but she couldnt stay away from Warhol and the Factory. From beginning to end the description of the girl is Edie Sedgwick, look up her bio. The jugglers and the clowns are the other people in the Factory amusing her and Warhol. The mystery tramp is BOB DYLAN. You people are too stupid to live.
  • Jay from Syracuse, NyAn accident of history (or a conspiracy by Rolling Stone magazine) that this very badly written song--one of Dylan's worst--is so celebrated. I listen to this song, and marvel at what the fuss is about. The lyrics are a mess, a nasty little rant (which is being generous) and the music is so boring even Dylan tries desperately to mix up his phrasing to keep it interesting (without success). Let me be clear--I think Dylan (along with Morrissey) is the best songwriter of the last 50 years: he and the Moz are the two "rockers" whose work I can imagine human beings reading a thousand years from now (if there are still human beings). But this is embarrassing work. Contrast it with Shelter from the Storm, Brownsville Girl, Times They are a Changin' (if you want nasty rants). Like a Rolling Stone is filled with bad, amateurish "poetic" images and gratingly obvious rhymes--to Dylan what I am the Walrus (another painfully inept rant of infantile verbiage) is to Lennon. My only consolation is that maybe history's judgment will bear me out. Oh well!
  • Robert from Edmonton, CanadaThis song is about Suze Rotolo. It's the greatest break up song ever.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThis is it! The best recorded song in the last 100 years. This song carries more emotion in it than anything ever recorded, and emotion is what music is all about. Bob's lyrics are ostensibly aimed at a woman, but of course they can be interpreted more broadly to refer to a person in general or a number of people. That's my interpretation. And the emotion is so strong, I think one of the people it's aimed at is Bob, himself. Just a bit of incisive self-criticism. In any case, when this song comes around on my iPod, after over 30 years since I first heard it, it still stirs up strong emotions in me and makes me sing along out loud with heart-felt venom. And I don't even know who he's mad at! What a other song does that for you?
  • Musicmama from New York, NyTo Tommy from Philadelphia: I can understand why you love and appreciate Bob Dylan, and this song in particular. I'm a white woman who's about twice your age, but I also happen to like a lot of rap and hip hop even though some songs are full of violence and misogyny. If you like The Last Poets, Kool Moe D, Notorious B.I.G. or Kanye West, I think it's natural to like Bob Dylan. Take a look at my review of "Subterranean Home Sick Blues." In brief, "Just Like A Rolling Stone," "Subterranean" and many other Dylan songs are composed of three-beat rhyming line, which also just happens to be the basic rap form. Also, Dylan delivers those songs in a rapid-fire, almost stuttering way, much like many rappers. Then, of course, there is another similarity: Dylan and the rappers deal with the social realities of their times. So you might say that Dylan is a spiritual godfather of the rappers. But the lyrics of Dylan and the rapper have at least a 400-year history in the English language: John Skelton, a poet who wrote about a generation before Shakespeare, composed nearly all of his poems in the line I've just described.
  • Tommy from Philadelphia, PaI'm a pretty big Hip Hop Head, and I'm only 24, so a lot of you guys have been into Dylan way before I have - but as a lyricist, no matter how much I love Nas, OutKast, 2pac, etc...Bob Dylan will always be my favorite artist. This song was one of the first I ever heard when I was a little kid, and I agree that its lyrics have no particular meaning. Maybe they do to Dylan himself, but the man knew how to write a song so that it could mean a million different things to a million different people at a million different times in their million different puzzle pieces called a life. It reminds me of my freshman year of college, and it also reminds me of my first year out of college and really on my own, grinding just to be able to afford a meal, and reflecting on different perspectives I've had about certain things throughout life. Dylan is seriously the illest person I've ever witnessed.
  • Matilde from Torino, ItalyI think this song is about when you feel lost. Everybody feel lost once in their life. Maybe Bob felt like this. It's a great song; it doesn't matter what He meant, it matters what it means for you. I always listen to this song when I feel bad: it's great because anybody can be that girl
  • Josh from TorontoAlso, it's a brilliant song, and Hendrix does a nice cover
  • Josh from Toronto@Swisher, just for the record Dylan introduced LSD to the Beatles so I'm pretty sure they were friends.
    Also, this song is about what you believe, I think
  • Solfa from Tehran, Iranwikipedia :
    'However, Dylan is widely believed only to have begun to associate with Sedgwick in the fall of 1965, after "Like a Rolling Stone" was recorded. Joan Baez was considered another possible target of Dylan's words.'

