Mystic Nights

The Making of Blonde on Blonde in Nashville.
  1. A memory from the summer of 1966: Across the Top 40 airwaves, an insistent drum beat led off a strange, new hit song. Some listeners thought the song too explicit, its subject of wild lunacy too coarse, even cruel; several radio-station directors banned it. Despite the controversy over the lyrics about madness and persecution, or more likely because of it, the record shot to No. 3 on the Billboard pop-singles chart. The singer-songwriter likened the song, which really was a rap, to a sick joke. His name was Jerry Samuels, but he billed himself as Napoleon the XIV, performing “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”

    That spring, an equally controversial single, with an eerily similar opening, had quickly hit No. 2; and by summer, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” had reappeared as the opening track on the mysterious double album, Blonde on Blonde, by Bob Dylan, who said the song was about “a minority of, you know, cripples and orientals and, uh, you know, and the world in which they live...

The complete text of “Mystic Nights” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on theband.hiof.no.

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