In the late 1980s I saw Bob Dylan open for the Grateful Dead in RFK Stadium. He was touring with Tom Petty. Great show. I couldn’t understand why the Dead weren’t opening for Dylan and didn’t even stay for the whole Dead show. Boring.

Expand full comment
May 26·edited May 26

Epic song by Dylan definitely worth listening to any time. Also, it is noteworthy that Phil Och's very first song was titled The Ballad of the Cuban Invasion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yorR5V0stsA

"A thousand went to take the island

Chances strong(?) as broken twigs

And a thousand stayed there at the island

Met their fate fate at the Bay of Pigs

They were told when they arrived

They'd be helped by Castro's men

But they found out, those who survived

That the CIA was wrong again

Why were they wearing my country clothes?

Why were they spending my country's gold?

Who were the friends and who were the foes?

The headlines were lying, why wasn't I told?"

Expand full comment

Apropos of nothing, there is a weird story out there about Phil Ochs and the JFKA https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/11/edward-curtin/phil-ochs-and-the-crucifixion-of-president-john-f-kennedy/

Expand full comment

I remember being given a ride in the village. David Blue was driving, Mike Bloomfield was on his right and I was in the back seat with Harvey Brooks on my left and Dylan on my right. David asked me why I was still married and the conversation was about the latest Theories on JFK. It was thought that Major Bloomfield was behind it and it was news to me. Dylan was always interested in the truth and I think he found out about the time I told the audience at the Gaslight during my set that Phil was there in Dealey Plaza. After that, Phil came over and said "Are you trying to get me Killed?" Well, he promised me the last I talked to him on the Phone when he wanted me to back him up for his War Is Over concert in Central Park that we would get together, he would manage me and Sammy Walker and we would get the truth out about what we knew about the coup in Dallas. Not long after Phil Hung himself. He never did see the film of him in Dealey Plaza. The film somehow made it into the British version of "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" on the History Channel, one of the best Documentaries long after Phil died. If Phil had known it would come out he would have become the Whistle Blower of the century.

Phil thought he was infiltrating the Intelligence service to change them from the inside. He was tricked but being a Journalist he was looking for answers, the truth. The plot to kill JFK was not really a secret to the FBI/CIA and Mafia elements. We Jim and Jean were being used also and Folk was a threat to the War making state. Bush wanted me to spy on my family for "National Security" when I was a kid but I tried to turn him in instead. I was a problem for them before I met Phil Ochs and Phil knew that too. So we were being used and what we observed let them know what had to be covered up. I am still on the case for more truth. The film footage of Phil in Dallas is important because He proves the WC conclusion is false as he told in his interview in Australia, "The Kennedy assassination was an American Military coup" What CIA agent is that right on? Timer 2:42


Expand full comment

What a great masterwork.

IIRC NYT did a piece on Dylan after the song’s release — the interviewer asked not one question about the song.

Dylan’s ‘Guernica’.


Expand full comment
May 26·edited May 26

Amazing song. Accurate on so many levels. I had never listened to it before, so thanks so much for this post, Jeff. Like the departed Johnny Cash, Dylan's truthful pathos deepens beautifully with age.

Expand full comment
May 26·edited May 26

Phil Och's song Crucifixion is his version of the Kennedy Assassination. In 1963 Ochs was apparently working with intelligence services to infiltrate the left. He was sent to Dallas on Nov 22 to "observe".

He wrote Crucifixion later. There are videos where he introduces the song mentioning JFK.

I'll post his song Crucifixion

Expand full comment

Recommended books from the song-and-dance man himself:

Bob Dylan

Recommended Books

Bob Dylan is a singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years.

The Conscience of the Folk Revival

The Writings of Israel "Izzy" Young (American Folk Music and Musicians Series)

Scott Barretta - Dec 19, 2012

The Conscience of the Folk Revival is a collection of Israel G. Izzy Young's writings from his time as proprietor of the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village, the literal center of the New York folk music scene. It includes his personal recollections of seminal figures like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, and offers detailed day-by-day accounts of the American countercultural scene in New York City. This key collection of primary sources will interest folk music fans, as well as students and scholars of American social and cultural history.

Bob Dylan

Nov 26, 2007


Bound for Glory

The Hard-Driving, Truth-Telling, Autobiography of America's Great Poet-Folk Singer (Plume)

Woody Guthrie - Sep 15, 1983 (first published in 1943)

A portrait of America's Depression years and the life of an iconic folk singer and activist. Born in Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie traveled the country by boxcar, thumb, and foot, composing and singing words and music that have become a national heritage. His autobiography vividly brings to life both his vibrant personality and a vision of America we cannot afford to let die.

