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View Full Version : Bob Dylan's [b]Rainy Day Women #12 & 35[/b]


04-05-1999, 06:38 PM
I just bought a greatest hits album by Bob Dylan. I figured, why waste money on a lot of different albums with cover versions of Dylan songs when you can buy one album that has nothing but Dylan songs, sung by the artist himself? Besides, I thought, if I'm lucky these songs were recorded early enough in Dylan's career while his voice was still comprehendable.

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. To my surprise, I found that the song listed as Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 was actually the song I always thought of as Everybody Must Get Stoned! Has Dylan ever given a reason why he chose that particular title for that song? Do the numbers mean anything? Does the "stoned" in the song mean stoned on marijuana or stoned like St. Stephen?

On a slight tangent, I once saw an old black-and-white cartoon from the 30's. It looked like it might have been a Max Fleischer cartoon, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the melody was a New Orleans jazz melody played on a trumpet that sounded exactly like the opening melody of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" Did anyone else see this, or did I just imagine it?

I'm relying on you, Cecil, to please give me the Straight Dope.

04-05-1999, 07:18 PM
Dimly remembered slang from the past: "rainy day woman" = joint. #'s 12 & 35? Who knows? I actually enjoyed some of his tunes much more in their remake by othet artists - don'tt remember exact titles so I won't use quotation marks - All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix and refinements by Dave Mason) - Baby Blue (13th Floor Elevators).
regards

04-05-1999, 07:28 PM
If you're right about that slang term for "rainy day woman"--then it's safe to say that Dylan was definitely not talking about St. Stephen.

BTW, I was surprised to find that not only could I understand the original words to Mr. Tambourine Man, but Dylan's version is actually better than the Byrds.

04-05-1999, 07:42 PM
Ed, welcome to the club. Buy lots more Bob Dylan records now. Well, CDs, whatever. I particularly recommend Blonde on Blonde, Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing It All Back Home, and Blood on the Tracks. Oh, yeah, Desire.
I remember reading in one of the many books interpreting Dylan songs (there'll be a few in your library) that Dylan was walking in the rain and saw some people ke knew, a mother and daughter who were respectively 35 and 12 years old and capriciously gave that name to the song.
Other song names that make no sense:
"Baba O'Riley", the Who
"Train in Vain", the Clash
"Creeque Alley", the Mamas and the Papas
"Smells like Teen Spirit", Nirvana
most old REM songs, like "So. Central Rain"

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04-05-1999, 08:04 PM
Well, I'm getting ahead of myself. To my surprise, I found that the song listed as Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 was actually the song I always thought of as Everybody Must Get Stoned! Has Dylan ever given a reason why he chose that particular title for that song? Do the numbers mean anything? Does the "stoned" in the song mean stoned on marijuana or stoned like St. Stephen?

Another take on this, is that Dylan had recently been the target of critics when he went from folk to electric. Rainy day women, were the critics, and getting stoned meant in the sense of getting rocks thrown at you.
You get 'stoned' by the critics no matter what you do.
Now can someone explain 'my warehouse eyes my Arabian drum'?

04-06-1999, 04:33 PM
I'm pretty sure the lyric from "Sad-Eyed Lady" is actually "my warehouses, my Arabian drums." Still raises a lot of questions, but at least one doesn't have to wonder what the heck "warehouse eyes" are.

As long as we're on the subject, does anybody have any idea where "Positively 4th Street" comes from?

04-06-1999, 07:42 PM
I am not a denizen of New York City, but since the song is an entire put-down of some rival of Dylan's, I assumed the title was meant as a put-down. As in "not only are you everything I mentioned in my song, but you are POSITIVELY like all those assholes who live on 4th Street!" Then again, maybe Dylan lived on 4th Street, and the rival in the song was supposed to be the antithesis of everything 4th Street represented.

Anyway, this song never puzzled me as much as the title of Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. Are there any denizens of New York willing to enlighten the rest of us?

04-06-1999, 09:28 PM
Well I don't seem to know how to C&P on this new (to me, anyway)format.
Occasionally artists will make up a song title where the title words are not included in the lyrics, For example "Selling the Drama" by Live.
The title of the Clash song "Train in Vain"(from Lawrence's post) to me is summed up in these lyrics: "Now I've got a job...But it don't pay"---The person was not working in the field he had trained for along with the love problems he had.

04-07-1999, 12:35 AM
creeque alley (pronounced creaky alley) was a name of a bar in the virgin islands where the entire band briefly lived before they hit it big. the lyrics of the song seem pretty bizarre, but they are about the band's early career and how they met.

