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Bob Dylan’s Lasting ‘Subterranean’ Influence

Scene from 'Don't Look Back'

Scene from 'Don't Look Back'

When documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker followed [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bob Dylan[/lastfm] around England during the young folk singer’s three week concert tour in 1965, it’s doubtful that the pair knew what an iconic film they would be producing.

Long before the standard “music video” was to come about, the amazing cue card-laden opening of Pennebaker’s amazing film Don’t Look Back ended up serving as a “promotional film clip” for his song “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” But the concept didn’t stop there. It’s since been used in other music videos of varying genres, been parodied, and even used as an online ad for Google with Bob Dylan serving as a demonstration of their search engine.

Since today is Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, let’s pay tribute by revisiting the original clip and see how the concept morphed along throughout the years.

Bob Dylan- Subterranean Homesick Blues

The original clip was the perfect opening for Pennebaker’s doc on the enigmatic young musician, replete with beat poet Alan Ginsberg standing nonchalantly in the left hand side of the frame.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Bob Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic-Bob

Master parodist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Weird Al Yankovic[/lastfm] took the Subterranean Homesick Blues cue card concept to send up Dylan in a pallandromic exercise entitled simply Bob.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Mediate INXS

INXS-Mediate

The late [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Michael Hutchence[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]INXS[/lastfm] brought the iconic concept into the 80’s with the music video for their 1987 hit Mediate (replete with a cued sax solo).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Wall Street Rap-Tim Robbins (from Bob Roberts)

Tim Robbins (from Bob Roberts)-Wall Street Rap

Cue card shuffling once again returned to the cinema in the 1992 political satire Bob Roberts, where Tim Robbins, as the title character, has a few problems with the cards until a manageable solution is reached.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Mope-Bloodhound Gang

Bloodhound Gang-Mope

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bloodhound Gang[/lastfm] took the cue cards to the digital realm in their slightly raunchy 2000 ode to a cornucopia of pop culture, Mope.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Jerusalem-Steve Earle

Steve Earle-Jerusalem

Country artist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Steve Earle[/lastfm] not only employed the cue cards for his video for 2002’s Jerusalem, but he also came through with harmonica and a folksy vocal which lend a nod to Dylan.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Far Left-Evidence (ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn)

Evidence (ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn)-Far Left

Dylan‘s influence crosses all musical boundaries, as rapper [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Evidence[/lastfm], along with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Alchemist[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Fashawn[/lastfm], take the cue cards to the mean streets with 2008’s Far Left.

NEXT PAGE: At War With The Mystics (promo clip)-The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips-At War With The Mystics (promo clip)

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Flaming Lips[/lastfm] parodied the clip in a UK commercial promoting their 2006 CD release At War With The Mystics.  The clip utilizes their The Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Song from the CD.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

NEXT PAGE: Google Instant with Bob Dylan

Google Instant with Bob Dylan

Our final stop on our look at the long lasting influence of Dylan and Pennebaker‘s Subterranean Homesick Blues comes via Google, who took the concept to the highest level as a way of promoting Google Instant.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. RainbowRay says:

    In Canada some years ago, they made a commerical using this song for a national bank (Bank of Montreal) and they did a presentation of their financial services. I remember it so well.

    RainbowRay
    ???????

  2. RainbowRay says:

    In Canada some years ago, they made a commerical using this song for a national bank (Bank of Montreal) and they did a presentation of their financial services. I remember it so well.

    RainbowRay
    ???????

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