My favourite songs: Bob Dylan – Positively 4th Street

Bob Dylan – Positively 4th Street (1965)

from the album “Highway 61 Revisited”.


It took me years and years to fully appreciate Bob Dylan. To me, it was a bit of an acquired taste. But what is usually the case with artists like Dylan, is that when you do get to like him, you never stop. And you become a full-fledged hardcore fan. One of the things that made Dylan such an icon is that we recognize ourselves and situations from our own lives in his songs and in his words. This is one of my favourite songs by him.

The protagonist is bitter, resentful and angry. He feels let down and betrayed by someone he once viewed as a friend. The person he once knew wasn’t going to stand by his side, like he thought, the person was simply basking in his spotlight beside the protagonist, he thought he had something to gain by befriending the main character (the singer of the song), and when he realized he wouldn’t do so, or he wouldn’t do so anymore, he turned away.


“You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that’s winning”

The protagonist of the song isn’t winning anymore, and the friend no longer has an interest in him, but still keeps a smile on his face whenever they meet, because, well, you never know when the protagonist’s luck is going to turn and you might want to or need to mooch off of them again. We all know people like that. These kind of people, the antagonist of the song, aren’t stupid. They also aren’t stupid enough to just leave things be, they always have an excuse for it, and the excuse, and the fault, is never their own.


“You say I let you down
You know it’s not like that
If you’re so hurt
Why then don’t you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that’s not where it’s at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it”

But like Dylan’s protagonist, we know it’s just words, we know it’s just an excuse.


“You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it”


These are what you would call the “fake friends” of your life. You can’t really ever get rid of them, because there is simply never an argument, and if there is one, they always find a way to worm themselves out of it and somehow make you feel that it’s your fault for bringing it up. There’s a reason why there are so many sayings and quotes about this particular situation. You know, like “don’t fear the enemy that attacks you, but the fake friend that hugs you”, or “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”? It’s like a snake in the grass that disguises itself, and a hard lesson to learn in life, is that this is exactly what some people do, for one reason or another, they’re a friend to you at first, but all the time an enemy in disguise.
In the end, you get the same frustrated feeling that Dylan sings about. Why don’t you just come out, once and for all, and scream it? We all know it anyway, it’s just that nobody says it out loud.
“And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem”
It’s not seldom that this person, this antagonist, changes his or her mind when they’ve been found out, or when they find themselves in real distress. It’s happened to me. And my reaction was just as bitter as Dylan’s; “it’s not my problem”.


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I love music.

Now, I could be writing one cliché after another.. like how I can't live without music and how I love to discover new kinds of music and toy around with my music library.. and... well, those clichés are all true, so I might as well write them here.

My taste is eclectic and varies from day to day and swings with my mood.. but my main focus is always on the classics of 60's and 70's. Now, I was born in '86 but the music I grew up listening to was the music of decades before.. I think "brainwashed" would be the appropriate term to describe how this came about, as my parents has always made sure that I knew about their influences and what they like.

I don't just love listening to music. I love reading about music, I love finding out about music, and what goes on behind the scenes. I love a really great use of a song in a film. I love making playlists and I love rummaging through other people's record collections and playlists as well.

I might as well come out and say it: I AM A MUSIC NERD, in every way.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Sorry dude but this song wawasn on Highway 61.
    It was released just a single shortly after Highway 61 came out. Its not just Dylan either. I think a few of the Stone’ s more famous songs don’t have a studio album to call home.

    • You are correct! “The song was released between Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, as the follow-up to Dylan’s hit single “Like a Rolling Stone”, but was not included on either album.”

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