A monthly update on our latest interviews, stories and added songs, Running 7:31, "Visions Of Johanna" is one of more mysterious Bob Dylan songs. Andy Gill is quoted in the Wiki article on the song as suggesting it is the enigmatic quality of the song that is responsible for its popularity—’forever teetering on the brink of lucidity, yet remaining impervious to strict decipherment”. And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain. We do a lot of quick day … Welcome Wanderers! "Visions of Johanna" And Madonna she still hasn't showed Jesus hasn't showed We see this empty cage now corrode the empty cage stands for a place where jesus is not yet but where he must eventually be. If you don’t know this version, and you are a Dylan I defy you not to be moved. Verse 3. "Visions of Johanna" is a song by Bob Dylan from the 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. She is still running the show. Psychedelic Furs lead singer Richard Butler cites this as the song that had the most influence on him. Johanna Spyri, author of the children's story "Heidi". The sense of isolation from “normal” reality, the existential angst and eerily vivid imagery all lead me to this view. Johanna is the ideal (of a more authentic existence) that might be perceived from this or some other “egoless” perspective, yet can not be maintained or possessed permanently. This was nine days before recording the final, definitive version recorded in Nashville. I knew a girl, or should I say she once knew me circa early 70’s. It’s about Joan of Arc’s visions. The year was 1966. And not having ‘showed’ might suggest not going to show. ", "Baby Got Back" isn't just a booty song: it's about "Lack of acceptance by Hollywood of the African-American body. I think that Louise is Sarah, Johanna is Suze and Little boy lost is Dylan. He also played the iconic organ on ". Which is a shame because it is one of, it not the completely most favourite song of mine ever. And again. And little boy lost, what of him? More on Genius "Visions of Johanna [Live 1966]" Track Info. I think key words are “mirror” and “conscience explodes”. If you are interested in Dylan’s work from a particular year or era, your best place to start is Bob Dylan year by year. To counter the Existentialist view that humans have no essence but into this world are born and alone, Dylan calls upon Swedenborg’s vision that we are all ‘inflowed’ by pre-existing, shades and spirits, in varying degrees, some dark and some light: the ghosts of electricity howl in the bones of her face. He claims the song was written during the East Coast blackout that hit New York and seven other states on November 9, 1965. The index to all the 594 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found on the A to Z page. Little Boy Lost seems to represent inner conscious as it seems to be speaking to itself “muttering small talk to the wall while I’m in the hall”, that’s the mind speaking while staring (spacing out) at a wall in the hall. He is leaving the protest singers. This impressionist is, it seems to me, incomparable to the poet of later works such as Long Black Coat , “Mississippi”, “Highlands”, Green Mountain – by analogy: the … It would seem it is the visions, rather perhaps than the reality itself, which are impressing themselves on the narrator because we are told ‘Johanna’s not here’. And that sounds right to me. also “Tight Connection to My Heart” and the later remake of it, “Someone’s got a Hold of my Heart”, with the line “I keep seeing visions of you, a lily among thorns”. ~Joan Baez. As for the characters – who are they? The song is ranked #404 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This may refer to Christ’s successful redemption of the world, but equally could be presumption on the part of the fiddler. Did they become film stars or just fade away. In her 1975 song "Winds Of The Old Days," Joan Baez seems to be making the case that she is Johanna. Dylan is missing his wife (Johanna) and trying to seek solace with Louise. Sample lyrics: "A decade flew past her and there on the page, she read that the prince had returned to the stage," "Most of the sour grapes are gone from the bough, ghosts of Johanna will visit you there.". Awake and in dreams. If I was in charge of the man’s epitaph (ponder that assignment) I would have chiseled.”And these visions of Johanna are now all that remain.” Tombstone Blues (1965) part VIII       Ninety Nine Years, After the tour: the creation of a new style of songwriting, Scorsese and Dylan: A Match Made in Fantasy, Untold Dylan: “I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours”. The irrational as opposed to the rational. Just as in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ night-time is the setting for ‘Visions of Johanna’, and here too the light produces distortions which cause the world to be viewed in an insightful way. Like ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ the song ends on a pessimistic note. The fiddler, he now steps to the road. Visions of Gerard is a novel by American Beat writer Jack Kerouac. Verse 4. When the song finished I turned off the vacuum cleaner and played it again. My friend always said that ‘Johanna’ was a reference to ‘Gehenna’. Johanna is the version of this name used in Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia. It’s not just the narrator who opts for seeing the world in a negative way. Thanks for creating and maintaining. Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie” These days it takes a lot to stop me dead in my tracks while thinking about “Visions” but that happened when I found the recording below. The unsightliness of her eye reminds him of a dead branch, ‘as if the world gave up the secret of its skeleton’, and a rusty, useless spring . Dylan thinks about himself (Little Boy Lost) as the ‘serious’ artist on tour. Even lovers of art will not find “salvation.”. Little Boy Lost reminds the narrator that Johanna kissed him goodbye when he set off on tour. Her cape which once ‘flowed’ is Christ’s blood which once flowed to save the world. It is these questions that, I think keeps bringing us back to Visions over and over and over again. . And I’ll go with that too. But as long as I love you I’m not free The lack of hope for the future is represented by the museums which are empty (‘voices echo)’ – presumably vast halls containing only long-dead things. How does he manage that? Only when she forms one of the narrator’s possibly misleading visions is she presented in a negative way (‘bones’, ‘ghost’, ‘howling’) – a way which perhaps, in keeping with the visions generally, does not represent reality at least at its worst. I’ve been really enjoying this blog lately in my down time at work, so thank you for that! Johanna not there - … People seem to be missing the idea that “Visions of Johanna are taking my place” It seems that Louise is “with” Johanna while “Little boy blue” is entwined with her. well rendered subject matter on a haunted stage. Geffen Records made history on June 27, 1994 when Aerosmith's "Head First" became the first major label song made available for exclusive digital download. I was transfixed, transformed. It would seem that either the narrator is the fiddler, or is someone who at least sees himself reflected in the fiddler. The previous "meaning" which previously appeared here is TOTAL NONSENSE meant to deliberately mislead the reader. The song Visions of Johanna was written by Bob Dylan and was first recorded and released by Bob Dylan in 1966. Read More » Like a museum, existence in heaven will eventually just seem tedious. he has returned which is exactly what the fiddler means when he writes. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link. Johanna is the feminine form of the name John, meaning "God's gracious gift". On the other hand if you would like to write for this website, please do drop me a line with details of your idea, or if you prefer, a whole article. It is a notion Bob continued to play with through his writing career, including such masterpieces as Tangled up in Blue, which deals with the issue in such a different way. It is the first volume in Kerouac's "Duluoz Legend". In fact the narrator’s outlook is unduly pessimistic . Meanings and history of the name Johanna. And she represents generosity in that she ‘prepares’ for him, rather than indulging in a pretence of care like the countess. The girl Louise, previously presented as a happy lover, is now represented as bones inhabited by an unhappy spirit – reminding us of Eliot’s skeletal imagery used to present a world whose secret is that it is dead. This song haunts me. Did they stay in touch? I have the sense that this song was strongly influenced by the psychedelic experience. He didn't finalize it until February 14, 1966. The ‘little boy lost’ not only ‘brags’ of his misery, suggesting it might not really be genuine misery, but will (according to Blake from whom the phrase ‘little boy lost’ is taken) be a ‘little boy found’ – by God. Greil Marcus, another esteemed Dylan scholar, narrowed it down to an even more specific timeframe. And Madonna, she still has not showed The song – poem describes it all in Here's how he wrote songs like "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley" with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads. This article updated most recently 4 March 2020. Please also see the Old Crow Medicine Show version reviewed – I think you might enjoy that. The harmonica plays the skeleton keys of the rain is incredibly beautiful and echos the first lines where Louise holds a handful of rain. Jelly-faced women so zonked they couldn’t even find their own knees; weird mocking visions of jewels and binoculars. I'll be uploading a fifty-minute project of Dylan material this Saturday, so stay tuned! Early on,Bob Dylan sang almost exclusively from the traditional canon. See more ideas about Joan baez, Joan, Visions of johanna. The behaviour of a cat reminds him of the equally mindless, automatic behaviour of a child. We’re told that the ‘primitive wallflower’ freezes, but it’s the reader rather than the narrator who decides that it’s because she too, like Mona Lisa, has the ‘highway blues’ – meaning a miserable journey through life. Johanna is an unachievable ideal (his irrational side). Now Dylan is a songwriter, not a poet. “This lowly Irish bard would proudly carry his baggage. Little Boy Lost is Dylan’s psychedelicized view of the self-important but ultimately trivial and inconsequential “poet” “spokesman” etc. And probably will do for a long time yet. Equally open to contradictory interpretation is the fiddler’s ‘everything’s been returned which was owed’. But if we want to translate the music into