This Month in Music History – May 8, 1965: Filming begins on Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’

Back a long time ago, when cellphones and the internet were just a gleam in Bill Gates eye; Youtube and Google an odd tingling sensation in his pants; thoughts of Twitter forbidden; as were thoughts offing Zuckerberg and claiming Facebook as your own; the poor music fan lay adrift in a wilderness of  ignorance. They knew next to naught about their favorite musicians. Since there was no Twitter and Joey Papps and His Band of Reknowns had no way to Tweet pictures of a drunken Joey barebacking a donkey in a very non-traditional way. There was no way of find out what sort of man Mr. Papes was when he appeared at your door, wondering if could take your daughter to prom. Promo films would give the public an opportunity to, at the very least, see the face of the donkey f*cker. Bob Dylan would be among the first to use film  as a new outlet to reach fans. He would lead the charge into this new arena this month in music history, May  8, 1965.


The promo was for Dylan’s first electric single “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Gas meet fire. In truth, the promo was a part of a bigger film being made by documentary film director D.A. Pennebaker, chronicling Dylan’s controversial tour of England 1965. Dylan’s popularity in England was great so it wouldn’t be the great getaway that he may have wanted. The press would hound Dylan and ask him the same asinine questions that their American counterparts did –

I’d like to know the meaning of the cover photo on your album,Highway 61 Revisited?
What would you like to know about it?

It seems to have some philosophy in it. I’d like to know what it represents to you – you’re a part of it . . . 
I haven’t really looked at it that much.

I’ve thought about it a great deal.
It was just taken one day when I was sittin’ on the steps y’know – I don’t really remember too much about it.

I thought the motorcycle was an image in your songwriting. You seem to like that.
Oh, we all like motorcycles to some degree


By 1965, the passion for Dylan hadn’t subsided since his bolt to electric music. Looking back it is ironic that fans at the time accused him of selling out because he switched to electric guitar. In truth, an acoustic guitar could no  longer the ideas and emotions that his music began to confront. Dylan’s mind, bored and grumpy, began to rebel against simplicity. Though he had spurned the status quo, as represented by him handing in  Robert Zimmerman for Bob Dylan, he could not run forever. The status quo was back, nipping  at  his heels.

The hippest cat on the block was on the top. There was nowhere else to go.

Dylan would find one.

He took a trip, with DA Pennebaker and a movie camera. In this month in music history- 05/08/1965 – filming began for the classic film promo, that would become of the classic docufilm Don’t Look Back.