James’ Brand New Blog

Don’t Look Back gives up its love for 3 A.M. (Starring Bob Dylan & Bill Anderson)

- March 1st, 2013

dont look back bill anderson

 Jacket for Bill Anderson’s Greatest Hits and the April 1968 Ballantine Books edition of Don’t Look Back A Film And Book by D. A. Pennebaker, taken on March 1, 2013 with trusty BlackBerry

Well, here’s one for the big life-long calendar. On March 2, 1968, JBNBlog was watching Dont Look Back the Pennebaker doc about Bob Dylan’s spring 1965 tour of England . . . that was likely at the old Alpha Centre downtown & last night (Feb. 28, 2013) my sister Susan flew in from Vancouver, bringing the long-lost copy of Pennebaker scriptbook of the film.

I’ve been re-visiting a favourite memory on Page 64:

DYLAN “. . . Have you heard She Died for Love at Three A.M. Huh? Bill Anderson wrote it.”

Dylan’s courtier & aide Bob Neuwirth then responds by asking: “Hey, you know what’s great song?” Neuwirth is recalling something titled In The Shadows of the Warm Red Wine, a song unknown to JBNBlog

Joan Baez is heard singing Hank Williams’ Family Reunion & the mood shifts to Long Black Veil before Baez and Dylan duet on Hank’s Lost Highway.

To which — wow (!!!) Back in 1965, the fans of these folkie superstars would likely have snickered at such C&W iconography & Dylan’s championing of Anderson’s 3 A.M.  –  it really is a great song, just played it this morning — is especially in your face because Bill Anderson wouldn’t have the Warwickshire Hank Williams angle going for him

A couple of notes: The lyric is actually more like “In the news, ‘they’ll say he couldn’t even swim & he gave his life for love at 3 a.m.’ ”  It’s about a man about to leap to his death from a bridge with no Jimmy Stewart redemption in the offing. So to speak.

In a c. 2000 interview with Bill Anderson, I was surprised (shouldn’t have been, my bad) Bill Anderson not only knew about the scene … but was ready to jest about Joan Baez having interrupted the moment & so having kept Dylan from singing Anderson’s song.

Well. Bill, it looks as if we should probably blame Bob Neuwirth for keeping us away from your great song.

JBNBlog loves your version . . . & since Dylan looks as if will never stop maybe he will cover 3 A.M. at some point. If he hasn’t already . . . any Dylanologists able to weigh in?

Here is an edited version of an early March, 2012 post based on my teenage diary. Glad I did look back.

Went to “Don’t Look Back”

Group Practice — D-Tuning

R&B Workshop with 2 Basses.

– March 2, 1968

JBNBlog was an even sloppier writer in 1968 using a definitely not magic marker so it’s a guess about Dont Look Back . . . for a long time, I had the paperback book for the Dylan in England movie. Can’t find it now, but Bob Dylan certainly got away with nasty & mean-spirited behaviour which would likely be condemned or lampooned in a Tweet instant now. There is a sweet moment when he’s about to sing (He Gave His Life for Love at) 3 A.M., a great Bill Anderson country weeper, saying what a great song it is. Dylan doesn’t . . . & c. 2000 when I tried to surprise Bill Anderson, then about to play Centennial Hall, by mentioning the movie, he surprised me with a witty comeback. Anderson joked he had always held it against Joan Baez that she interrupts at just that moment, keeping us from hearing 3 A.M. (Then I forgot to file the story in time & it never got used . . . my belated apologies to Bill Anderson, a class act). I probably saw Dont Look Back (no apostrophe apparently) at the old Alpha Centre on Talbot St.

 

 

Categories: Entertainment

Subscribe to the post

Leave a comment

 characters available