What’s this about? A “new video” for Bob Dylan’s 1965 masterpiece “Like a Rolling Stone” is to debut on BobDylan.com tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/19/13). The Associated Press reports:
The video will allow viewers to switch between 16 different story lines that mimic television channels. The actors and hosts on each of these channels lip-sync the lyrics to the song and viewers can move from one to another during the song seamlessly. There is a Dylan channel as well that features vintage footage.
It is part of the promotion for the new Complete Album Collection Volume 1.
Some may call me a curmudgeon, but I believe I will mark this event by entirely avoiding BobDylan.com and the new video. I will instead queue up the original recording of “Like a Rolling Stone,” close my eyes, and listen to all six minutes and thirteen odd seconds of it, absent any visual distractions other than those my own brain may conjure. If so moved, I may pick up a battered C-harmonica I have stashed somewhere and blast along during the instrumental bits.
It is bad enough, if I may say so, that so many of our pop-musical memories are affected by what occurred in the 1980s, namely the MTV revolution and related phenomena. But there is no need to attach a video of any kind to a record as magnificent as “Like a Rolling Stone.” It is not merely to gild the lily; it is to enclose the lily in a sarcophagus. Long may “Like a Rolling Stone” live and breathe freely and fire souls and imaginations anew.