Talk:Like a Rolling Stone

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Featured article Like a Rolling Stone is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 8, 2011.

Themes: Edie Sedgwick and "Everyman"[edit]

The opening of the Themes section is, to be very kind, weak. The "theme" is that the song might be about someone Dylan didn't meet until after it was written, though "other sources" say he might have met her earlier (note that two significant "ifs" need to be proven). Only one source is given to support the latter of the two, and it's a BBC h2g2 posting that takes a number of fanciful leaps; for example, Dylan and Edie enjoyed visiting NYC nightspots together, and Dylan socialised frequently with Warhol. Nothing on record indicates Dylan spent any time frequenting "nightspots" in this period, let alone went out on the town with Edie Sedgwick, and there's only one account of Dylan and Warhol meeting, his sole visit to the Factory a month or so after marrying Sara. Meanwhile, out of all that Dylan has said, there's not a hint that the song is about anyone in particular, and nothing contained in the song suggests that it is. So what is the paragraph about? In my opinion, the perpetuation of a myth among some fans that reduces works filled with significant personal and social themes to soap operas. While that may not be very kind, I think it's sad that if Elliott or Keats writes a poem, it's about "everyman," but if Dylan writes a song, we're too quick to allow that it must be about one of three women. The section's second paragraph makes a similar point, an observation that's far more helpful in gaining an understanding of both the song and the artist. Allreet (talk) 20:17, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps renaming the section and rewriting the first paragraph is called for. We could change the section header name to "Inspiration" or "Inspirations". Perhaps the section is inessential as a whole, as Sedgwick's involvement as the inspiration of the song is unconfirmed and simply speculation. - I.M.S. (talk) 00:18, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Or, perhaps, along the lines of "X has speculated that the song is about y, a has speculated it's about b or c. However Dylan has never confirmed who or what the song is about" ....Then keep second paragraph (or even move to first para in section). NB How about putting a few lines of the song in the article within in lines of quoting for study purposes - quite legal, and will give the reader a flavour of the lyrics. --Richhoncho (talk) 08:13, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Allreet, I totally agree with the gist of your comment, and share your dismay that one of Dylan’s greatest works has been reduced to the level of unsubstantiated gossip. However, I don’t agree with your assertion that Dylan had no connection with Sedgwick, or with Warhol’s Factory scene. A hip New York artist, which Dylan was in late ’64 and early ’65, knew what was going on at the Factory. In George Plimpton’s biography, Edie: An American Biography, 1982, we find Dylan sidekick Bob Neuwirth saying:
“Bobby Dylan and I occasionally ventured out into the poppy nightlife world. I think somebody who had met Edie said, ‘You have to meet this terrific girl.’ Dylan called her, and she chartered a limousine and came to see us. We spent an hour or two, laughing and giggling, having a terrific time… It was just before the Christmas holidays; it was snowing and I remember we went to look at the display on Houston street in front of the Catholic church… Edie was fantastic, she was always fantastic.”
This places the meeting a month before Sedgwick met Warhol, and three months before she starred in her first Factory film, Vinyl, shot in March 1965. Sounes’s Dylan biography concludes Sedgwick was a peripheral figure in Dylan’s scene, but she went on to have a relationship with Neuwirth. Gray’s Dylan Encyclopedia concludes there is no evidence that Dylan and Sedgwick had a significant personal relationship, but “she was an interesting personality, visually memorable made more so by the air of tragedy she carried around with her: the fog, perhaps in ‘her fog, her amphetamines, and her pearls’.” Gray concludes Sedgwick had no connection with “Like a Rolling Stone”, but “there’s no doubt that the ghost of Edie Sedgwick hangs around Blonde on Blonde.” Todd Haynes’s surreal Dylan biography, I’m not There, has a long sequence about Cate Blanchett / Dylan’s relationship with a character clearly based on Sedgwick, called Coco Rivington. Patti Smith published a poem ‘Edie Sedgwick’ in 1972, which began, “Everyone / knew she was the real heroine of / Blonde on Blonde / she was white on white / so blonde on blonde”. Anyway, you’re right, Themes needs a re-write, I've tried to make a start.Mick gold (talk) 22:26, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I think the problem with the Themes section was that we somehow missed describing what the lyrics of the song were about in the article. I added an opening paragraph to the Themes section giving a general description of the lyrics and some basic commentary about what they mean from various sources (including one somewhat self-contradictory Dylan quote). I think that strengthens the section but others can take a look and see if they agree. Rlendog (talk) 04:47, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

