Charlie Pierce, Patti Smith get it right!


What Bob Dylan said:
Charlie Pierce gets it right in this brand new post. Included is Patti Smith's beautiful rendition of A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, live and direct and on videotape from the Nobel ceremonies.

Assuming Dylan was involved in this presentation, we'd say he's given his requisite lecture. It turns out to have been a spectacular, moving address.

For a slightly fuller tape of Smith's performance, you can just click here.

Did Dylan write that 1962 song in some sort of time warp? Pierce notes that the song is "suddenly relevant;" he selects a representative line.

Listening to Smith, we were struck by the sheer volume of lines ripped from today's headlines. This one jumped at us:

"I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken."

We'll also recommend these lyrics, as sung by Smith:

"I met a young man, he was wounded in love.
"I met another man, he was wounded with hatred."

We'll recommend that you avoid becoming that second young person.

("I met a young woman whose body was burning?" Everyone of appropriate age will remember the photo of the 9-year-old girl in Vietnam running down that road in so much pain. Today, we sometimes marvel at the brilliant young talkers who scold the young men of the time for having avoided that theater. That was then, but so many lines from that early song are torn directly from today's pages. For the record, that particular example of undeserved suffering occurred in 1972.)

A fantastic performance by all involved. We'll quit on it for the day.

For full lyrics: For full lyrics, click here.

"And I'll know my soul well before I start singin'?" Is that what Patti Smith said?


  1. That was Dylan's best song IMHO. Some people were not pleased with the way Patti Smith did the song. She did Dylan's song her way, which was good. Sounded good to me.

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  4. That was Dylan's best song IMHO. Some people were not pleased with the way Patti Smith did the song. She did Dylan's song her way, which was good. Sounded good to me.

  5. They are spoon-feeding Casanova
    to get him to feel more assured
    then they'll kill him with self-confidence
    after poisoning him with words

    1. What is that supposed mean? What "Casanova" is not self-assured? How is Casanova poisoned with words?
      Does this verse have any relevance to the world in which we live?

  6. "Ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken"??

    What is special about that line? Is that some superior liberal elite gibberish demeaning the good common folks? Is it timeless because it is so vague and nonsensical that it remains at a constant level of meaninglessness?

  7. "I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest

    Where the people are many and their hands are all empty"

    Why are there a lot of people in a deep forest? Have you been to a forest?--they're not crowded. But wait, their hands are all empty--so how do they live in a forest without shelter, food supplies, and sanitation (just empty hands) and still have it be a deep dark forest?

    Mysterious...or just spooky beatnik-style ramblings? More interesting than "Love Me Do?" Sure. A cryptic guide to today's headlines? Uh, no.

  8. "demeaning the good common folks" yeah that must have been it. He was only age 21 at the time. If he had stayed in school and gotten his MBA he coulda been chairman of Goldman Sachs by now...or in Trump's cabinet. And the world would now be a far better place.

  9. Was that most famous of Dylan interpreters, Joan Baez, offered the chance to perform in Stockholm? And did she reply with a big quasi-operatic "FU, BOB"?

    Too bad the Nobel committee didn't follow George Will's slightly sneering suggestion and award the prize to that other great living composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Then the Swedes could have been favored with Bernadette Peters' rendition of "Everything's Coming up Roses." Perhaps not as hauntingly prophetic but, in that grand Broadway tradition, equally rousing.

    And she still looks great in a low-cut evening gown.

    That George.

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  11. Well, John the Baptist, after torturing a thief
    Looks up at his hero, the Commander-in-Chief
    Saying, "Tell me, great hero, but please make it brief
    Is there a hole for me to get sick in?"
    The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
    Saying, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry"
    And, dropping a barbell, he points to the sky
    Saying, "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken"

    Prophetic? or crap?

    1. Who's your favorite poet?

    2. As I understand it, this blog purports to be about media criticism. Somerby hails a piece in Esquire and agrees that gems like these

      "Heard 10,000 whisperin' and nobody listenin'."

      are somehow relevant to American politics today. However, there is nowhere an explanation of how these incoherent ramblings are to be interpreted so as to inform the public on the important matters of the day. It would be nice if someone could offer even a single semi-rational principle or policy that could be guided by listening to this Nobel winner's literary production.

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