Pod Dylan #91 – Positively Fourth Street


Episode 91 - Positively Fourth Street

Rob welcomes his pal (and frequent Fire & Water Network podcast guest) Cory Drew to discuss Bob Dylan's lacerating 1965 single "Positively Fourth Street."

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2 responses to “Pod Dylan #91 – Positively Fourth Street

  1. Great job, Rob and Cory. So despite hearing this song a billion times (starting when I was a 13-year-old discovering classic-rock radio, where it was one of the heaviest-rotation Dylan tunes), and enjoying it, I never gave it too much thought—it never occurred to me, for example, to wonder exactly whom the lyrics were directed to. I suppose the circus-like, Disney-esque tone you guys refer to led me to regard it as more a parody of a dis track—a mocking of revenge sentiment—than an actual heartfelt rejection of someone/something. But you two explain so cogently why Dylan would’ve felt so much venom toward the scene (or perhaps one specific person) centered on 4th Street (positively).

    I wish I had thought about all this 20 years ago, when I was navigating my own way through a too-cool-for-school artist milieu (stand-up comedy, in my case), some of it centered not far from Manhattan’s 4th Street. It would’ve provided a lot of much-needed encouragement (as it was, I made nary a blip on that scene during my three years there). As always, the answers are in Dylan…

  2. Thanks Rob ad Cory. Love the way you emphasize the last verse of the song. There is no attempt to rehabilitate the target (s) of the song, no “I’m doing you a favor, maybe by pointing this out you will see the error of your ways” from Dylan. Just dismissal in its purest most cutting form and that verse ties a bow around it!

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