Percy's Song

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Percy's Song" is a song written by Bob Dylan. It was an outtake from October 1963 sessions for Dylan's third album, The Times They Are A-Changin'. It was not officially released until 1985, on the compilation Biograph. In the notes to that album, Dylan credits Paul Clayton for the song's "beautiful melody line."[1][2][3] He had played "The Wind and the Rain" to him, a variant of "The Twa Sisters", Child ballad 10.[4]

Dylan wrote the song from the point of view of a narrating character.[1] The song relates the story of a fatal car crash and a subsequent manslaughter conviction and 99-year sentence in Joliet Prison that is handed down to the driver (a friend of the first-person narrator). The narrator goes to ask the sentencing judge to commute his friend's sentence which he considers too harsh, but the sentence stands. The story of the hard-hearted judge is reminiscent of the Child ballad Geordie.[5]

Joan Baez performs "Percy's Song" in the film Dont Look Back.[6] The British folk rock group Fairport Convention recorded "Percy's Song" on their third album, Unhalfbricking.

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bob Dylan, quoted by in the note on "Percy's Song", liner notes to Biograph, Columbia Records, 1985.
  2. ^ Keys to the rain: the definitive Bob Dylan encyclopedia, Oliver Trager, Billboard Books, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8230-7974-2
  3. ^ The formative Dylan: transmission and stylistic influences, 1961-1963, Todd Harvey, Scarecrow Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-8108-4115-4
  4. ^ "If There's an Original Thought Out There, I Could Use It Right Now: the Folk Roots of Bob Dylan", Matthew Zuckerman, 1997. [1], #14
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bob Dylan: a descriptive, critical discography and filmography, 1961-1993, John Nogowski, McFarland, 1994 ISBN 978-0-89950-785-9

External links[edit]