something we can write about where better to start than with the end. To say this song is specifically about the late 60’s and the generation gap is just wrong. "cage now corrode" implies that he now occupies that place. It would seem it is the visions, rather perhaps than the reality itself, which are impressing themselves on the narrator because we are told ‘Johanna’s not here’. The Chelsea Hotel has long been a New York City landmark, but even back then it was kind of dumpy. The wail of the harmonica as the sounds that open any door when you are just standing there desperate to get out of this environment into any other environment. Then she’s a lover, then the narrator himself (‘she seems like the mirror’), perhaps in that that he recognises his lot in hers. Just as in ‘Rhapsody on a Windy Night’ there’s a suggestion of hope, so too there may be some hope here. With this song, Dylan hit me from behind and I was never the same again. And now back to the original article, which itself started with the finding of a video of Visions. It was covered by Michel Montecrossa and The Chosen Few, Zimmermen, Lee Ranaldo, Stephen Inglis and other artists. The suggestion could be that the visions are, at least in part, a false representation of reality – literally a result of a trick of the light. It is one of the earliest “paintings” of Dylan, a set of lines that give us an atmospheric insight into these people’s worlds, as visual artists had been doing for centuries before. It tells me of the impossibility of having to live after a glimpse of eternity, the divine, God…fill in as you will. For me, what we have in Visions is walking back from the night club in the early hours of the morning, past the debris of the night before, knowing one has to be careful because there are some very nasty people out there, but still fascinated by seeing the city without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. An extended, impressionistic account of a woozy New York City night, rich in pictorial detail and erotic longing, the five long verses zigzag between Dylan's acute dissection of one woman, the tangible and available Louise, and his longing for an absent ideal. If Johanna is taken to represent the world as it is – reality – then the visions of Johanna are the world as it now appears to the narrator. Famous real-life people named Johanna. The emptiness of existence, a world which self-destructively ‘corrodes’, continues. Written in the first two weeks of 1956, while staying with his sister Caroline in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Kerouac's novel would not be published until 1963. ‘The fiddler’ is the client (Bob). “Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet?”   And as I have said for years in talking to my students and indeed anyone else who doesn’t get up and wander off because “he’s going to lecture us on Dylan again”, “just how much atmosphere do you want in a song?”. Where her cape of the stage once had flowed Now I am sure everyone else has known it forever, but I can be a bit slow on these things… so I’m adding the link to the Australia 1966 recording right at the start because hearing it in 2018 for the first time in a long old time I was just blown away by it. By the time of his stay at the Chelsea Hotel- and the NYC blackout, when biographers tell us he wrote “Visions of Johanna” ( or “Freeze Out” or whatever the working title) he had long since written in “Newport Folk Festival Program” the following: About “Visions of Johanna” Written during a black out in New York, while he was dating folk singer Joan Baez, but was falling in love with his first wife Sara. who mutters small talk at the wall while the real artist is stuck out in the hall, hoping Little Boy will either allow him into the room or step out into the outdoors with him. There is a suggestion, then, of death leading to eternal life. He identifies with Mona Lisa; who has the highway blues and a painted mustache (like one of the jelly-faced women). The narrator is fully aware of how important the art he’s creating is. The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face [7] We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with over 2000 active members. These verses are straight forward descriptions of what Dylan sees and feels in the room, heat pipes, radio, all night girls outside etc. That Johanna's not here. I think the song is about a past lover (Johanna) and noticing another party along side during this mess (Louise) to help bring (Little Boy Lost) to some conclusion about the situation at hand. We just have to accept the totality of the picture. The song ends with something like an implosion of the psyche and the wailing harmonica as the D train pulls out. http://bobdylan.com/songs/abandoned-love/ We’re told ‘Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues / you can tell by the way she smiles’. Louise’s pimp turns up. The emptiness is also represented by a radio programme so devoid of value that it’s not even worth switching off. The next song leads to I Want You, which after Bob deals with regret, he deals with moving on and realizing who he wants now is someone he better hold onto, perhaps a lesson from the previous partner spoken of in the two songs prior. I couldn’t believe such a song could exist, that you could do this kind of thing with words and sounds. Like my best moments