    also notice :
    the ROLLING STONE magazine top500 songs ever :
    1. bob dylan : like a ROLLING STONE
    2. the ROLLING STONEs : satisfaction .
  • Bill from St. Paul, MnFor a great description of what this song is all about, all you need is Martin Scorsese' film "No Direction Home". Al Kooper on organ was a last second decision; he was primarily a guitar player, but with the late great Mike Bloomfield in the session, there was no way he would pick up a guitar, so he snuck in to play organ, an instrument he never played before in his life (he played a little piano at one point). Tom Wilson didn't like it, but Dylan insisted, "More organ!" An argument insued, and Wilson was fired from the project, and Bob Johnson took over.

    The overall looseness of the session (or any Dylan session for that matter) was a reflection of Dylan's dislike for rehersals in general. His philosophy was to just put the band in the studio, roll the tape, start playing, and let the chips fall where they may. It just goes to show how sharp the guys he picked to play with were.
  • Michael from Oregon City, OrI've listened to and loved this song for over forty years. now when i here it all i can picture is paris hilton
  • Dylan from Branson, Mothe Rolling Stones used this in their bridges to Babylon tour as a tribute to Bob Dylan.
  • Sunny from KowloonThink the man didn't foresee what would happen in the next few years when he wrote this epic, like the summer of love, flower children, Woodstock and all that. Here it's all about a bleak picture of his fellow boomers being uprooted from their suburban homes, falling from grace to living rough like tramps, beggars ...

    Ten years later, a guy hailing from Freehold, NJ wrote another epic as a make-or-break sequel to this one, but on a more desperate or urgent note ending in "Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!"

  • Rose from Martinez, CaIt doesn't really matter what anyone claims is the "official" meaning of any song, by Dylan or anyone else. It's what it means to you personally; that's what great poetry is all about. This song had so much meaning for me because I grew up in the 60s when kids were dropping out and turning on. That's what Dylan did, Big Time. I went to a Catholic girls' high school in L.A., tried college in Washington State, dropped out; went back to Hollywood, staring living on the streets when I was 19, did the Hippie thing, hitchhiked up to Berkley in '69, pandandled, got busted, did drugs, etc. That's what this song means to me: it's about the social changes of the early 60s; middle-class kids abandoning the rigid rules of their parents. Thank you,
  • Hannah from St.louis, MoI am doing a project in my literature class about how this song relate to Holden Caufield from Catcher in the Rye. The similarities are pretty evident, but probably not intentional.
  • Keir from Aberystwyth, WalesThe reason for Al being an eigth note behind the rest of the band was because he didnt really know the song having only witnessed a few unsuccessful recording attempts on the day, he hadnt been at any of the sessions where Bob was showing everyone the song. He didnt want to mess it up because he snuck in under the producers nose, so he waited that fraction of a second to make sure he had the right chord.
  • Steven from West Carrollton, OhAs a matter of fact, Mindy of Australia, yes I do... along with "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" and "All Along The Watchtower", this song speaks to me. I think this is my song- I don't know, but I think it just seems to represent my personality in a way...
  • Mindy from Brisvegas, AustraliaThe first time I listened to this song was when I was six and I loved- I wasn't too sure why I did...I just did. Time passed and I didn't listen to it for years, but a couple of years ago I listened to it again and appriciated it for it's true value. I still love this song...but through the great music and singing you hear the lyrics- the lyrics are deep to say the least. I find to be angry, even spiteful...and wonder why, as a six year old, they spoke to me... Any thoughts?
  • Allen from Bethel, AkI think the song "The Village Green Preservation Society" by The Kinks copied the sound of this song. Listen to it, it will hit you immediately.
  • Marisa from Boonton, United StatesIf you really want to stretch the meaning of this song, you can kind of say that Bob Dylan predicted the future of America. He was seen with Allen Ginsberg a couple times, so mocking America makes some sense.

