Mr Tambourine Man

Bringing it all back home (Bob Dylan)

History and background

Dylan "Mr. Tambourine Man" began writing and composing "Mr. Tambourine Man" in February 1964, after attending Mardi Gras in New Orleansduring a cross-country road trip with several friends, and completed it sometime between the middle of March and late April of that year after he had returned to New York. He recorded "Mr Tambourine Man", for first time, a few weeks later (9th June). Nigel Williamson has suggested in The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan that the influence of Mardi Gras can be heard in the swirling and fanciful imagery of the song's lyrics. Dylan premiered the song the following month at a May 17 concert at London's Royal Festival Hall.
Big image


Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s. Early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements.. His mid-1960s recordings, backed by rock musicians, reached the top end of the United States music charts while also attracting denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.

Big image


  • Judy Collins made a version of the song in her Fifth Album (1965).

  • Melanie Safka in her album of 1969 Born to Be (also know as My First Album).

  • The journalist Hunter S. Thompson wanted this song to be played at his funeral, while his ashes were shot by a cannon.

  • William Shatner record the song in his album of 1968, The Transformed Man.

  • The song was translated to Russian and played by Olga Arefieva with the name of "Mister Beliy Grib".

  • Genki Sudo translated and recorded the song in a single, keeping 'Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me' in English.

  • Müslüm Gürses made a version with different lyrics in turkish. This version was called Hayat Berbat (the life is terrible, in turkish).

  • Many indie bands have versioned this song.

  • It Is analyzed by students in the film: Dangerous Minds. In that film they said that the character the song is about is a drug dealer.

The french musician Bob Sinclair also versioned the song in 2009 with in a fastest tempo. It’s included in his album Born in 69.

Musical Analysi

Mr Tambourine Man has an expansive melody, with Langhorne's electric guitar accompaniment, which provides a countermelody to the vocals, being the only instrumentation besides Dylan's acoustic guitar and harmonica. The song is in the key of D Major but it's harmonized as a Lydian G major, giving the song a tonal ambiguity that enhances the dreamy quality of the melody. Unusually, rather than beginning with the first verse, the song begins with an iteration of the chorus. This song is composed with only three chords (I,IV,V), this chords are the most common in the majority of modern songs.