What Bob Dylan Does—Or Doesn’t—Know About the Assassination of JFK

1960s: Days of Rage

JFK’s murder was most foul, and that event paved the way, in Dylan’s mind, for the process of long decay, the rootlessness and suspicion, that we have lived since then.

“Not long after Covid-19 began its insidious spread, Bob Dylan struck. At nine minutes past midnight on March 27, 2020 the 78-year-old singer-songwriter released his first piece of original music in nearly eight years: ‘Murder Most Foul,’ a 17-minute long song-poem (it doesn’t really have a melody) about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. It was counterintuitive marketing to say the least. For a world contemplating the imminent catastrophe of a global pandemic, Dylan offered a raspy rap about a distant catastrophe that redirected the course of history when most living Americans were unborn. A savvy promoter, Dylan saw ‘Murder Most Foul’ become his first No. 1 song on the Billboard charts. When I asked…

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