    The first verse talks about some girl who must?ve been quite wealthy or popular. Someone who?s high up on the social scale. It talks about how that girl is no longer wealthy and doesn?t like having to ?be scrounging for [her] next meal.? Scrounging, of course, meaning begging or borrowing. Now, America used to be great in the beginning. But now, she?s relying on other countries to make her reputation. She?s relying on other countries for the things she needs.
    The second verse tells about how this lady was in the finest school but would only get ?juiced in it.? America, being part of the U.N. is always being called upon to help its fellow nations when they?re in need. The girl swore she?d never compromise with the mystery tramp, but now she?s gonna make a deal with it. Well, America swore she would never get involved with Iraq or Iran again. Well, there she is. Negotiating for natural resources and trying to ?make peace.?
    The jugglers and clowns are like the U.S. citizens. Everybody is constantly giving and giving to America and all America does is take from them. America was chillin with the other leading countries of the world. But now, everybody can see that they?re all corrupt. Everybody sees that their peacemaking attitude was just a cover-up. These countries constantly robbed each other of everything. Money, Soldiers, sympathy, & time.
    America has to hand over her crown. She is no longer a princess. All of her people are slowly coming to realize what?s going on. In the beginning, America pitied those countries that didn?t have much and would go to war over everything. But now, she?s joining those countries. She has no choice because that?s all that?s left for her to do. Everybody knows everything about her. Her reputation is ruined and nobody cares. She?s just another face now.

    It says in the "Song Facts" section how the song was based on the expression "A rolling stone gathers no moss." America keeps moving, we aren?t stopping to do something. We?re constantly fighting or helping another country re-build. In doing this, we?re getting nothing out of it but a reputation. A bad one.
  • Kurt from Flemington, NjIf you like this song listen to his Ballad of a Thin Man...great lyrics that make you think about the meaning and adapt it for yourself.
  • Mike from Germantown, MdTo Lucus, Mount Airy, NC, his name was Al Kooper.
  • Matt from Pottstown, PaIt a perfect song. Everyone goes though this once in their life. It's one of his best.
  • Mandy from Australia, United StatesWOW! this song is so amazing. It really reminds me of someone i know and thats what spoke to me the most. I have heard this song repeatedly since i was young but i never heard the lyrics. Bob is amazing everyone knows that, i am only 16 but i respect his music much more than i do of any modern band or singer. Its a tricky song to understand but really listen to the lyrics its so meaningful!
  • Swisher from Pepsi, AlTo whomever said The Beatles were better than Bob Dylan: It's like comparing scissors and a letter openner.

    The Beatles changed the way music was played. Even Dylan said The Beatles were the way music was going to go. They put more energy into their sound, rather than their lyrcistic value.

    Bob Dylan on the other hand, wrote powerful lyrics. I think it was The Beatles who convinced him to "plug it in".

