“Subterranean Homesick Blues,” Bob Dylan’s first Top 40 hit, released in March of 1965, is one of the artist’s first electric songs, but it was inspired by the Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger folk anthem “Taking It Easy” (“Mom was in the kitchen preparing to eat / Sis was in the pantry looking for some yeast”).
In his Chronology of American Popular Music, 1900-2000, author Frank Hoffman notes that “Dylan almost single-handedly pioneered the folk-rock genre” with the song and others from that period.
The clip, directed by D.A. Pennebaker and showing Dylan flipping through a series of cue cards, was filmed in an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London. It is the opening scene to Pennebaker’s critically acclaimed 1967 documentary Don’t Look Back.
Psst, don’t follow leaders and watch the parking meters . . . .
Read a new lesson feature on playing 10 of Bob Dylan’s acoustic songs.