Music Monday: Bob Dylan 1989

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Bob Dylan Image One
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Now that I have access to some old Billboard magazines, thirty years ago, today, Everything Is Broken, by American singer/songwriter, author and visual artist Bob Dylan, debuted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (called Album Rock Tracks back in 1989), entering at #23. Released from the album Oh Mercy, his 26th studio album, the song is a reflection of Dylan’s detachment from his world. It peaked at number eight after eight weeks on the chart.

From Wikipedia:

The track found on Oh Mercy is an April 1989 re-working of a take recorded the previous month. Originally recorded as “Broken Days” in March 1989, Dylan had re-written the song entirely by April, giving it its current name.

In an interview with Nigel Williamson (the author of The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan) and Oh Mercy’s producer, Daniel Lanois, he described how Dylan would rework his songs over and over again:

“I sat next to him for two months while he wrote [Oh Mercy] and it was extraordinary. Bob overwrites. He keeps chipping away at his verses. He has a place for all his favorite couplets and those couplets can be interchangeable. I’ve seen the same lyrics show up in two or three different songs as he cuts and pastes them around, so, it’s not quite as sacred ground as you might think.”

Bob Dylan Image Two
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From All Dylan:

“Most of them [the songs on “Oh Mercy”] are stream-of-consciousness songs, the kind that come to you in the middle of the night, when you just want to go back to bed. The harder you try to do something, the more it evades you. These weren’t like that.”
~Bob Dylan (to Edna Gundersen, September 21, 1989)

“While it would be unfair to compare ‘Oh Mercy’ to Dylan’s Sixties recordings, it sits well alongside his impressive body of work.”
~Clinton Heylin (Behind The Shades)

[While] promoting The Traveling Wilburys in the fall of 1988, George Harrison discussed some of Dylan’s upcoming work. Harrison [was] enthused about Dylan’s new songs…informing a skeptical world that the experience of recording the Wilburys had given him the urge to write again.

[Bono], lead singer of U2, paid Dylan a visit at his home. When he asked Dylan if he had written any new songs, Dylan showed him the ones stored in his drawer. Bono urged him to record the songs but, Dylan was reluctant.

Notable Cover Versions:
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Sheryl Crow

Lyrics [via LyricFind]
Broken lines, broken strings
Broken threads, broken springs
Broken idols, broken heads
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken

Broken bottles, broken plates
Broken switches, broken gates
Broken dishes, broken parts
Streets are filled with broken hearts
Broken words never meant to be spoken
Everything is broken

Bridge: Seem like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws
Broken buckles, broken laws
Broken bodies, broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’
Everything is broken

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties, broken vows
Broken pipes, broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking
Everything is broken

7 thoughts on “Music Monday: Bob Dylan 1989

    badfinger20 said:
    October 1, 2019 at 10:37 AM

    I had to do a double-take…looked at the picture…at first glance, I thought it was Keith Richards…then looked at Bob and looked at your name…back to Bob…and then to your name… Good song by Bob.
    I’m glad they haven’t shut down the chart history of bands…yet.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 1, 2019 at 4:50 PM

      That radio history site is old school…static HTML. No scripting as I can tell. But, it is amazing.

      I figured you would see my post, rub your eyes, look again and think “SHE did a post on Dylan??? What is the world coming to…” 😆

      The shot does resemble Richards.

      Dylan is one hell of an icon. He has nearly godlike status. Unfortunately, most of his music just doesn’t appeal to me. Some of it does but, very little. Of course, with his body of work, there may be more that I am unaware of.

      I am an observer. 😉🧐🤓😎

        badfinger20 said:
        October 1, 2019 at 5:05 PM

        That is exactly what I thought! Dogs with Cats…the world is upside down!
        When I first saw Dylan….now I”m accustomed to it…it was like a reverent silence until he started…it was unlike any thing I had ever seen.

        “I am an observer” no… a “Cosmic Observer”

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          October 1, 2019 at 8:03 PM


          Cats & dogs, living together! Mass hysteria!

          True. Good point.

    the britchy one said:
    October 1, 2019 at 7:12 PM

    I never really liked Dylan until the Travelling Wilburys who I adore. I’m more open to some of his stuff now but still can’t do the wailing dirges

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 1, 2019 at 8:05 PM

      I can count on one hand the number of songs of his that I like. Just not my thing…

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