with Dylan, I remember an intuitive experience to this song. I think there is also the point that here we have one of the earliest songs in which Dylan forgets about any of the normal sequences of events. WikiMatrix " Visions of Johanna" Considered by many critics as one of Dylan's masterpieces, "Visions of Johanna… “And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad But immediately all hope disappears for this is no more than ‘The last twist of the knife’. Where are the Visions of Louise? ‘The peddlar’ is the pimp. We don’t know, and it doesn’t matter what is happening, nor at which time it is happening. Johannah Duggar, one of the children on TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" Johanna "Jenny" Lind, 19th century Swedish opera singer. William H. from New York, Ny This Song--Visions of Johanna--is about Joan Baez primarily and the thoughts he has, the visions he has which revolve around her and their musical and intimate relationship. He hits a soul note here that I have never had plucked before. We'll never know for sure, and it seems Dylan intended it that way. I saw it as a very druggy song, with pedlars and fancy addicts and various freaked out phonies, dripping with Existential despair. This website /bloggo-space rocks! There appears to be hope, though, despite the world’s appearing so devoid of hope. Not a girl, but greatness. Ultimately Louise is nice but she’s not his wife. "Losing My Religion" isn't about religion, but unrequited love. "Mr. Jones" took on new meaning when the song about a misguided view of fame made Adam famous. All the characters in this song are really specific. Perhaps the best way to do this is to demonstrate the richness of what many consider his greatest song, Visions Of Johanna, from the album Blonde On Blonde. Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies. She was burnt at the stake. Bob wonders if it’s all worth it. “Visions Of Johanna” is a Monet, a breathtaking masterpiece by Dylan the Impressionist. Somehow, now, Dylan is singing to me about the loss of a highly inspirational lady, even though the words are still about Louise and Johanna. I’ve had times in my life when that error makes the recording near impossible to listen to. And indeed come to that where are they now, 40 or more years since the song was written? Since the fish is an emblem of Christianity, Christ being a fisher of men, the fish in the fish truck too could be taken to be Christians on the road to their just reward, their debt to God having been paid by Christ. I think it’s also important not to just look at the progression of the song, but the progression as an entire album (Blonde on Blonde). Overall she can be taken to represent good sense, love, understanding and kindness. They had all the easy answers and there were no room for reflection. And that in turn suggests that the narrator’s conscience is rebelling against his presumption. This adds credibility to the claim that Dylan wrote it during the New York City blackout. Fleetwood Mac's "Gypsy" is about Stevie Nicks' best friend, who died of leukemia. So too does the listener. It just makes the most sense to me & tells the complete story; just as Bob says his songs are easy for him to remember because the words tell a story. The name Johanna is a girl's name of Hebrew, German origin meaning "God is gracious". We live in California, and I will share some off the beaten path places, some tourist stops that we do frequent, and tips on when the best time is to visit. Jun 16, 2018 - "I have been true to the principles of nonviolence, developing a stronger and stronger aversion to the ideologies of both the far right and the far left and a deeper sense of rage and sorrow over the suffering they continue to produce all over the world." Example sentences with "Visions of Johanna", translation memory. I don’t think it’s one of Dylan all-time greats. Where TS Eliot wrote about watching the women come and go talking of Michaelangelo, and measuring out a life in coffee spoons, so Dylan gives us Mona Lisa with the highway blues. He ponders museum pieces. At the end of the review is my favourite live electric version too. About Visions of Johanna "Visions of Johanna" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. I’ve always loved how he words things in his lyrics, his voice & how he performs them. Throughout my (almost) 43 years, I’ve always explored here & there finding ‘new’ Dylan recordings to fall in love with. Bob pays and leaves. I can’t understand why people think it’s so mysterious ! Hope for the future on earth is equally missing. http://bobdylan.com/songs/absolutely-sweet-marie/. In 1999, Sir Andrew Motion, the poet laureate,  nominated Visions as the greatest song lyric ever written. Al Kooper, who was a prolific session musician, played the Hammond B3 organ on this track. Visions of Johanna venne registrata inizialmente nelle sessioni di New York, con il titolo provvisorio di Freeze Out ("congelato"). These things exist beyond any concept of time. This is one of my fav songs ever & definitely my fav on this record. I march in the parade of liberty It went through many takes as Dylan tried to narrow down his vision. Your email address will not be published. I became so much older then. Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place. It’s for all time. Maybe this Johanna of the story represents his former repertoire. Yet the narrator sees only a representation of sadness. Christ’s second coming is still awaited despite his (Madonna’s) not having yet ‘showed’. Johanna is death; Louise is reality; “The one with the moustache” is Salvador Dali. So what are the "visions of Johanna that conquer my mind," and who is "Louise?" Anyone who knows me, knows of my Dylan “addiction” & I love reading about him & all things Dylan. Don’t be put off by the overlong retune of the guitar, when the song gets going this is something else. If Johanna is taken to represent the world as it is – reality – then the visions of Johanna are the world as it now appears to the narrator. Even though he’s left the Madonna (Joan/Johanna), and reassures himself that everything is paid that was owed, he’s appropriately haunted. The moon, already described as feeble, morphs into a another , or perhaps the same, lonely woman – ‘A washed-out smallpox cracks her face’ – with unpleasant memories of a seedy existence. 12. I.E. According to Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin, Dylan was living with his future wife Sara in the Chelsea Hotel when he wrote "Visions Of Johanna." “The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face/Where these visions of Johanna, have now taken my place.” Johanna is fully revealed to be the spiritual, incorporeal, eternal energy of the human being, as contrasted with Louise, the physical, sensual, and comparatively mundane. We see this empty cage now corrode "Visions of Johanna" is a song by Bob Dylan from the 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. If Johanna is taken to represent the world as it is – reality – then the visions of Johanna are the world as it now appears to the narrator. In the end he doesn’t accept it because his negative visions are ‘all that remain’. He did not find the politically answers there. It’s curious that when the fiddler writes on the fish truck that ‘everything’s been returned which was owed’ the narrator’s conscience explodes. I think of how Bob played with names to cover his tracks. As to the two women in the song – now presumably in their sixties – what are they up to? It was a spooky occasion to say the least. And I think of that now, and my dear friend Kati, who I spent that evening with, who sadly passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, and my sadness remembering that, becomes entangled with my thoughts of the mists surrounding that song. Dylan plays the part of a singer on the road missing his wife. The ghost of electricity Howls in the bones of her face Where these visions of Johanna Have now taken my place. It is that sort of a song. Outside things appear to be no better. The smells which beset the woman ‘cross and cross across her brain’ so that we are reminded of Christ’s crucifiction between two thieves. For the first of these she is a source of sensible encouragement to the narrator to refuse to resort to (‘defy’) drugs (‘a handful of rain’) as a means of overcoming the horror of being ‘stranded’ – unable to escape our lot. The narrator experiences certain visions and these seem to be of a world which is empty, miserable and without decent prospects. But back to those extra lines; they were seemingly added later in the recording process and subtle changes were made as time went by. Mona Lisa is smiling. And yet all of these images are hung on three chords and such a simple tune. 10 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs “Every songwriter after him carries his baggage,” Bono writes. Save perhaps for “Tell Ol Bill” which also gives us a world of atmosphere and ideas. Louise is normalcy: familiar and near but banal. Dylan is with a prostitute (Louise). As in ‘Rhapsody’, hope is not the final suggestion, however. By then, recording had moved to Nashville, Tennessee. And I remembered when I fist wrote this review, one of the first reviews on this web site which has now grown so large a situation perhaps five years before, walking from the Angel, Islington, in London, my home city, to St Pancras Station at maybe 2.30am, the last train home long since gone, completely entranced by a scene that I don’t normally get anywhere near, with Visions of Johanna floating through my mind. Louise, Johanna, and Little Boy Lost, three characters in search of a home, a real world, a way of talking to each other, a way of being. He did offer this guidance when addressing the song in. The author notices that perhaps he should have chosen one of the wallflower women. Visions of Johanna. Live Version Of. From another song: Abandoned-love And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight Ask himself if it’s him or … The Mona Lisa’s smile might just as well represent contentment as the ‘highway blues’. I could never penetrate its spooky atmosphere. After all these years I still don’t know. Written By Bob Dylan. They were lifted up as idols and politically saints, but he does not agree any longer. The coughing heat pipes definitely sets the tone and pushes all of this into the realm of loneliness or existentialist “angst”. Considered among Dylan's greatest works, Dylan referred to it as his favorite song on the album which captured that "thin, wild mercury sound". The 500 Greatest songs of all time ultimately trivial and inconsequential “ ”... 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