Bob Dylan – The Ballad of a Thin Man (1965)

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“Ballad of a Thin Man” is a song written and recorded by Bob Dylan, and released as the final track on Side One of his sixth album, Highway 61 Revisited in 1965. Dylan recorded “Ballad of a Thin Man” in Studio A of Columbia Records in New York City, located at 799 Seventh Avenue, just north of West 52nd Street on August 2, 1965. Record producer Bob Johnston was in charge of the session, and the backing musicians were Mike Bloomfield on lead guitar, Bobby Gregg on drums, Harvey Goldstein on bass, Al Kooper on organ, and Dylan himself playing piano. Driven by Dylan’s sombre piano chords, which contrast with a horror movie organ part played by Al Kooper, this track was described by Kooper as “musically more sophisticated than anything else on the album. Kooper has recalled that at the end of the session, when the musicians listened to the playback of the song, drummer Bobby Gregg said, “That is a nasty song, Bob.” Kooper adds, “Dylan was the King of the Nasty Song at that time.”

[Dedicated to Asger Schnack]

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