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Bob Dylan / Murder Most Foul

New 17-minute song made available – streaming only!

Bob Dylan has surprised fans and the music community in general by issuing an unreleased song called Murder Most Foul.

In a message which referenced the current COVID19 crisis he said “Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years. This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you. – Bob Dylan”

The song is a fascinating and rather beautiful 17-minute ballad about the assassination of JFK. Have a listen above and leave a comment with your thoughts on this latest addition to Dylan’s near 60 year career in music.

62 responses to Bob Dylan / Murder Most Foul

  1. Pingback:Bob Dylan / Rough and Rowdy Ways | superdeluxeedition

  2. rapple says:

    A great song which, like a lot of other releases, needs to be played more than once to really enjoy and appreciate. I’m hoping that the rest of the album has more musical content. This song is more like a ‘poetic editorial. ‘

  3. Carlos Santa Maria says:

    I must say thst this song is just one of the 5 or 10 best songs in Dylan’s career. Monumental. Something that I can’t explain why or how, but I am unable to stop listening to since I first heard it.

    It’s the best, the eternal Dylan. The enigma.

    It’s great having been here and now to be able to say I was there, I was then.

    • John McCann says:

      Well infidels has 8 songs on it, all better than this,need I go on,,,,,,,

      • MASTERPIECE says:

        Eeeesh. We get it. – You don’t like the song. Listen to something else then and let everyone else enjoy a masterpiece.

    • Werner P. Knorr says:

      The songs has pretty good lyrics, but the meldoy is really simple. The performance is not one of Bob’s Highlights. All in all it’s not in the Top 10 of his songs!

  4. John McCann says:

    Watched the criterion edition of dont look back on Saturday with my 8year old son,iv had its in every format over the years,but this is by far the best edition,max actually got into it,the science student scene (chysilisrecords founder terry Ellis)he should have took the harmonica, hotel agro scene,said he would have preferred it if it’was in colour, recommend it.

  5. David Healey says:

    Very good. I woke up to this having been grounded by the lockdown. I was mesmerized for seventeen minutes. Seems to have divided opinion but I thought the piano and strings backing were understated and perfect for the vocal delivery and subject. Listened to it a few times now and am still impressed. More.

  6. Mad Earwig says:

    Always been a Dylan fan for many years and (like Neil Young), you get some you love and some you don’t.

    This has the vocal sound and arrangements of recent years Dylan but not that recent. Personally I think Bob is a legend that I still go back to from any era, except for the more recent ‘crooning’ albums where he started to talk rather than sing.

    I do not dislike it, but not likely to play it often as it is one of his sprawling long tracks with lots of namechecking and storytelling but lets face it, very little light and shade.

    I imagine him staying up with a bottle of (his) whiskey and watching the movie JFK getting a bit of inspiration for this then sitting at a piano.

    If you fancy a long track, and a bit more upbeat check out the brilliant ‘Highlands’ or the more obvious ‘Sad Eyed Lady’

  7. MelodicMusicIsTheBestMusic says:

    Oh Yawn this song does go on a bit way too long for me…personally not melodic enough for my tastes but each to their own.

  8. Marta Jadwiga says:

    When I hear this beautiful ballad I think about other nightmares which I lived through in Poland. I was born after 1963 so I was not directly affected by the assassination of JFK. But I remember that my grandfather used to talk about it and he played on his gramophone a song about JFK. For me the first nightmare was hearing on the news about the shooting of John Paul II (13 May 1981). Then there was Matial Law (13 December 1981). I was in secondary school back then and I remember that we felt disoriented just like now. The third nightmare happened 10 April 2010 when the plane with Polish President and half of the government crushed in Smoleñsk. I couldn’t believe it happened. That’s how I feel now too. I am sure that the assassination of JFK was very traumatic for Bob Dylan. He even said that he recognized part of himself in Oswald. I think that felt guilty because he too was American just like Oswald. So there must be something wrong with America itself whose citizen murder his own president. The fact that he wrote the song now tells me that he is very concerned about his homeland which he loves very much. By the way I am sure that Bob Dylan recorded this song recently and it is a tune from his new album which will come out shortly.

    • The Golden Age Of The Phonograph says:

      Hi Marta, I have followed the events in Poland over the years with great interest. My mothers`s family came from Krakow and were refugees in WWII and ended up in India. (Very long story.)

      I can understand your nightmares, I was just into my teens when JFK was assassinated and even at that age and even though I lived over 4,500 miles away, myself and my friends were affected very badly.

      I think Bob wrote this around the 50th anniversary of JFK`s murder (most foul).

      • Marta Jadwiga says:

        Hi The Golden Age Of The Phonograph. I was born in Kraków. What a coincidence! Of course you could be right about the time Bob Dylan recorded this song. That’s what I thought when I first listened to it. That it is a song which was recorded for the Tempest album (2012). But the accompaniment sounds like on his most recent concerts (Girl From The North Country and Lenny Bruce) and so I am inclined to believe that it is recent. Thank you for you response and I hope that you are healthy and safe at home listening to your favorite music

  9. chaz says:

    I was only 12 when my mom told me a great man was just shot to death.
    Because a man puts a stop to another war and gets killed for it?
    At 12 i realized that there was something very wrong in the world.
    Now at the age of 65 i cried as i listened to this contribution from Dylan to one of the world’s greatest man who ever lived.
    ‘Hurricane” was another great contribution to the music world from Dylan.
    Thank you Mr Dylan for this wonderful gift.

