It was 48 years ago today (July 20th, 1965) that Bob Dylan released "Like A Rolling Stone." The song not only revolutionized the way pop lyrics were written and sung, but ultimately pushed the boundaries as to how long a hit single could actually be. "Like A Rolling Stone," which clocked in at 6:06, had the time listed as 5:59 on the label of the vinyl 45, in an effort to fool Top 40 disc jockeys into playing it. In August 1965 "Like A Rolling Stone" -- which was the lead track on his Highway 61 Revisited album -- peaked at Number Two in the charts, Dylan's highest charting single to date.
In 1988, when Bruce Springsteen inducted Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he spoke about the impact "Like A Rolling Stone" had on him and his generation: "The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind. . . When I was 15 and I heard 'Like A Rolling Stone,' I heard a guy who had the guts to take on the whole world and who made me feel like I had to too. Maybe some people misunderstood that voice as saying that somehow Bob was going to do the job for them, but as we grow older, we learn that there isn't anybody out there who can do that job for anybody else."
Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders says that there's no one she rates above Dylan: "Dylan, he's just the greatest songwriter of all time, I think. You could do album after album of his songs. I mean, there's so many of his songs that I'd like to do. I could just keep doing them."
In 2004 Rolling Stone magazine voted "Like A Rolling Stone" Number One in its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs."
Throughout the years, the song has been covered by the Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, the Rascals, the Turtles, David Bowie, and Judy Collins, among others.
Dylan himself has performed the song at most of his shows since 1965, often saving it for one of his encores.
The song, which originally appeared as the lead-off track on his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited, has appeared in various live versions on albums such as 1970's Self Portrait, 1974's Before The Flood, and 1978's Bob Dylan At Budokan.
Bob Dylan performs on Saturday (July 20th) in Mansfield, Massachusetts at Comcast Center.
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