    They inspired each other. I believe Dylan and Harrison were friends, and Dylan convinced him to play at the Concert for Bangledesh.
  • Kyle from Vancouver, CanadaIf you listen closely to the version on No Direction Home, at the beggining someone in the crowd yells 'Judas' to Dylan. He replies by saying 'I don't believe you, you're a liar' and turns around to tell the band to 'Play f*cking loud'. It would appear that this is in reference to being a traitor to the Folk music community and switching to an electric guitar.
  • Mike from Scarsdale, NyI thought that "Just Like A Woman" was about Edie Sedgwick... oh well
  • Noel from Toronto, Cai think that it is a good song with good lyrics that really i think sends a good message. but y would he chose that kind of a message.
  • Jonathan from TorontoI think Satisfaction and like a rolling stone are both good songs, but Stairway to Heaven is the best rock and roll song of all time in my books. Jimmy Page's solo is amazing in it (I can't decide if this is my favourite solo or if David Gilmour's solo in the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb is my favourite). As well I like how John Bonham doesn't come in until halfway through the song, it changes is up. As well, I like stairway to heaven because it is not repetetive in any way.
  • Tom from East Lyme, CtHmmmm....ROLLING STONE magazine thought LIKE A ROLLING STONE was the greatest song ever? hmmm.......
  • Alexander from Kiensiflodikov, IcelandI love the Stones but Stanley, I dont think that the Rolling Stones are close to the same class of excellence that Bob Dylan is
  • Kyle from Vancouver, CanadaThe soundtrack that accompanies the new documentary: No Direction Home is awesome. It includes a whole bunch of notes from people who were inside the studio for many of the recordings. And the live version of 'Like A Rolling Stone' which is amazing.
  • Ed from Forge Hill, KyI was a DJ working at a small (AM daytime, 1KW transmitter) radio station when Like a Rolling Stone was released. I was amazed at the length, usually a "Top 40" chart was at the most 2:30 or 2:45 in length. Like A Rolling Stone, our copy anyway, showed 7:00 for the play time. I wonder if anyone ever wondered why it always played at the same time on my show. I used the seven minutes of time to make a quick trip to the bathroom and clear the news wire!
  • Lucus from Mount Airy, NcThe organ riffs throughout the song were played by someone - the musician's name escapes me at the moment - who had never even touched a keyboard before.
  • Lucus from Mount Airy, NcActually, it might be argued that the song's lyrics are directed toward Dylan himself, as his sense of having "no direction home" was great after being alienated from the mainstream folk music scene. In many ways, Bob is turning his cunning knack for observation inwards, at himself.
  • Lucus from Mount Airy, NcBob Dylan has to be one of the most, if not, the most prolific songwriter of his or anyone else's time.
  • Kyle from Orlando, Fli though the title was from muddy waters Papa was a rollin stone not hank williams.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScAccoustic or electric! Bob Dylan's great!! I think Bob Dylan is a great songwriter, and I'm not sure the Beatles are the best but they are both great artists. I think Bob Dylan's songs are great because they have lyrics that people can relate too, and he writes with honesty. As far as being number 1 on the top 500 list, this song is a great choice.
  • Garrett from Prince George, CanadaDont get me wrong I like Led Zeppelin but I agree with Jim they are overrated. As for Stairway to Heaven the only thing it should be rated #1 for is being the most overrated song of all time. But Hotel California could give it a run for its money too. Anyway this is a great song by the best SONGWRITER of all time.
  • Jordan from Shokan, Nyim kinda surprised that this was #1 on rolling stones magazine 500 greatest songs, but it is a great song. maybe im not that surprised. i think maybe this couldve been #2 after stairway to heaven, which was only number 31! wahh??? lol, thats crazy. this wasnt a stab at dylan, i love em.
  • Jim from Philadelphia, PaHaha. I like Led Zeppelin, but they are way overrated. I mean, who are you trying to kid. Plant and Page better songwriters than Bob friggin Dylan. Adn also, Bob Dylan may be no songbird, but neither was Robert Plant.
  • Maurice from Philly, PaI'm 15 and a huge Dylan fan. My sister's english class had to listen to this song and give an analysis note: I noticed all these comments about Andy Warhol ect but mine is more general.
    The girl was rich and dressed and acted like a snob. The people tried warning her that if kept up her bahvior karma would catch up to her. She went all these nice school but all she did was party, and now shes a drop out living on the streets. The mystery tramp is a hooker. And now the girl is consulting the hooker trying to get a job for some money. But the guy thats about to buy sex after her isnt an excuse for were shes ended up. "Do you want to make a deal" means selling herself to the john. She never realized that people would jump through hoops for her. Chrome horse means a nice car and dipolmat is a hot shot boyfriend. Meaning she used to drive a nice car and have a big time boyfriend and now shes about to do an "act" as a hooker, and this man is about to take all her diginity from her. (Everything he could steal Shes thinking about all the like frat boys she used to know party and wasting money because they can, and now she's gonna "pawn her diamond ring" aka sell herself to the john. Now she go to her pimp whenever he calls her because she has nothing else to lose

