Written about the same time as Bowie's "Song For Bob Dylan
", this Ralph McTell composition comes from an entirely different direction.
The man himself wrote: "I used [Dylan's] real name to try to strip away the identity he had assumed so as to reveal his true self not what he had become and I hoped that it would be a reminder to me as well that the changes you go through are not always the best ones."
Leaving that aside, this is a song about McTell himself as much as about Dylan, and although it was written early on in his career, there were obviously some regrets along the way as per the last verse where he says if he were to do it all again he would choose 'Anything but the "Zimmerman Blues"'.
It is also possible that McTell coined the phrase, certainly he appears to have been the first to use it in any meaningful context; shortly, the song's title was shortly hijacked for a Dylan fanzine.
Alexander Baron - London, England