by Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood
Larry Fyffe first found “Go away you bomb” for Untold Dylan in his article Bob Dylan and How I Learned to Love the Bomb but at the time we published that we were not able to find a recording to put with the article.
And so, lacking the availability of a recording of the song we didn’t add it to our list of Dylan compositions. But now we have found one by Dennis Michael Junior, so we can add this in as Dylan song number 599 on our list. Only one to go to get to our target of 600 songs.
The song is not mentioned in the Clinton Heylin “Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-73” but came to public awareness in 2013 when it was announced that the lyrics would be auctioned by Christie’s on June 26.
“Go Away you Bomb,” was written in 1963 for an unpublished book of anti-nuclear protest songs compiled by Izzy Young, who owned the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village.
In the material written for Christie’s auction, Young is quoted as saying, “I was compiling a book of songs against the atom bomb and asked Dylan to contribute; he gave me this song the very next day.
“I have never sold anything important to me until now and the funds raised will help to keep the Folklore Center in Stockholm going. I have always had a passion for folk music and I have collected books and music since I was a kid. I produced my first catalogue of folk books in 1955, comprised of books that nobody had ever heard of – this was the beginning of the interest in American folk music. Bob Dylan used to hang around the store and would look through every single book and listen to every single record I had.”
The lyrics date from the time when Bob Dylan was in New York, working on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
It is reported that Izzy Young and Dylan fell out when the musician returned to playing with electric rather than acoustic instruments. It is also reported that Young has or had an original version of the lyrics to Talkin Folklore Centre Blues, a 1962 song that Dylan wrote about Young’s store.
Nicolette Tomkinson, a director of Christie’s said at the time, “This unreleased song, written against the background of the threat of nuclear warfare, is not only a beautiful example of Dylan’s songwriting, representing his political protest activities during that era, but is also a potent symbol of the anxieties of the American public in the early 1960s,”
Here is the June 2013 auction
What else is on the site?
We have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 3400 active members. (Try imagining a place where it is always safe and warm). Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.
The index to all the 598 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page.
If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year.
On the other hand if you would like to write for this website, or indeed have an idea for a series of articles that the regular writers might want to have a go at, please do drop a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article to Tony@schools.co.uk
And please do note our friends at The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, plus links back to our reviews (which we do appreciate).