Johnny’s in the Basement Mixin up Some Medicine

Bob Dylan recorded “Subterranean Homesick Blues” in 1965 on the B side of his album “Bringing it all Back Home”. It was his first top 40 hit and one of the first songs after he went beyond working with solely acoustic music. His music video made history as one of the first audio visual productions in which he’s shown using cards with the song lyrics. The rapid fire of lyrics to the background of guitar to me does not come across as psychedelic; however, we are starting to see references in music which will develop into full scale songs. This song has several references to drugs such as “Johnny’s in the basement mixin up some medicine” and “Maggie comes fleet foot face full of black soot” to reference the drug making process. To me this song introduces the topic of drugs in music and is a step towards the development of psychedelic rock.


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