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ATTCommunityTeam

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719 Messages

Tue, Jul 7, 2020 6:21 PM

Bob Dylan Releases 17-Minute Song About JFK Assassination

For years, Bob Dylan fans have spoken in a sort of hushed awe about the longest song he ever released, "Highlands," an album side-length 1997 track that ran 16 minutes and 31 seconds. Now, 23 years later, he's slightly outdone himself. As the clock struck midnight on the east coast Friday morning, March 27, Dylan released a new song, "Murder Most Foul," that has a running time just seconds shy of the 17-minute mark — and it's an epic free association on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

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Responses

davidbk

Administrator

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378 Messages

a month ago

Personally, I think focusing on the Kennedy assassination might be missing the forest for the trees.

 

I think what the song is really about is how much people reach for pop culture as a tool to help them through times of trouble. It also, subsequently, looks at how that tool becomes a crutch that might blind those people from what trouble is actually happening.

 

While it's commonly thought that a part of the Beatles popularity was a result of Americans looking for something happy to embrace, after Kennedy assassination - this song suggests (and is not the first to suggest) that there may be unseen layers behind that assassination that remained unseen because of America's focus on the Beatles and other pop-culture icons of the day.

 

When looked at, through those lens, it's not hard to guess why Dylan released it now. I can imagine Dylan looking at the popularity of Netflix's Tiger King - at the beginning of this pandemic - as another example of this discussion over whether pop culture helps or hurts (or does both) during times of trouble.

 

Just my two cents :)

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New Member

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1 Message

23 days ago

I confess I have long been studying JFK assassination—and if you know some of the details, the song doesn’t seem rambling. For instance when he talks about a couple of bums wandering around he’s talking about something very specific from that day. And so many more references, too many to say right now. It’s an encyclopedic beautifully done masterwork IMO.

davidbk

Administrator

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378 Messages

22 days ago

That's a great point, @forkhorn.

 

His specificity reminds me of a line that ties the strings of the song together:

 

"When you’re down in Deep Ellum put your money in your shoe, don't ask what your country can do for you."

 

In that one line, Dylan touches on a section of Dallas that was known for it's nightlife in the sixties (and off-and-on, since), the song 'Deep Ellum Blues' that the Grateful Dead often performed (and Dylan once recorded, as well) and JFK's "Ask not what your country can do for you ...". 

 

Dylan pulls in a historical retelling of the times and a pop cultural touch-point while pulling them together to reference and build upon each other. Simply brilliant writing.

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ACE - Expert

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15K Messages

22 days ago

I was a just a girl playing tether ball on the playground at my school in Dallas on 11/22/63.   And while I cannot begin to analyze the meaning of BD lyrics, I can only provide insight into the events of that day.

 

Those who were not there have no idea how traumatic it was.  I didn't even realize how traumatized I was until I went with my daughter on a field trip to the Sixth Floor Museum.  She was the same age as I was when the assassination happened.

 

As an adult I had driven through the Triple Underpass many, many times, looked up at the window and saw the white X on the street.  I had even walked around Dealey Plaza and spoken to all the conspiracy enthusiasts who are there every day.  But when I saw how they had commercialized the actual window from where the shots (supposedly) rang out, it was too much.  I literally froze in place, burst into tears and ran back to the bus.  It was the only time I've ever had a panic attack.

 

That was over 20 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I've never been back and have no desire to do so.

 

So perhaps "Murder Most Foul" is BDs way of working through something he's been carrying around with him for 57 years.

 

@forkhorn  You might enjoy this podcast that analyzed The Assassination of JFK (pt.1) and Part 2

(edited)

When you're in your 60s & people ask you to do something, you just say "No".  No reason.  No excuse.  No explanation.  I can't wait for my 70s.  I don't think I'll even answer.   -  Jerry Seinfeld

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davidbk

Administrator

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378 Messages

22 days ago

@skeeterintexas,

 

I lived here for nearly a decade before a friend convinced me to go to Dealey Plaza. While I wasn’t alive in ‘63, the idea of having a Book Depository Museum always rubbed me wrong. 

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