    Again this is just an interaption, I didn't call up Bob and ask him so it isnt 100% right
  • Bill from Dallas, TxNo, this song definetly needed to be on the top 3 for greatest songs on the ROLLING STONE magizine article. But, i think Stairway to Heaven should've been first, Like A Rolling Stone second, and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction by the rolling stones, thats how it should be.
  • Don from Newmarket, CanadaAl Kooper (organ player on LARS) had never played the organ before. He arrived at the session to play guitar but once he heard Mike Bloomfield play, he put away his instrument and slid into the organist's seat when it was empty.
  • Alan from Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaWhat can be said about Dylan? This song is arguably the greatest rock song ever, though I think "American Pie" is better. Speaking of "American Pie" and Dylan. Did you know Dylan saw Buddy Holly in concert in Duluth Minnesota one week before his tragic death. When receiving a Grammy for an album he mentioned being 6' away from the stage and that Holly has stayed with him throughout his career.
  • Dan from Lee, NhThe organ on this is so cool and man the vocals are amazing.
  • Linus from Hamilton, On, CanadaIs it about someone who was once doing good, but now has no money? "Having to be scrounging your next meal"? Anyone else get the same vibe?
  • Galina from New London, CtI love this song, and so do my friends, my dad,etc. Some of my classmates can play it on their electric guitars almost perfectly. My science teacher spazzes (sp?) out when someone plays it, granted, he is already sort of an energetic and highstrong teacher...
  • Maya from Cal, United Statesi love this song, the stones do an awesome version of it..
    dylan is a great lyricist but his voice isn't anything great, and how can you say the beatles write superhuman lyrics that are better than dylan? lol
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhJeanette, I agree Dylan sounds better electric.
  • Dan from Omaha, NeAs a high school student in the 60's, my English teacher saw fit to study the lyrics of exactly two artists. One was Bob Dylan, the other was Neil Young. It was interesting how many different "meanings" were found in the same lyrics. This song was one of the best for that. And I think Dylan wanted it that way; he has never wanted a "standardized" meaning for his work. He would probably say "it means what it means." Truly one of the greatest lyricists of all time.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai actually like dylan better electric than acoustic...thats just me though. i'm a led zeppelin freak.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Caprobably partly voted first in rolling stone magazine because of the title, but thats still a great choice!!
  • Jackie from Coatbridge, ScotlandQuite rightly voted the No1 song ever in Rolling Stone magazine.To put it simply Bob is the best songwriter/poet the world has ever seen by a mile.As for his voice,i think its sublime.It suits his songs like no other voice could.
  • Nathan from Defiance, OhDylan doesn't sing in the popular style intentionally. His influence were gritty voiced folk heros like Woody Guthrie, and Hank Williams. Folk songs and most Blues songs for that matter, are supposed to be sung that way, not crooned like Sinatra does. Dylan's songs work because he doesn't have a awe-inspiring voice, but the voice of a common man.
  • Bryant from Ottawa, Canadaalatriel and John... I'm sorry, but you are both wrong. Led Zeppelin are the best song writers of all time. The Beatles were excellent, they are a close second, but nothing compares to the Page/Plant combo of Zeppelin not to mention the best rythym section to ever live(BONZO AND JONSEY KICK ASS). As for Dylan, hes an terrific song writer and I do like his version of this song better than any other, but for the love of God can he ever not sing! I understand that people like him for that (same with Neil Young), but damn it gets annoying after a while. Nothing against this song though, it's top 15 material.
  • Christa from Seattle, WaI always thought this was about Edie Sedgwick. When she came to New York she came from a really rich but isolated family. She had a lot of money but no knowledge of the big city. I think after he met her he wrote this song. Also later when he wrote "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" he says "with your pocket-books well protected at last."
  • Kika from Nyc, Nywhy was this number one on rolling ston'es top 500 songs? i think there are quite a few better songs.
  • Meagan from Bala Cynwyd, PaThis song is based on Bob Dylan's relationship with Edie Sedgwick, who was Andy Warhol's factory girl. Dylan even references Warhol in the song as "Napoleon in rags". Also about Edie - "Just Like A Woman".
  • Daniel Roberto DÃ?az from Panama City, OtherThe song has nothing to do with the "Rolling Stones" the band, it's a about a girl, come on people.
  • Nathalie from Laguna, CaIn the movie the 60's I have to say uses this song perfectly.