    • John McCann says:

      You should really investigate Rubin carter in a bit more detail chaz, most of the desire album was written with a playright j levy he probably wrote most of the lyrics (obviously not sara()carter was a very violent man,he wasn’t no 1contender for the middle weight crown,no where near it,he got a retrial what happened with that,and it goes on and on,as for Joey Gallo another pack of lies,iv been a Dylan fan for 40years, street legal and saved are my fave albums,,this song to me is second devision Dylan at best, some comments are saying its one of his finest works,come on please be real ,amen

    • bruce s kelso says:

      hi chaz. I am 65 also ,yes i am sure a lot of tears were shead (mine to )when this was being played.

  10. Andrea says:

    Bellismo regalo! Great Gift!

  11. bruce s kelso says:

    the carl wilson reference is about a song that he sang background vocals on. its a warren zevon song called desperados under the eaves which has the lyrics looking far far away down gower ave look away. from his 1976 self titled lp.

    • Sam Tennent says:

      Wow – thanks! That Gower Street lyric resonated with me but I couldn’t remember from where!
      Fabulous album and was lucky enough to see WZ live in 1976 supporting Jackson Browne who of course produced the record.

  12. Dean says:

    Wow, some funny comments from people trying to come to terms with a Dylan song. It’s compared to: Morrissey (for the cover – LOL), Waterboys (no), Lou Reed (!), Ric Ocasek, Nick Cave, Van Morrison!

    No, Dylan is Dylan. He’s been recording since the early 60’s, and he’s cut his way through trends, styles, fashions, and the rest. Dylan only sounds like Dylan. However, other people sometimes sound like him.

    I don’t think we’ve been told when this was recorded, and it’s a little bit late (this premiered a few days ago). I think it’s a great track. I wasn’t taken with the song Tempest, where I felt Dylan was just going on and on…. but this is better, imo.

  13. John McCann says:

    Sounds like a oh mercy out take to me,!

    • Giles says:

      It has been pointed out that the ‘song’s reference to our searching for John F. Kennedy’s soul “for the last fifty years” might pin it to 2013, until we know better. ‘ so I do think in last 7 years.

  14. Charles says:

    Firmly in the ‘love it’ camp, pretty mesmerizing and among the best things he’s done in recent decades.

  15. Hedley says:

    It was a Friday night, my Father came to pick me up from Wolf Cubs in Leatherhead. The President has been shot, he told me. We looked to America, they had Jack and Jackie, young and glamorous and we had MacMillan. It was a short ride home and we walked in to hear that President Kennedy was dead. Everything stopped and we stared at the B/W TV in disbelief through the funeral , Oswald and Ruby and Johnson. It could not have happened

    Bob, takes us back and forth to that terrible day in November 1963 reflecting on the loss of innocence and the journey through the next two decades

    Everyone has a view on Dylan, I never know what he is up to, but I so appreciate what he means and his voice.

    This is an extraordinary piece of work outta the blue…Stay home stay safe take the time to appreciate everything that has made your life so special..From Detroit

  16. Aubrey says:

    Kind of hypnotic. When I got to the end I had to play it again…

  17. Simon says:

    It made me think of Lou Reed too.

    I really like it, not his greatest work but I’m very glad he shared it

  18. T-Bone says:

    Sounds like a stoned out Rap!

  19. Stephen says:

    Love it. Was able to download at the weekend from Apple for 99p!!

    Best 99p I’ll spend this year I reckon…. :-)

  20. Matt says:

    Has to be said that I’m probably in a minority here, but this song is just incredibly boring as far as I’m concerned. Musically monotonic with dull, croaking vocals. I have to admit that I’ve never really “got” Dylan and whilst I like some of his classics I am not a fan – so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I just get confused why so many people – including a lot whose taste is generally similar to mine – think he is a genius when I just think “eh?”.

    One thing I would recommend any Dylan fan gives a try to is the Modern Blues album by The Waterboys; it does for me what Dylan seems to invoke in his fans and just works. Hope it works for you as well.

    • The Golden Age Of The Phonograph says:

      Big Waterboys fan since the beginning, have all the albums, some 2-3 times. Seen them almost 40 times. Modern Blues is a good album but I can name many of Dylan’s less than great albums which are better. But then you’ve never really got Dylan, nothing wrong with that, each to their own.

      I love this ‘new’ Dylan song, it reveals something new each listen.

    • Arthur O'Brien says:

      Could not disagree more. I love Bob, his music, his voice, his genius. Love this song.
      ’nuff said

  21. Rusty McShackleford says:

    Just beautiful…

  22. David says:

    Downloadable from Quboz in hi-res (96kHz 24 bit)

  23. the real mike says:

    Relevant…

  24. John says:

    I’m a massive Dylan fan so would probably love it even if I secretly thought it was a bit rubbish.