The lyrics fit Edie-in-1966 so well that it takes a real effort to remember that they were written in May 1965, long before her 'fall' in 1966. We think Dylan first knew her in December 1964, before either of them met Warhol, when she was still a rich, incandescent party girl, and we think Dylan didn't meet Warhol until much later, maybe December 1965. Through most of 1965 Edie and Warhol were bff's, appearing together on Merv Griffin in October. She expected Warhol to launch her acting career, to solve her growing financial and emotional difficulties. We don't know how often Dylan and Edie spent together in 1965, but if she was always with Warhol, and Dylan didn't meet Warhol until December 1965, they couldn't have seen that much of each other, and he couldn't have known in May the effect Warhol would eventually have on her. So most all those convenient interpretations involving Warhol's exploitation have to be firmly rejected. We're still possibly left with the druggy rich girl in "finst schools... juiced". robotwisdom (talk) 10:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Mobile Station for WP Dylan Collaboration[edit]

You may notice that there has been quite a lot of activity surrounding this article recently. This is because Like a Rolling Stone has been selected as the "collaboration of the month" for WikiProject Bob Dylan. Please feel free to join us here, and join in the discussion as well.

Collaborators (if interested, add your name to the list located here here):

  • I.M.S.
  • Mick gold
  • Rlendog
  • Moisejp
  • Allreet

Rolling Stone Magazine[edit]

I think it's painfully obvious that they chose that song as an inside joke. AmericanLeMans (talk) 05:30, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

Citation needed, unfortunately.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 18:53, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Relation to The Rolling Stones[edit]

Also, I wonder what is the relation of this song to The Rolling Stones? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 18:53, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

In the first issue of Rolling Stone, November 9, 1967, editor Jann Wenner wrote:
You’re probably wondering what we’re trying to do. It's hard to say: sort of a magazine and sort of a newspaper. The name of it is Rolling Stone which comes from an old saying, "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote. The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy’s song. "Like A Rolling Stone" was the title of Bob Dylan’s first rock and roll record. We have begun a new publication reflecting what we see are the changes in rock and roll and the changes related to rock and roll." Mick gold (talk) 17:05, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Very interesting; we should quote it in the article! --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 18:20, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Citation needed, but I bet there is one out there to find. A critic must have made the comment. Note that this song was recorded just 10 days after The Rolling Stones' Satisfaction was released in the US and that song would have been played on the radio every day, if not every hour, and Dylan would have been hearing it and loving it. It was the Stones' biggest hit to date. Dylan went from folk to rock with this song. Dylan probably played Satisfaction 100 times before he recorded this song. Everything points to Dylan having named the song after the band. But... citation needed. -Chumchum7 (talk) 17:04, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

The Beatles and 'Dig It'[edit]

'Dig It' is a song on the Beatles' Album Let it Be. The first two lines of the album version are a shouted 'like a rollin' stone' which I believe is a reference to this — the Beatles cover the song in the film and in the eight-minute studio version, he shouts it quite a lot.

I think it should be put in this article somewhere. (talk) 23:58, 7 September 2013 (UTC)


There are different people listed for Piano and Bass in the text and then in the credits below. Which is it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:184:4001:784A:A47E:9E56:C76A:2795 (talk) 17:23, 12 August 2016 (UTC)