All 66 songs Bob Dylan writes about in the book Philosophy of Modern Song revealed

Bob Dylan was announced earlier this year that he has written separate tributes to more than 60 different songs for his forthcoming book, The Philosophy of Modern Song. Now the names of all 66 songs he has written about have been revealed thanks to the dissemination of a table of contents page for the highly anticipated book, due out via Simon & Schuster in early November. (Read the full list below.)

Not surprisingly, classic songs written and/or recorded by American greats such as Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Little Richard and Townes Van Zandt are considered. Less expected, Dylan will take a detour to analyze songs like Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” the Eagles’ “Witchy Woman,” the Fugs’ “CIA Man,” and Rosemary Clooney’s “Come On-a My House.” .

An announcement in March said the book will provide “a master class in the art and craft of songwriting” as Dylan “analyzes what he calls the trap of simple rhymes and breaks down how adding a single syllable can diminish a song.” , and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.” The announcement goes on to say that while the essays “are ostensibly about music, they are actually meditations and reflections on the human condition.”

He plays some favorites among recording artists, if not necessarily songwriters himself. There are four songs associated with Elvis Presley (“Money Honey”, “Blue Moon”, “Viva Las Vegas”), three were popularized by Ray Charles ( “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “I Got a Woman”, “You Don’t Know Me”) and two from Frank Sinatra’s catalog (“Strangers in the Night”, “Without a Song”).

The oldest song on the list is “Rudy Was a Lady” by Stephen Foster, written in 1849, followed by “The Whiffenpoof Song” from the early 1900s. Blues, R&B and hillbilly songs from the first half of the 20th century play a big role. But most of the songs are from the 50’s to 70’s, a golden age for rock, pop, soul and country. He dives into the punk/new wave era with Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” and The Clash’s “London Calling”. The two most recent songs on the list are “It Doesn’t Hurt Anymore” recorded by Regina Belle in 1989 and Warren Zevon’s “Dirty Life and Times” from his 2003 farewell album The Wind.

One of the more surprising songs on the list might be the Eagles’ “Witchy Woman” — surprising, if for no other reason than that Dylan cited three in a 2021 interview Miscellaneous Eagles songs as his favorites of the group: “New Kid in Town,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” and “Pretty Maids in a Row” (which he said “might be one of the best songs of all time”) . Dylan was asked about it in the interview because his “Murder Most Foul” song contained the lines “Play Don Henley, play Glenn Frey / Take it to the limit and let it go by”.

The chapter on “Pump It Up” might be interesting, as Costello openly admits that it was partly inspired by Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” so it’ll be interesting to see if the blame is taken as part of the tribute.

The following is a list of song titles that are chapter titles in Dylan’s forthcoming book. The artists most associated with each song are listed in parentheses. It remains to be seen if Dylan will only consider Nina Simone’s original version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” or bring up the Animals’ or even Costello’s. It’s probably the original Ernie K-Doe record from “A Certain Girl” that he loves, but given his affection for Warren Zevon, the latter artist’s cover might deserve a mention for all we know. Much more remains to be revealed when Dylan’s essays are released in November.

“Detroit City”
(Bobby Naked)

“pump up”
(Elvis Costello and the Attractions)

“Without Song”
(Frank Sinatra)

“Take me out of this garden of evil”
(Jimmy Wages)

“There’s the glass”
(Webb Pierce)

“Willy the Wandering Gypsy and I”
(Billy Joe Shaver)

“Tutti Frutti”
(Little Richard)

“money honey”
(Elvis Presley)

“My Generation”
(The WHO)

“Jess James”
(Harry McClintock)

“Poor Little Fool”
(Ricky Nelson)

“Pancho and Lefty”
(Cities of Van Zandt)

“The Pretender”
(Jackson Browne)

“Mack the Knife”
(Bobby Darin)

“The Whiffenpoof Song”
(Rudy Vallee)

“You do not know me”
(Ray Charles)

“Ball of Confusion”
(The Temptations)

“Poisoned Love”
(Johnie and Jack)

“Behind the Sea”
(Bobby Darin)

“Again on the street”
(Willi Nelson)

“If you don’t know me yet”
(Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes)

“The Little White Cloud That Cried”
(Johnnie Ray)

“El Passo”
(Marty Robbins)

“Nelly was a lady”
(Stephen Foster)

“Cheaper to keep them”
(Johnnie Taylor)

“I have a wife”
(Ray Charles)

“CIA Man”
(The joint)

“On the street where you live”
(from “My Fair Lady”)

(The Grateful Dead)

“Ruby, are you crazy?”
(The Osborne Brothers)

“Old Violin”
(Johnny Paycheck)

(Domenico Modugno)

“London is calling”
(The clash)

“Your Deceitful Heart”
(Han Williams)

“Blue Bayou”
(Roy Orbison)

“Midnight Driver”
(The Allman Brothers Band)

“Blue Suede Shoes”
(Carl Perkins)

“My prayer”
(The plates)

“Dirty Life and Dirty Times”
(Warren Zevon)

“Doesn’t hurt anymore”
(Regina Belle)

“Key to the Highway”
(Little Walter)

“Everyone Cries for Mercy”
(Moses Allison)

(Edwin Starr)

“Big River”
(Johnny Cash)

“feeling so good”
(Shirley & Lee)

“Blue Moon”
(Elvis Presley)

“Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves”

“Keep my pan good and greasy”
(Uncle Dave Macon)

“It’s all in the game”
(Tommy Edwards)

“A Certain Girl”
(Ernie K-Doe)

“I’ve Always Been Crazy”
(Waylon Jennings)

“Witch Woman”

“Big Boss Man”
(Jimmy Reed)

“Long Big Sally”
(Little Richard)

“Old and just in the way”
(Charlie Poole)

“Woman of Black Magic”
(Santa Claus)

“Until I get to Phoenix”
(Glen Campbell)

“Come on, my house”
(Rosemary Clooney)

“Don’t take your guns into town”
(Johnny Cash)

“Come rain or come sunshine”
(Ray Charles)

“Don’t let me be misunderstood”
(Nina Simone)

“Strangers in the Night”
(Frank Sinatra)

“Viva Las Vegas”
(Elvis Presley)

“Saturday Night at the Movies”
(The Drifters)

“Waist Deep in the Big Mud”
(Peter Seeger)

“Where or When”
(Dion and the Belmonts) All 66 songs Bob Dylan writes about in the book Philosophy of Modern Song revealed

Charles Jones

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