It was 55 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.“
Bob Dylan's work has been analyzed for over half-a-century. He's been labeled many things by fans and the press — a poet, a prophet, and a musical genius — one thing he adamantly says he's not, is a “storyteller”: “I wouldn't really call them stories. Stories are things, which have a beginning middle and an end. My things are more like short attention span things that happen to a group or crowd of people that goes down very quickly, so, no — I wouldn't even notice it.”