The final track to Bob Dylan’s 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited, “Desolation Row,” was reportedly written while the songwriter was riding in the back of a New York City taxicab. The song, an epic poem on the state of America, is an 11-minute rant about the social and political climate of the country. Weaving together a series of metaphors and images from either recent world news, classic literature or cinematic history, it’s meanings and messages have been picked over ever since its release.

When asked about the song’s conception during an interview with Playboy, Dylan said simply, “I was in the back of a taxicab.” The city, just outside of the taxi window – home to a vibrant new artistic scene and artists who faced the poverty and social injustice of modern living – was apparently all the inspiration he needed.

Source: Far Out

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