“I Lost My One True Love” — Bob Dylan Riff (1966)

Bob Dylan gets extra-rambly in a 1966 interview with Playboy. I like to read the following riff as a surreal story-poem. If you want more context, the interviewer asks Dylan as a preamble to the ramble: “Mistake or not, what made you decide to go the rock-‘n’-roll route?”:

Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I’m in a card game. Then I’m in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a “before” in a Charles Atlas “before and after” ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy – he ain’t so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I’m in Omaha. It’s so cold there, by this time I’m robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain’t much to look at, but who’s built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything’s going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say?

3 thoughts on ““I Lost My One True Love” — Bob Dylan Riff (1966)”

  1. Very funny, Mr. Dylan. I am very glad you aren’t singing ‘Kumbaya’ and for a second act, ‘Michael Rowed The Boat Ashore’. Every body grows up some time or else decays in place. His change from folk to rock reminds me of a verse from ‘Hair’:

    “And especially people
    Who care about strangers
    Who care about evil
    And social injustice
    Do you only
    Care about the bleeding crowd?
    How about a needing friend?
    I need a friend”

    And Mr. Bob creatively grew from replicating a folk style to the rock venue and stood in the corner and played country. I needed a friend and he was there every time I dropped the lp needle in the groove.


  2. Love Minus Zero by Bob Dylan. Used here without permission of the author.

    My love she speaks like silence | Without ideals or violence | She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful | Yet she’s true like ice like fire
    People carry roses | Make promises by the hours | Yet she laughs like the flowers | Valentines can’t buy her

    In the dime stores and bus stations | People talk of situations | Read books repeat quotations | Draw conclusions on the wall
    Some speak of the future | My love she speaks softly | She knows there’s no success like failure | And failure’s no success at all

    The cloak and dagger dangles | Madams like the candles | In ceremonies of the horse men | Even pawns must hold a grudge
    Statues made of matchsticks crumble into one another | My love winks she does not bother | She knows too much to argue or to judge

    The bridge at midnight trembles | The country doctor rambles | Banker’s nieces seek perfection | Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring | The wind howls like a hammer | The night blows cold and rainy | My love she’s like some raven | At my window with a broken wing.

    thank you forever for this song.


  3. Dylan also says somewhere: ” I pray to that Lord above ‘O please send me a friend’ but my empty pockets tell me I ain’t got no friend.”


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