Ten Videos Using Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" Cue-Card Concept
A still from "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
Bob Dylan made one of the earliest "music videos" ever with a clip from D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 documentary Don't Look Back. Accompanying the masterful "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Dylan daftly tosses cue cards that wittily accompany his lyrics with the occasional misspelling ("suckcess").
This was a good idea. Good enough that dozens of folks have imitated it for the 45 years since then. Our most recent (and local) example features vocal gifts of Chris Koza, Dessa, Chris Pavlich, Lucy Michelle, Haley Bonar, Gabriel Douglas and Caroline Smith, and an original song meant to boost a campaign by Explore Minnesota.
Dylan said "don't look back," but here's ten videos throughout time that have embraced this concept.
Mostly, this video puts undue focus on some pretty awful lyrics. But stay tuned for the sax solo.
Tim Robbins' "Wall Street Rap"
From the political satire Bob Roberts, which probably deserves a rewatch in an election year.
Belle & Sebastian's "Like Dylan in the Movies."
Of course the clever Glaswegians would incorporate a bit of this into their homage to Bob. Not a huge budget for cue cards in this one, though.
Steve Earle's "Jerusalem"
Earle hires an extra to do his bidding.
The Matches' "Salty Eyes"
Back when video budgets were fat, er, in 2007, the Oakland pop-punk act decided to one-up the original concept by tossing TVs instead of cards.
Evidence's "The Far Left" featuring Alchemist and Fashawn
Doing this with rap lyrics seems to yield the fattest stacks of cards.
MaLLy's "Heir Time"
The environmentally conscious solution comes from the Minneapolis rapper. Just put it on a tablet instead.
Weird Al Yankovic's "Bob"
All palindromes, all the time. This is inspired stuff.
Advice for rappers: Use "quota" and "Zumbrota" to rhyme with Minnesota, but leave "boatloada" to these folks. Had they gotten actual participation from Hibbing's finest, it would put this thing over the top.
Dylan set the bar quite high with this moment, which was the opening segment of D. A. Pennebaker's Dont Look Back documentary on Dylan's 1965 U.K. tour. Note that Allen Ginsberg is lurking in the background.
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