    1)a teenage girl is going through intense labour and is cryign and screaming and asking for her mother.
    2) a guy is at vietnam and gets a rage of energy and starts shooting viet cons
    3) a young black boy whose father is accediently shot, by a white cop lies lifeless in his son's arms, after resolving a fight.
  • Jerry from Toronto, CanadaTo: John from Boston,MA
    You gotta be kidding me i love the beatles, theyre the best rock n roll group i have ever listened to ( and listen to alot of groups), but how can you say theyre better lyrically than bob dylan? Thats like saying a peasant is wealthier the a king, it makes no sense. Dont get me wrong i love the beatles but the Beatles were very inspired by bob dylan, and john lennon himself once said that he is astonished by his work when he heard "subtareanean homesick blues" he thought it was so amazing that he could never match it. ( i dont know the exact quote but im sure you can find it if you search the web a bit)
  • C from No., EnglandThe way Dylan sings this, you just know he knows exactly how the girl is feeling to be alone. You really "beleive".
  • Mark from Hereford, EnglandI'd hate to have been the person this song was written about. Just about the greatest musical put-down ever. Ouch!
  • Calvin from Kyle, Txlove this song. its great. totally awesome.
  • Alejandro from Mexico D.f., Mexicoone of the best songs of all time... no doubt about it. My father (51) uses to say that in the sixties, young people didnt believe in God or in anything else... but they believe in bob dylan...
  • John from Nowhere, SwedenActually, both The Rolling Stones(band) and The Rolling Stone(magazine) got their names from an old Muddy Waters song called "Rollin' Stone"

