Title: Positively 4th Street
Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: N/A - single release only
Didn't want to leave 1965 without including one of Bob Dylan's masterpieces. Bob Dylan was my father's favorite artist when I was growing up and, when asked, my father cited "Positively 4th Street" as his favorite Dylan song. I personally don't know how one makes such a choice, but his answer stuck with me and, in retrospect, it was a good one!
"Positively 4th Street" reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, yet I can hardly imagine the song being released as a single in today's music market. The song structure is strophic—verses only—like many of the folk songs Dylan wrote. With no chorus or even an instrumental break to provide some variation, the song can seem repetitive and long, clocking in at nearly four minutes.
But the repetition doesn't really matter, because the song is not about the music or the melody or the harmony or the beat—it's about the words. And they are vicious. No one expresses anger as concisely and directly as Dylan and this is one of his most scathing efforts. Thankfully, Dylan has remained extraordinarily vague about the meaning of his songs so no single person has ever had to be sure these words were written for him/her:
I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment, I could be you
Yes, I wish that for just one time, you could stand inside my shoes
You'd know what a drag it is to see you