    But this is quite an astonishing piece. Even my better half who hates Dylan and found his last concert at Nottingham a real trial likes it. Almost hypnotic, her words not mine!

    Would be great if there was a new album on the way but if this an outtake then true to form he has left a great song off an album again!!

  25. negative1 says:

    Good April Fools joke.

    later
    -1

    (or is it)

  26. Jeremy says:

    Someone suggested that this was likely recorded at the time of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, i.e. 2013. That would make it around the time of his last album of original songs, Tempest. Btw, this isn’t – or wasn’t – streaming only. I was able to download it off iTunes when it first appeared, though I think that’s not possible any more. It now says ‘album only’ which might be a hint that a new Bob Dylan album is coming before long.

  27. John Orr says:

    Heard it a few days ago. Thought it was rather good.

  28. Bob McCartney says:

    Modern Day Shakespeare.
    The longer I listen to Mr. Dylan, the more I come to believe he is the best songwriter…
    EVER.
    Healthy prayers for all.

  29. Velvet Bob says:

    Sounds like a Lou Reed’s Song

    • Johnny Spasm says:

      The best song writer ever was Ric Ocasek.

      • Nick Love says:

        I had to re-read this several times to make sense of it. I think what you meant to say was that Ric Ocasek was a very good songwriter.

      • abbyhorseshoe says:

        Hope you’re not being facetious, because differing tastes being what they are, I’d take Ocasek any day.

        • Nick Love says:

          I think the person being facetious was the one that dropped into the Bob Dylan thread to just say Ric Ocasek was the best songwriter then leave.

        • Shawn C. says:

          I love Ric Ocasek, but regardless of “different tastes,” it simply isn’t true that he is a better songwriter than Bob Dylan. Some things are just facts and personal preference, opinion, or what you would like to believe, don’t apply, and this is one of them. That’s part of the 21st century problem, the belief that believing something makes it factual.

      • Toph says:

        I concur

        • Johnny Spasm says:

          I meant to comment on the following comment that Bob Dylan is the greatest song writer ever. Ric Ocasek is the greatest song writer to ever walk the earth is an opinion I’ve long held.

  30. Marco says:

    Love the many references to other artists, even younger than him (Don Henley & Glenn Frey, Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks, Dickey Betts, etc.), and also to song and movie titles, some of which you wouldn’t expect from Bob (Another One Bites The Dust, Nightmare On Elm Street, which is also the street name where Kennedy was shot if I’m not mistaken). Brilliant!

    • BoBBie says:

      A Nightmare On Elm Street took the street name because of JFK’s assassination. It’s the street where America’s nightmare took place…

  31. BoBBie says:

    Kudos to you, Paul. This could well be one of the best songs of the year and, despite it not being a ‘physical’ release (at the moment), it is a musical release.

    Dylan is a true poet and this is one of his finest recordings. An emotional journey through one of the world’s darkest moments and the fallout of that tragic day when a cold-blooded murder took place on Elm Street.

    Rest In Peace, John.

  32. GTR says:

    I love it. His voice suits material like this (more spoken than sung). There’s so much personality and character to it. Reminds me a bit of Nick Cave’s ‘Ghosteen’.

  33. leemer says:

    Not to be a bit itchy with a capital B, but to my ears this is a Song Most Foul.

  34. Giles says:

    I love it and have listened many times since it arrived in my InBox, strangely calming in a reflective way for some reason. My Bob Dylan obsessive colleague with all the SDEs, way too many bootlegs and even one of his prints reckons it is much more recent than Tempest given the timbre of his voice.

    • John McCann says:

      Tell your Dylan obsessive colleague to go back 31years and listen to (most of the time)the timbre in his voice is exactly the same,cheers john.

  35. Javier says:

    The style reminds me Van Morrison’s of “In The Days Before Rock’n’roll”.
    A beautiful song with a beautiful lyric anyway.

    • Dibbsy says:

      Ooh, must have a listen to this then. ‘In the Days Before Rock n’Roll’ is my favourite track off of my favourite Van Morrison album. Thanks for the tip off.

      • David Fisher says:

        That’s my favourite Van song too – it’s strangely transcendant considering the subject matter. This Dylan song is stunningly good. Somehow completely suitable for the sombre state of mind we’re all in thinking of the people being lost at the moment. In the scheme of things they’re no more important that anyone else of course, but I do fear for the elder statesmen of rock ‘n’ roll – Dylan, The Who, The Stones, Macca, Ringo, Van Morrison, Neil Young, etc. It would be awful to lose any of them to the virus. As an aside I have to say that people shouldn’t forget that it was Kennedy who got the US into the Vietnam nightmare in the first place. He was no saint.

  36. Stephen Hance says:

    Does anyone know whether this is newly recorded? To me it sounds like a Tempest outtake, left off when they decided there were enough long historical ballads. Am I right? I love it, by the way.

  37. Luke says:

    Like the approach of the song very much … I studied this assassination since the JFK movie and doing it still on a weekly basis (every thursday via Len Osanic’s website on BOR).

  38. Frank says:

    Recommended if you like: Tempest. It hearkens back to that epic about the Titanic.

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