Bob Dylan released and unreleased: the late night TV shows

By Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

Aaron: Bob appeared on Letterman in 1992 and performed Like A Rolling Stone. Just check out some of the musicians on stage with him here!

Chrissie Hynde (guitar) Steve Vai (guitar) Carole King (piano) Jim Keltner (drums) Roseanne Cash, Nancy Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Michelle Shocked, Mavis Staples (backup vocals)


Tony: Another set of subtle changes to the melody – and everyone looks happy except Bob.

This is a remarkable performance; I could do with a little more volume on the voice, but then you can’t have everything.  Carole King looks like she’s really enjoying every second of it, and as time goes by even Bob gets a slight smile.   If I find anything less than perfection it is the backing female voice after about five minutes – it is almost too much with the complete a brass section doing their thing by then.   But why not?

Aaron: Unfortunately Bob’s 1979 appearance on Saturday Night Live is not on YouTube but it is on Facebook. Hopefully if you click on the link below it should take you there. The video is presented slightly out of order. The order of the songs performed was:

  1. Gotta Serve Somebody
  2. I Believe In You
  3. When You Gonna Wake Up

Tony: Don’t forget that because this is Facebook you might have to turn up the Facebook volume on the page, as well as the volume on your computer; but then again I’m probably the only person who regularly forgets.

If you are very kindly a regular reader of my ramblings you will know that this is one of my favourite Dylan compositions, not just because of the music itself but because of Sinead O’Connor’s version  which was most recently mentioned in the Dylan Cover a Day series.

This is a gorgeous version by Bob, and I am endlessly intrigued by the way this song can have two utterly different meanings depending on where you start.  Interesting to see how Bob looks during this performance.

And it is a beautiful rendition of this extraordinary song.  There’s no special reason why you should want to follow the background on this song, but in case you do, my commentary is here,

But I’m not trying to divert you from this version, which I do love.  It is just that for me the background to the song is now a core part of what it is.

“Serve Somebody” continues with the same sound and relaxed version.  I do love the way Bob also gives us some blanks within the piece – moments when there is just the backing music without any feeling that there always has to be fill-ins.

“When you gonna wake up” carries on the same theme and musical style.  It’s just nice and relaxed musically, which is in complete contrast to the message within the lyrics.   But Bob can do that.  Not always, but he can.

Aaron: Bob’s most recent appearance on Letterman was 2015 and he played The Night We Called It A Day.

Tony: Well, yes of course the greatest songwriter of modern times is Bob Dylan.   There has only been one other songwriter of such stature and that was Irving Berlin.   But then, after that intro, Bob sings a song that is not one his own.   It was written in 1941 by Matt Dennis, the lyrics by Tom Adair.   I like the way Bob goes for a little wander during the instrumental break.

And to add something of my own here, just in case you are interested, here is what the original sounded like…

Dylan released and unreleased: the series


Untold Dylan was created in 2008 and is currently published twice a day –  sometimes more, sometimes less.  Details of some of our series are given at the top of the page and in the Recent Posts list, which appears both on the right side of the page and at the very foot of the page (helpful if you are reading on a phone).  Some of our past articles which form part of a series are also included on the home page.

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