A Famous Encounter and “Like a Rolling Pin”

A “Talk of the Town” segment in The New Yorker featured a short profile of record producer Scott Litt, who had produced records by the likes of Nirvana and R.E.M. In the article, Litt told an interesting story about the first time he met Bob Dylan.

More than a few decades ago, Litt was producing a Replacements album, working in the studio with the band. Dylan was working on his own record nearby, so he stopped by to check out the Replacements.

When Dylan walked in the studio wearing a hoodie, it just happened to be the same time that the Replacements’ leader Paul Westerberg was singing a parody of Dylan’s hit song “Like a Rolling Stone” called “Like a Rolling Pin.”

Westerberg did not notice Dylan standing there, and Litt failed to alert the singer, who continued with the parody. Finally, when Westerberg finished, Dylan asked, “You guys rehearse much?” Then he left.

The lyrics to “Like a Rolling Pin” are nothing special, using phrases from Dylan’s original mixed with some small changes. I believe the song did not end up on the album at the time, appearing later with B-sides and unreleased tracks on All For Nothing/Nothing For All (1997). But the Replacements can sing the phone book and make it sound like a great song. So when they start off with a great Dylan song, one cannot complain.

More than twenty years later, Litt finally got to work with the singer of “Like a Rolling Stone” when he was the engineer for Dylan’s 2012 album Tempest. While working with Dylan on Tempest, Litt did not mention their previous studio encounter. [Nick Paumgarten, Hello, Bobby, The New Yorker, 1 Oct. 2012: 22-23.]

What is your favorite Bob Dylan cover? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    New Crazy Dylan Video: “Duquesne Whistle”

    We have another new song from Bob Dylan’s upcoming Tempest CD. In this humorous official video, provided through The Guardian, the song starts off with a jaunty beat and humorous air so that it looks like it will be a romantic comedy like (500) Days of Summer (2009). But soon, we discover it is a stalker story that eventually delves a little into Reservoir Dogs (1992) territory. I like it, but I have not seen such an insane Bob Dylan video since “Must Be Santa.” Like that song, the action in the video has nothing really to do with the words. Check it out.

    Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowin’?
    Blowin’ through another no-good town;
    The lights of my native land are glowin’;
    I wonder if they’ll know me next time ‘round;
    I wonder if that old oak tree’s still standin’;
    That old oak tree, the one we used to climb;
    Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowin’;
    Blowin’ like she’s blowin’ right on time.

    Tempest will be released September 11. A number of special “Tempest pop-up stores” in Los Angeles, New York, and London will have the CD a day early, along with other Bob Dylan merchandise.

    September 4, 2012 Update: You may listen to a free stream of Bob Dylan’s new CD for the next week on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/tempestitunesstream.


    What do you think of the new video for “Duquesne Whistle”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • A Famous Encounter and “Like a Rolling Pin”
  • New Dylan: “Early Roman Kings”
  • Tim Heidecker Foresees Dylan’s Upcoming “Titanic” Song
  • Dylan’s Late-Career Classics: Not Dark Yet
  • October 1992: They Were So Much Older Then
  • Bob Dylan Croons “I Could Have Told You”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    New Dylan: “Early Roman Kings”

    Below is “Early Roman Kings,” one of the new tracks from Bob Dylan’s upcoming album, Tempest, due for release on September 10. There is a bluesy riff through the song, and Dylan’s voice has the familiar croak of his recent albums. While his songs are always open to interpretation, it sounds like the lyrics on “Early Roman Kings” could be about the most recent economic recession and discussions about economic disparities.

    They’re peddlers and they’re meddlers;
    They buy and they sell;
    They destroyed your city;
    They’ll destroy you as well.

    Dylan is allowing the song “Early Roman Kings” to be used for the soundtrack of the trailer for HBO’s new series about terrorism, Strike Back.

    Neil McCormick of The Telegraph was one of the few journalists who have heard the full album. He reports the songs are full of images and contradictions, and “There’s a lot of blood spilt on Tempest through murder and revenge, chaos and confusion.” Sounds good. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the new album could be the aging Dylan’s last, but it is the best work he has done in a decade. The reason for the speculation that Dylan’s 35th album might be his last is that Shakespeare’s final play was called “The Tempest.” On Dylan’s part, he has downplayed the connection, noting that his CD is called “Tempest,” as opposed to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” For now, I guess we will just be happy we have a new album coming out from Dylan.

    (Thanks to @ChrisHenry_TNW for the song link.)

    What do you think of “Early Roman Kings”? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • A Famous Encounter and “Like a Rolling Pin”
  • New Crazy Dylan Video: “Duquesne Whistle”
  • Tim Heidecker Foresees Dylan’s Upcoming “Titanic” Song
  • Dylan’s Late-Career Classics: Not Dark Yet
  • October 1992: They Were So Much Older Then
  • Bob Dylan Croons “I Could Have Told You”
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)

    Tim Heidecker Foresees Dylan’s Upcoming “Titanic” Song

    Like the rest of us, comedian Tim Heidecker (of the comedy team Tim and Eric) is intrigued by the news that Bob Dylan’s upcoming album contains a 14-minute song about the Titanic. Unlike the rest of us, though, Heidecker decided to do something about it and give us his rendering of what Dylan’s new song might sound like in all its 14-plus-minute glory. Check out Heidecker’s “Titanic,” combining a Dylan imitation with some history and near the end, a dash of James Cameron’s movie about the ship.

    Heidecker’s “Titanic” is available for download on his website. You will have to wait until September 11 for the release of Bob Dylan’s Titanic song on his new album, Tempest.

    How close do you think Heidecker got to Dylan’s upcoming song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • A Famous Encounter and “Like a Rolling Pin”
  • New Crazy Dylan Video: “Duquesne Whistle”
  • New Dylan: “Early Roman Kings”
  • Pop Culture Roundup (April 2012 Edition)
  • Dylan’s Late-Career Classics: Not Dark Yet
  • October 1992: They Were So Much Older Then
  • (Some related Chimesfreedom posts.)