Sixth Avenue Heartache

Album: Bringing Down The Horse (1996)
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  • Lead singer Jakob Dylan wrote this in 1988 when he was only 18 years old. He considers it to be his first real song. Part of the song is about some time that Jakob spent in New York City, and the things he witnessed.
  • This was the first video and single released off of Bringing Down The Horse. It was originally written for The Wallflowers first CD, but the record company wouldn't let them include it with the album.
  • Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played the slide guitar part. There is a connection here: Jakob's dad, Bob Dylan, played with Tom Petty in The Traveling Wilburys. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also toured with Dylan in 1986, and Dylan helped write "Jammin' Me."
  • Producer T-Bone Burnett is the one who wanted Campbell to play on this. Campbell didn't have time to come to the studio, so Burnett sent him the tape, which had some open tracks along with the basic rhythm track. Mike has a studio in his house, and one afternoon when he had a few hours to spare, he plugged in his guitar, came up with a few parts, doubled a couple of things, and got a sound he liked. He sent the tape back to Burnett, and the next thing he knew, Burnett called to tell him it came out really good, and the song was on the radio with his tracks. He never even met the guys in The Wallflowers.
  • Mike Campbell told us: "I really like the one guitar line in there, it was very George Harrison sounding and I was real proud of it when I got the sound in the studio, so I was glad they used it. The funny thing is, later, I ran into George. He had a real whimsical, cynical kind of thing - he looked at me and goes, 'You know, I heard that record on the radio - you're doing me now?' He said it with a little chuckle." (Read more in our interview with Mike Campbell.)
  • The video was shot in New York City by David Fincher. Predominantly a movie director, Fincher has directed films such as Seven, The Game, Fight Club, and the third installment of Alien.
  • Pointing out how David Fincher came to direct the video, Jakob Dylan said: "You know, I don't exactly remember how it happened. He just got a tape before the record was out. He got a preview of the record - an advance copy. He had heard that this was going to be the new single, and he actually called us and said he was interested in doing it, if we were interested. So we thought about it and we were like, what else have you done."
  • Adam Duritz of Counting Crows provided backing vocals. Duritz and Dylan became friends in the early '90s when Duritz was working as a bartender at The Viper Room in Los Angeles.
  • This was used in the Friends episode "The One with the Fake Party" (1998) when Rachel shows up in her old cheerleading uniform to get Joshua's attention.

    This was also used in the 2005 Cold Case episode "Revenge."

Comments: 16

  • T-bone from New HavenAll great songs are subject to interpretation so I'll tell you mine. When this song came out, I was dating a woman who like me was an ex-junkie. We both were certain that the "black line" Jakob was talking about referred to the darkness of addiction we'd been through. While we are no longer together, we both are still alive.
  • Mr Music from In Your HeadThis song has NOTHING to do with Bob Dylan.
  • Bob Dylan Sold His Soul from PittsburghIt is crazy how Bob Dylan admitted in an interview to have sold his soul to Satan. Maybe the dark line is the line of darkness and damnation which occurs when you sell your soul for fame and fortune. Let's hope Jakob did not follow in his father's footsteps in this regard and that he is not talking about a dark line of damnation.
  • Tim from Lakeville, MnGuys: the same black line is a guitar strap. the homeless man is his dad, Bob.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhHeard this song for the first time today, 12/29/11. Was instantly drawn to it. Had arrived at my destination but sat in the car till the song was over, it was that good. Came on Songfacts to find out what the "same black line" was, but I don't see anything here that makes sense. Altho a Google search says it is talking about the lines of written music. Maybe. Regardless, what a great song! Love the delivery of the lyrics.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlI love The Wallflowers! This whole album is awesome! Love this song too! :)
  • Katende from Kampala, UgandaActually guys, the meaning of this song is right there in the lyrics, it couldn't get better. It is about a man who lived just across the apartment that Jakob live in on the 6th Avenue, New York. This man used to sing songs that Jakob knew. This stranger also used to play them on his guitar. But one day, Jakob woke up and looked thru the window and did not see this man again. He left his things and was "gone like a midnight". What intrigued Jakob Dylan is that he connected so much to this man. He was exactly like him..that's why he sings about the same black line that was drawn on him was also drawn on Jakob. It is a heart break because he never saw this man again. Hope I have helped out.
  • Daniel from Fort Wayne, InI think this song is about Jesus. I know Jakob Dylan is spiritual and when he says "The same black line that was drawn on you, is drawn on me. And that's drawing me in" has to do with the truth. That Christ spoke the truth and people labeled him and people that believe in him have that same line. But the line draws us closer to him.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnGreat song to listen to when you are feeling blue.
  • Mack from New York, NyI was once told this song was about a woman he met on 6th Avenue. He fell in love with her, got an std, and then she left him for another woman... but that's just a rumor.
  • Frank from Brampton, Ontario, CanadaThis is such a moving and inspirational tune!
  • Alicia from Stonefort, IlThis is my favorite Wallflowers song. Jakob has a way of taking a situation and just telling you the story behind it. The harmonizing vocals are just amazing as well. I don't think that the Wallflowers get the credit that they deserve... the only way to describe their sound is real.
  • Rick from Humboldt, Iawhat an incredible song
  • Jes from Canal Fulton, Ohit's amazing how much he sounds like his dad
    great tune
  • Greg from Paris, MiJakob Dylan said that parts of it were about a homeless man who lived below his apartment and would sit there every day playing the same songs. Then one day he disappeared and his stuff was still there. After a while people started taking it and all, and it served as inspiration for this song.
  • Dave from Sydney, AustraliaThe background vocals in this song are by Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows
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