My thoughts, my personal needs have always been expressed through my songs; you can feel them there even in ‘Mr Tambourine Man’.
~Bob Dylan (to Sandra Jones – June 1981)
Even a song like Mr. Tambourine Man really isn’t a fantasy. There’s substance to the dream. Because you’ve seen it, you know? In order to have a dream, there’s something in front of you. You have to have seen something or have heard something for you to dream it. It becomes your dream then.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan – March 1985)
@ #12 on my list of Dylan’s 200 best songs. The original version from “Bringing It All Back Home” was recorded on January 15 – 1965 @ the third recording session.
….and proceeded to record the final versions of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “It’s Alright, Ma” & “Gates Of Eden” in a single take* with no playback between songs… it’s as though all three songs came out of him in one breath, easily the greatest breath drawn by an American artist since Ginsberg & Kerouac exhaled “Howl” & “On The Road” a decade earlier..
~Paul Williams (BD Performing Artist 1960-73)
*although this has been found not to be entirely true (after PW wrote his book).. It’s still a GREAT quote.
The specific Tambourine Man he had in mind was Bruce Langhorne, the magnificent multi-instrumentalist who would usher in Dylan’s electric era with some spellbinding guitar playing on Bringing It All Back Home (notably on “Mr. Tambourine Man” itself).
~Clinton Heylin (Revolution in the air)
Live at the Newport Folk Festival – 1964: