Sunday, August 30, 2020

Desolation Row: Take Five

1. The opening lines - "They're selling postcards of the hanging, they're painting the passports brown" - refer to three men who were in town with the circus and were accused of raping a girl in Duluth, Minnesota. On June 15, 1920, a mob broke them out of jail and lynched them. Postcards with pictures of the hanging were sold as souvenirs. 

Postcard of the Duluth lynching
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2. This is the last track on the "Highway 61 Revisited" album. It's eleven minutes long; Bob Dylan's longest song up to that point. 
3. When deciphering the meaning, remember Dylan was experimenting with LSD around the time he recorded this song.

4. This was never released as a single, probably due to its length, but the Highway 61 Revisited album went to #3 US and #4 UK.

5. Bob Dylan performed this for the first time at the Forest Hills Music Festival in Queens, New York on August 28, 1965, after he electrified the Newport Folk Festival. It was part of the acoustic set Dylan played before bringing on his electric band.

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