Bob Dylan’s Efforts At Tourist Promotion: the Untold secret files


by Larry Fyffe


Because of the importance of providing information to our readers, Untold made the decision a few years ago that cost would be no object in launching a law suit against the US Federal Government to obtain a report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Though many paragraphs are blacked out, the report centres on the work of a certain Mr. B– D—– engaged by the National Tourist Office to write and sing ‘jingles’ on the radio about the wonders of tourist travel in the United States of America.

Below, the Untold investigative team summarizes the information gleaned from that report as to why ‘B.D.’ no longer works for the National Tourist Office.

For example, the report mentions that persons with seats on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, city council were a bit upset when this promotional ditty aired across America and much of the world:

I come into Pittsburgh at six-thirty flat
I found myself a vacant seat and put down my hat
What’s the matter, Molly dear, what’s the matter
with your mound?
‘What’s it to ya, Mobey Dick, this is chicken town’

Though sex talk, like the above, is supposed to sell, the members on the city council of San Francisco, California, weren’t very delighted with this tourist ad when it played on radio:

Now every boy and girl’s gonna get their bang
‘Cause Tiny Montgomery’s gonna shake that thing
Tell everybody down in ol’ Frisco
That Tiny Montgomery’s coming down to say ‘hello’

The mayor of New York City complains about a jingle he heard that encourages winter tourists to vacation in his city:

Wintertime in New York town
The wind blowing snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go
Somebody could freeze right to the bone
I froze right to the bone

Apparently, the mayor of Detroit, Michigan, didn’t like this jingle:

I was on black mountain
The day Detroit fell
They killed’em all off
And they sent them to hell

The citizens of the State of Alabama were upset when this tourist promo for Mobile was broadcast:

But deep in my heart
I know I can’t escape
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again

And the city of Oxford, Mississippi, the report says, had tried to get this little ditty taken off the air waves:

He went down to Oxford town
Guns and clubs followed him down
All because his face was brown
Better get away from Oxford town

More complaints surface over the following jingle that was supposed to celebrate the State of Mississippi:

Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as clay
You can always come back, but you can’t come
back all the way
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Nor did Texas lawmen like this promotion of Houston:

If you ever go to Houston, better walk right
Keep your hands in your pockets and your gunbelts tight
If you’re asking for trouble, if you’re lookin’ for a fight
If you ever go to Houston, boy, you better walk right

Many of our readers probably do not know this same ‘Mr. B.D.’ tries to sell his tourist wares to the Mexican government.
For examle, the following jingle-jangle song, footnoted in the report, encourages people to spend their Easter vacation in Jaurez, Mexico:

When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez
And it’s Eastertime too
And your gravity fails and negativity don’t
pull you through
Don’t put on any airs when you’re down
on Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there
And they really make a mess out of you

Phone messages pertaining to this matter left by Untold for ‘B.D’.s agent were not returned.

What else is on the site

  • 1: Over 400 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.
  • 2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.
  • 3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.  A second index lists the articles under the poets and poetic themes cited – you can find that here.
  • 4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 
  • 5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.
  • 6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines



  1. I have it on good authority that the City Council of Aberdeen (of the blue bells blazing) is teaming up with the Government of Mozambique (Magic in a magical land) to get enough funds together to entice MR B-D- to write some more tunes to promote their respective tourist venues. Have you heard about that, Larry?

  2. The secret report, as I’ve noted, is blacked out in many places…no mention of BD’s promotion of ‘Beantown’ Boston’s restaurant business either, but I expect it’s been blacked out due to lobbying and bribery of the US Federal government by farmers and businessmen who want people to eat lots of beans every day along with their hard-boiled eggs.

  3. Though the Chinese promotion of Bob Dylan song translations on potato chip bags that contain no chips is not doing that great, the ‘Expecting Rain’ blog points to Dylan lyrics like ‘cherry, pumpkin, and plum’ from his Country Pie song are being used to promote the cherry-picking business in China with great success.

    Not to be outdone, Untold is seeking an exclusive licence to sell lunch buckets with a coloured picture of Bob Dylan printed on them.

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