Bob Dylan Has His First No. 1 Song On Any Billboard Charts – No, Really
By Bruce Haring
April 9, 2020 9:03pm
He’s survived punk, disco, a deep dive into religion, the rise of boy bands and electronica, Soy Bomb and going electric. Now, 78-year-old Bob Dylan has again shown the young kids how it’s done, scoring his first No. 1 on any Billboard chart with his 17-minute song, “Murder Most Foul.”
As hard as it is to believe, the Voice of a Generation never had a No. 1 on the Billboard charts under his own name. This time, in the increasingly fractured chart world, his musical examination of the JFK murder tops the Rock Digital Song Sales category, selling 10,000 downloads.
Dylan has hits he has written rise to No.1. His “Blowin’ in the Wind” was taken to No. 1 in 1963 by Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Byrds’ scored the top slot with his “Mr. Tambourine Man” in 1965. As strange as it seems, such classics as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” were caught short of the fence, stopping at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Lay Lady Lay” hit No. 7 in 1969.
Dylan remains a road warhorse, doing more than 60 dates per year after years of doing more than 100 per year on his Never-Ending Tour.
Black Op Radio.com (https://blackopradio.com/)
devoted an entire two hour program, which aired April 2, 2020, to Dylan’s new song. Bill Kelly, Dave Ratcliffe, and the irrepressible Jim DiEugenio, were exuberantly interviewed by the host, Canadian Len Osanic. While listening one can click on the numerous links which will direct a reader to numerous websites, such as
Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs at Dealey Plaza. The articles to which you will be linked provide many other links, to which much time has been devoted recently by this writer. (https://blackopradio.com/archives2020.html)
A good starting point is this excellent article from which excerpts are taken.
Beyond JFK: 20 Historical References in Bob Dylan’s ‘Murder Most Foul’
The 17-minute epic touches upon obscure Civil War ballads, classic movies, and even songs by the Who, the Animals, and Billy Joel
By Andy Greene
Bob Dylan fans woke up this morning to the stunning news that the songwriter had released a 17-minute epic titled “Murder Most Foul.” “Greetings to my fans and followers, with gratitude for all your support and loyalty over the years,” Dylan wrote. “This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you.”
It’s his first original song since 2012’s Tempest, though he has released three albums of cover songs associated with Frank Sinatra since then. The closest analogue to “Murder Most Foul” in Dylan’s vast catalog is Tempest’s title track, a 14-minute song about the Titanic.
“Murder Most Foul” centers around another historic tragedy: the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It’s packed with references only JFK buffs will likely recognize, like the “triple underpass” near Dealey Plaza, the removal of his brain during the autopsy, and the “three bums comin’ all dressed in rags” captured on the Zapruder film that conspiracy theorists have been obsessing over for decades. Clearly, Dylan has spent a lot of time reading books and watching documentaries about this.
As the song goes on, however, it veers away from JFK and touches upon several other historic events of the era. It’s sort of like Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” mashed up with the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” Dylan fans will be picking this one apart for years, but here are 20 non-JFK references in the song.