    Also, this song was voted the number one greatest song of all time by The Rolling Stone(magazine) in their "Top 500 greatest songs of all time" list.
  • Kat from Manchester, EnglandG.Henry, even though they have nothing to do with each other it is an odd coincidence. That's all he was suggesting, don't be so pompous.
  • Richard from Versailles, KyI love this song along with a simple twist of fate
  • Marti from Belleville, IlI am dating myself by saying I was 12/13 when this song first came, it's still rings true today as it did the first time I ever heard it. I still hope someday soon to hear him live before i finish my rent on this planet.
  • Eric from Cincinnati, OhThe lyrics made the original good, but the Rolling Stones made the song great! If you've never heard their version (on the "Stripped" album or, better yet, live) you've never heard the song. I rarely like remakes more than the original, but they made the song truly come alive.
    On another subject, "Rolling Stone" magazine may have named it the #1 rock & roll song of all time, but they also named a song by The Rolling Stones as #2. Call me cynical, but doesn't that seem a little self-aggrandizing?
  • Scott from Chicago, Ilevery time I try to sing this at karaoke I clear
    the bar out......I've been given drinks NOT to
    sing this song at karaoke.
  • Tony from St. Cloud, MnBy far the greatest song ever written. What else can really be said? I do wish we knew the person he was talking about, there has never been an absolute answer and there probably never will be.
  • Taylor from Austin, TxI like the song. Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but I can't stand Bob Dylan's singing voice....except on this song. Again don't take this the wrong way. He's a great harmonica and guitar player, I just don't like the sound of his voice.
  • Luis from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI loved this song,everithing is just perfect,the lyrics and the music. Wy cant we have musicians like bob or page or clapton now,wat happened to creative people?!
    wat happened to those songs that could change aor lives like "stairway to heaven" or "like a rooling stone",in my opinion all actual bands are a complete disaster(exept for"patricio rey y sus redonditos de ricota")
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruAwesome song with awesome lyrics. I love the last verse, especially the "You used to be so amused/ at Napoleon in rags and the language that he used/ Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse/When you aint got nothing, you got nothing to lose" part. Bob Dylan proved you didn't have to be an excellent player or singer to make excellent music.
  • Melissa from Baltimore, MiI love this song, but not just this song in particular,all of bob dylans poetry (music) the funny thing is I remember seeing on TV one day Bob singing this song with...haha..the rolling stones----baltimore, MD
  • Joe from Brisbane, AustraliaI think this song does have to do with someone falling from high society, but with links to drugs. My father points out the 'You used to laugh about/Everybody that was hangin' out' line as a reference to people who are craving for drugs. Now that the subject of the song is no longer in high society, they can't get drugs as easily and so the next few lines ('Now you don't talk so loud/Now you don't seem so proud/About having to be scrounging for your next meal.') fit with that. Any comments or ideas?
  • Dylan from Tualatin, Orits a great song, thats all I can really say
  • John from Boston, MaI am sorry but The Beatles were the greatest song writers of all-time. Bob Dylan isn't bad, but the Beatles were just superhuman.
  • Blind Boy Grunt from Anywhere, LaYeah, Jimi's version is pretty groovy. It's not as good as Bob's, but I dig it. At one point of Jimi's performance it's pretty funny--he messes up the lyrics and in the middle of the song says "Yeah, I messed the words up, but it's alright."
  • Blind Boy Grunt from Anywhere, LaJeff, I think you are the only one man. His voice may not be polished and pretty, he sings with emotion and power. His songs are not meant to be sang by anyone else. Listen to some of his songs as performed by Peter, Paul and Mary or by The Byrds. Their versions are too clean and they try to be more perfect. Dylan's voice, though not polished, is awesome. It emphasizes his lyrics and makes you think about what he has to say. A lot of times, especially on songs from Bringing It All Back Home, his voice is so powerful that it sends chills up your (or at least my) spine. Rock on Bob.
  • Evan from Chapel Hill, NcCheck out Jimi Hendrix's version of this song from the Monterey International Pop Festival. Along with having Jimi's signature guitar style and great vocals, he puts a blues tinge into it. My favorite song of all time.
  • Mark from Perth, Australiaok i admit bob dylan doesn't have the best voice in the world but this song is truly brilliant and i agree it should be at least top 10
  • Jeff from Detroit, MiMaybe i'm the only one, but bob dylan's voice is so annoying that i can't even listen to his music, "brilliant" or not. Also, this song shouldn't have been caught dead near the top of any 500 best songs of all time list.
  • Hannah from Lacrosse, WiBob Dylan is the most brilliant songwriter of our time.

  • Ace from Las Vegas, NvRated #1 song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine (December 2004)
  • Janis from Port Arthur, TxI've heard that Bob Dylan was influenced by Jack Kerouac's ''on the road''
  • Josh from North Cape May, NjI think this song is about the 60's generation, and the lifestyle during that time. He was writing a song about the end of that generation, and how it was "like a rolling stone", on its way out. I don't think it has anything to do with the Rolling Stones.
  • Freddy from Lebanon, Pathis comment is purely based on things that I have heard and not from my own ideas...but i heard that this song has no reference to the Rolling Stones whatsoever.
  • Alatriel from Lothlorien, OtherBob Dylan is the most brilliant songwriter of our time.
  • Danny from Grass Valley, CaBob's Ballad of a Thin Man is also about Brian Jones, whom Dylan was good friends with and went to great lengths to get a rise out of the paranoid guitarist
  • Danny from Grass Valley, CaBob Dylan has admitted to friends and once in concert that Like a Rolling Stone was meant for Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones
  • Stanley from Auckland, New ZealandThe Rolling Stones all saw this song to be a salute to themselves from Bob but had to wait 30 years to have their own version of the song recorded, albeit a live cover version.
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