Birth of the greatest song of all time captured on film?

Words By: Sam Pethers & Roland Ellis | May 4th, 1965

Birth of the greatest song of all time captured on film?

50 YEARS AGO, Bob Dylan enjoyed a day off between UK tour shows. He had returned from Leicester to London, where he and his entourage were staying at the Savoy Hotel.

Far from being an unproductive rest day, Dylan spent part of his time in the alley beside the Savoy shooting the now famous film clip for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Joining him in the alley was filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, poet Allen Ginsberg, and pal Bobby Neuwirth.

Dylan’s productivity didn’t stop there, however; as per the video below, Bob also spent part of his day off playing guitar and singing along with friends Joan Baez and Neuwirth. During a rendition of Leon Payne’s “Lost Highway”, Dylan arrives at what he thinks is the end of the song only to be reminded by Neuwirth, “Oh, no no no, there’s another verse”. Neuwirth then cues Dylan with the opening line of the missing verse, “I’m a rolling stone”; and Bob responds, “Oh, yeah”, before he continues singing.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that only a few weeks later, while holed up in the Roger Smith Hotel, Washington D.C., Dylan penned the lyrics to his most famous song, “Like a Rolling Stone”. Then again, maybe it’s not. Perhaps what Pennebaker’s film captures in the above scene is not just an inconsequential sing along between friends, but instead, the planting of a seed that would spawn what Rolling Stone magazine dubbed, “the greatest song of all time”.

Listen below to both Leon Payne & Hank Williams' versions of "Lost Highway."


Throughout the duration of Dylan's tour in England, we will be bringing you updates as they happened 50 Years Ago, so be sure to check back to Gaslight Records regularly.

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