04-07-1999, 12:52 AM
>>Other song names that make no sense:
"Baba O'Riley", the Who>>

From the WHO FAQ http://www.thewho.net/odds&sods/faq/faq2.htm

"Baba O'Riley (on Who's Next and many compilations). Townshend was doing some experiments on his ARP synthesizer in the manner of experimental composer Terry Riley. Using his techniques he created a repeating pattern on the synth based on numbers assigned to facets of the life of Meher Baba [Townshend's Indian spiritual adviser/"avatar"]. Hence (Meher) Baba O' (in the manner of) Riley. It's also a pun on the dessert Baba O'Rum."

The song was originally intended to be part of the group's aborted "Lifehouse" film project, which would have contained many references to Meher Baba.

04-07-1999, 07:56 PM
Good insight, Gail, you might be right....still _none_of that song has ever made any sense to me

04-09-1999, 02:52 AM
BTW, I was surprised to find that not only could I understand the original words to Mr. Tambourine Man, but Dylan's version is actually better than the Byrds.]]

The only Byrds version I prefer is "My Back Pages." Oh, but Hendrix's "Like a Rolling Stone"!

04-09-1999, 09:00 AM
>>The only Byrds version I prefer is "My Back Pages." Oh, but Hendrix's "Like a Rolling Stone"!>>

What about "All Along The Watchtower" ?

04-09-1999, 06:44 PM
[[>>The only Byrds version I prefer is "My Back Pages." Oh, but Hendrix's "Like a Rolling Stone"!>>
What about "All Along The Watchtower" ? ]] Bermuda


Oh, clearly that's a great one, but everyone's heard that one (most people probably think it's a Hendrix-written song). On the liner notes for Biograph, Dylan confesses that ever since he heard Hendrix's version of "Watchtower," he always feels like he's covering a Hendrix song when he plays it, that it just totally changed his thinking about the song (Dylan's original being a very plain arrangement). High praise indeed.


"There's his grandma over there!"

04-14-1999, 03:23 AM
"Smells like Teen Spirit", Nirvana

Incidentally, the story I read on this (taken from an interview with Cobain) was that he and a friend were writing grafitti in his house and the friend wrote "Kurt smells like teen spirit". He took this as a compliment to mean that he could inspire, he didn't find out about the deodorant until after the song was written.

dougie_monty
02-15-2000, 06:55 PM
Good God! Am I the only one in the Teeming Millions old enough to remember that song? I was in high school when it was played on the radio--and I heard it lots of times.
The lyrics included:
They'll stone you when you're trying to be so good.
They'll stone you just like they said they would.
And:
They'll stone you when you're riding in your car.
They'll stone you when you're playing your guitar.
But I would not feel so all alone
Ev'rybody Must Get Stoned!
My younger sister said it was heckling, after a fashion. As a professional performer, Dylan must have known that fact well. I have not been a drug person and NEVER IN MY LIFE have I made a connection between this song of Dylan's, and drugs.

Chief Crunch
02-15-2000, 08:09 PM
I think it could be considered something of a double entendre. It seems that he did it to cover his ass. Back then, Dylan couldn't have released a song with blatant "lets get high on marijuana" lyrics without getting metaphorically stoned with rocks himself. It was Dylan, after all, who turned the Beatles on to marijuana.
It's kind of like John Lennon telling everyone "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about a picture Julian drew at school. Yeah, sure, John. I can't believe some people actually believe that.

Kamino Neko
02-15-2000, 08:22 PM
I'm with the Chief....double entendre. I've always assumed that it was(at least since I was able to pick up enough of the lyrics to realise the 'St Stephen' interpretation was possible....).

I'd be kinda disappointed to find out he only meant one.



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Eschew Obfuscation

George Gray
02-15-2000, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by beatle:
Dimly remembered slang from the past: "rainy day woman" = joint. #'s 12 & 35? Who knows? I actually enjoyed some of his tunes much more in their remake by othet artists - don'tt remember exact titles so I won't use quotation marks - All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix and refinements by Dave Mason) - Baby Blue (13th Floor Elevators).
regards

12 times 35 equals 420. That's the best I can come up with. Dylan, by the way, is a demi-god. He still puts on a great live show.


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"The world is everything that is the case." --Ludwig Wittgenstein

02-16-2000, 02:24 AM
Lawrence:

I remember reading in one of the many books interpreting Dylan songs (there'll be a few in your library) that Dylan was walking in the rain and saw some people ke knew, a mother and daughter who were respectively 35 and 12 years old and capriciously gave that name to the song.


I heard a similar version: Dylan and his band took a break from recording the song as it started to rain outside the studio. A 35-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter ducked into the doorway to get out of the rain. Dylan, or one of the band members, invited them inside, they talked for a while, and the song's title was about them.