Bob Dylan

Jun 27, 2006

I went through it from cover to cover like a hurricane, totally focused on every word, and the book sang out to me like the radio. Guthrie writes like the whirlwind and you get tripped out on the sound of the words along. Pick up the book anywhere,turn to any page and he hits the ground running. “Bound for Glory” is a hell of a book. It’s huge. Almost too big.

History of the Peloponnesian War

Thucydides -

This ancient book tells the story of Athens and Sparta's epic battle, as recounted by Athenian general Thucydides. His meticulous attention to detail and disdain for embellishment lend the narrative a unique historical accuracy, making this a must-read for history buffs.

Bob Dylan

Oct 04, 2004

A narrative which would give you the chills. It was written four hundred years before Christ and it talks about how human nature is always the enemy of anything superior. Thucydides writes about how words in his time have changed from their ordinary meaning, how actions and opinions can be altered in the blink of an eye. It’s like nothing has changed from his time to mine. – source

The Oxford Book of English Verse

Discover a treasure-house of over seven centuries of English poetry in this anthology chosen and introduced by Christopher Ricks. With new poems and poets added, this selection covers a wide range of poetic styles and includes works by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Webster, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and many others. From the medieval song to modern haikus, this anthology is sure to move and delight all poetry lovers.

On the Road

Jack Kerouac - Jan 01, 1976 (first published in 1957)

Goodreads Rating

3.6 (390k)

TravelHobbiesFiction {{LOL, be sure to read this realizing that Kerouac explicitly portrays neither of the two main characters as "heroes," that is, these characters are portrayed as perhaps to be emulated for their sense of openness to new experiences and travels of all kinds, but only with severe caveats, an the film version, also "popular summaries" by some critics appalled by their behavior, is seriously off the mark in that sense}}

Embark on a journey of self-discovery with a group of friends as they explore the open highways of America in this timeless Beat classic by Jack Kerouac. Soon to be a major motion picture with a star-studded cast, this revolutionary masterpiece captures the essence of the Beat Generation and will leave a lasting impact on readers. {Same comment: this is simplistic marketing for the film, and that's all}}

Bob Dylan

Sep 19, 1991

I read On the Road in maybe 1959. It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s.

Also recommended bySteve Jobs Joshua Waitzkin Walter Isaacson

Last Train to Memphis

The Rise of Elvis Presley

The book delves into the early years of the legendary musician, Elvis Presley, going beyond his mythic status to present a complex, human portrait of the man himself. The biography covers his formative years - his childhood, the famous Sun Records recordings, the early RCA hits - and traces Elvis' personal relationships and his deep passion for music. Drawing on personal accounts of those closest to him, Last Train to Memphis provides an in-depth and emotional look into the life of Elvis Presley and his remarkable achievements. Written gracefully with humor and affection, it is hailed as the definitive biography of Elvis Presley, setting aside the many myths to focus solely on the human side of this rock and roll icon.


{{NOTA BENE! : Site is not to be uncritically trusted by any means, not with respect to these book recommendations from Dylan, which are trenchant as always, but e.g. the travesty made of The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, with this:


If you have read the novel, or even simply watched the 1988 film closely, you'll comprehend how misleading it is to slap these segments together haphazardly as the "64 Best Quotations." You can discover that for yourself by reading just the first twenty or so pages, in fact.



The Unbearable Lightness of Being

First edition (French)

Author Milan Kundera

Original title Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí

Country France

Language Czech

Genre Philosophical fiction, Magical realism

Publisher Gallimard (France)

68 Publishers (Czech language)

Harper & Row (US)

Faber & Faber (UK)

Publication date 1984 (French translation)

1985 (original Czech)

Published in English 1984

Media type Print (Hardcover)

Pages 393 (French 1st edition)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Czech: Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí) is a 1984 novel by Milan Kundera, about two women, two men, a dog, and their lives in the 1968 Prague Spring period of Czechoslovak history. Although written in 1982, the novel was not published until two years later, in a French translation (as L'insoutenable légèreté de l'être). The original Czech text was published the following year. It was also translated to English from Czech by Michael Henry Heim and published in The New Yorker's March 19, 1984 issue under the "Fiction" section.[1]


The Unbearable Lightness of Being takes place mainly in Prague in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It explores the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and three other Warsaw Pact countries and its aftermath through the lives of two separate pairs of people and those around them.

Expand full comment

Paul Q ,

In one Documentary I think called the lost tapes or Lost JFK tapes or film the story was that at a main TV station in Dallas that footage was tossed in the waste basket because they had too much and maybe did not know what it was. So a station reporter found it in the trash and kept it and it became part of the collection of JFK film that used to be seen and maybe still can be but I found that Google loses or deletes a lot of important things from the past thanks to AI censorship or whatever. That utube was sent to me by Norman Koerner who is also on JFK Facts.

Expand full comment