Dylan’s Rolling Stone

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SILVIA PIO (edited by)

Like A Rolling Stone Bob Dylan 1965

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.” This saying refers to someone who is always travelling and changing jobs. These people have the advantage of having no responsibilities and cares, but there are also disadvantages such as having no permanent place to live and no roots in a place.

“Rolling Stone” is old blues slang for hobo, a homeless person and a tramp.

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The expression has appealed to many. Muddy Waters (his real name was McKinley Morganfield, 1913 – 1983, and he was an American blues musician who is often cited as the “father of modern Chicago blues”) recorded his song Rollin’ Stone in 1950 and Jagger and Richards named their group after this song in 1961. Bob Dylan recorded Like a Rolling Stone in 1965.

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Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason founded the rock magazine with the same name in 1967. The Temptations’ Papa was a Rolling Stone came out in 1972.

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Wenner wrote in the magazine’s first issue:

«You’re probably wondering what we are trying to do. It’s hard to say: sort of a magazine and sort of a newspaper. The name of it is Rolling Stone, which comes from an old saying: ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss.’ Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote; The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy’s song, and Like A Rolling Stone was the title of Bob Dylan’s first rock and roll record. We have begun a new publication reflecting what we see are the changes related to rock and roll. Because the trade papers have become so inaccurate and irrelevant, and because the fan magazines are an anachronism, fashioned in the mold of myth and nonsense, we hope that we have something here for the artist and industry, and every person who ‘believes in the magic that can set you free.’ Rolling Stone is not just about music, but also about the things and attitudes that the music embraces. We’ve been working quite hard on it and we hope you can dig it. To describe it any further would be difficult without sounding like bullshit, and bullshit is like gathering moss.»

Read more: Rolling Stone 1967 Magazine Archives | Rolling Stone

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In the Italian version of this article I have attempted a translation of Dylan’s famous song using rhyming and assonance, something never tried before, as far as I know, in order to give the opportunity to Dylan’s Italian fans who don’t know English (oh yes, there are still a lot of Italians who are not acquainted with the language) to appreciate his peculiar rhythm.