But not the song itself.

BugZap:
Another take on this, is that Dylan had recently been the target of critics when he went from folk to electric.


This was the main interpretation given at the time to the lyrics. Not just the critics, but also his former fans. He was a folk singer, dammit! How dare he expand his musical horizons?

Lawrence:
Other song names that make no sense:
"Baba O'Riley", the Who....


Bullet With Butterfly Wings -- Smashing Pumpkins

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"If you're so pro-life, do me a favor: don't block medical clinics, lock arms and block cemeteries." -- Bill Hicks (http://www.billhicks.com/darktimes/index.html)

RealityChuck
02-16-2000, 08:26 AM
I've also seen it explained that the name of the Dylan song is arbitrary and was named after two women who were in the studio when it was recorded. The source was Al Kooper, who was present.

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"What we have here is failure to communicate." -- Strother Martin, anticipating the Internet.

www.sff.net/people/rothman (http://www.sff.net/people/rothman)

Beruang
02-16-2000, 07:50 PM
There's a realy great book called "Voice Without Restraint" (I forget the author), investigating Dylan's lyrics as poems. The bottom line: every song Dylan ever wrote was about himself. Makes sense to me.

Chief Crunch: Using those same techniques of poetic analysis (and who says a liberal arts education is useless!), I investigated The Beatles' ouerve. I cam to the conclusion that "Lucy..." probably *isn't* about drugs. I forget the entire argument (my God, it's been almost 15 years!), but one of the big points -- which you can take seriously or use as bird-cage lining -- is that through the entire song, John never once comes into contact with Lucy. He follows her, but they never connect. If she is a symbol for acid, and he never touches her, how can she be causing all these hallucinations. Seems another explanation is called for.

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"The dawn of a new era is felt and not measured." Walter Lord

Beruang
02-16-2000, 07:54 PM
There's a realy great book called "Voice Without Restraint" (I forget the author), investigating Dylan's lyrics as poems. The bottom line: every song Dylan ever wrote was about himself. Makes sense to me.

Chief Crunch: Using those same techniques of poetic analysis (and who says a liberal arts education is useless!), I investigated The Beatles' ouerve. I cam to the conclusion that "Lucy..." probably *isn't* about drugs. I forget the entire argument (my God, it's been almost 15 years!), but one of the big points -- which you can take seriously or use as bird-cage lining -- is that through the entire song, John never once comes into contact with Lucy. He follows her, but they never connect. If she is a symbol for acid, and he never touches her, how can she be causing all these hallucinations. Seems another explanation is called for.

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"The dawn of a new era is felt and not measured." Walter Lord

Beruang
02-16-2000, 08:01 PM
There's a realy great book called "Voice Without Restraint" (I forget the author), investigating Dylan's lyrics as poems. The bottom line: every song Dylan ever wrote was about himself. Makes sense to me.

Chief Crunch: Using those same techniques of poetic analysis (and who says a liberal arts education is useless!), I investigated The Beatles' ouerve. I cam to the conclusion that "Lucy..." probably *isn't* about drugs. I forget the entire argument (my God, it's been almost 15 years!), but one of the big points -- which you can take seriously or use as bird-cage lining -- is that through the entire song, John never once comes into contact with Lucy. He follows her, but they never connect. If she is a symbol for acid, and he never touches her, how can she be causing all these hallucinations. Seems another explanation is called for.

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"The dawn of a new era is felt and not measured." Walter Lord

Beruang
02-17-2000, 01:51 PM
There's a realy great book called "Voice Without Restraint" (I forget the author), investigating Dylan's lyrics as poems. The bottom line: every song Dylan ever wrote was about himself. Makes sense to me.

Chief Crunch: Using those same techniques of poetic analysis (and who says a liberal arts education is useless!), I investigated The Beatles' ouerve. I cam to the conclusion that "Lucy..." probably *isn't* about drugs. I forget the entire argument (my God, it's been almost 15 years!), but one of the big points -- which you can take seriously or use as bird-cage lining -- is that through the entire song, John never once comes into contact with Lucy. He follows her, but they never connect. If she is a symbol for acid, and he never touches her, how can she be causing all these hallucinations. Seems another explanation is called for.



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"The dawn of a new era is felt and not measured." Walter Lord

Edward J Cunningham
02-18-2000, 03:49 AM
I'm amazed that the thread I started last year is still active. Thanks!

Oh, Beruba--I think you may have just unintentionally set a new record by most simultaneous posts...

Edward J Cunningham
02-18-2000, 03:50 AM
Damn. I meant Beruang...