Roots of Bob

Man on the Street

From the Bootleg Series notes (John Bauldie) In his first year of writing his own songs, Dylan continued to rely on folk traditions for writing melodies and basic song structures. "Man on the Street", for instance, uses the tune of the American frontier song, "The Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn," which Pete Seeger (an obvious source for Dylan) used to sing: "I'll sing you a song and it's not very long/ about a young man who wouldn't hoe corn.." But though by this time he was steeped in the American folk and blues heritage, he was also reading extensively, and it is surprising how early Dylan began to work literary influences into his lyrics...A possible source for the song's most striking image, and indeed for the song's verse structure, might be found in Bertolt Brecht's poem, "Litany of Breath."

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