Friendships, Bob Dylan and ‘Baby, Stop Crying’

Last time I announced that Thursday was to be my new regular day for blogging, but last week’s Thursday came and went without anything new from me at all and unless I quickly get my act together, the same will happen again this week. I have the will, it’s just that with the easing of restrictions many of us feel the need to catch up with those friends who have been neglected over the last 15 months, and I am no exception. There have been many visits, lunch dates, film nights, and a sneaky wee Eurovision get-together (something so utterly uncool that it has almost become cool by default), so I have been somewhat time-poor. Not complaining, of course, just offering up an explanation for my absence.

Last week Bob Dylan turned 80 and much was made of it on the various newsfeeds and on social media. Who would have thought back in 1961, when a young folk singer called Robert Zimmerman rolled up in Greenwich Village, New York, he would still be touring and making new music 60 years later. Many of his generation have sadly fallen by the wayside, but he is one of a small band of artists from that time who seem to have been able to just keep on going.

Two of Bob’s songs have appeared around here before, performed by other people for television soundtracks (here and here). His son Jakob has even appeared (link here), but so far no Bob. Time therefore to right that wrong. There are many songs I could feature but I’m going to pick Baby, Stop Crying from 1978 because it was on the album Street Legal owned by the girl who was my best friend back then. I’ve written about her here before because she features in so many of my musical memories. Between the ages of 17 and 20 we were joined at the hip and together we experienced the final years of school, first romances, holiday jobs, heading off to university, Interrailing, and so much more. When I hear this song I am transported to her mum and dad’s little back sitting room which housed the music centre and the sofa bed I often availed myself of after a night out. It was dated (the sofa bed) and had come from the front living room of the house they had recently moved from, but when you are 18, having such a space to hang out in with friends, is priceless.

Baby, Stop Crying by Bob Dylan:

I think it’s because I’ve been making a really big effort to catch up with people of late that I’ve been thinking of my old friend so much. I can no longer catch up with her because she died 20 years ago at the very young age of 41, which still makes me really sad. The shared memories of those formative years can never again be discussed, and laughed about, but for the time being at least I still have them, and hold them dear.

As for the song, I knew it had made it to the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart, as back in 1978 that was how girls like us found out about new music. I can’t say I have ever been a fan of Bob’s voice, but my friend obviously had no problem with it, as I know she went on to buy more of his albums. As a student of English Literature she perhaps also admired his lyrics, him being a future recipient of that Nobel Prize for being clever with words.

At face value it seems to be a simple song about trying to get a woman to stop crying, but then a gun puts in an appearance, which adds a sinister dimension. Is the narrator the ‘bad man’ or is it someone else? Commenting on the content of this song, Bob once said, ‘The man in that song has his hand out and is not afraid of getting it bit.’ If anyone has ever worked out the meaning, please share your thoughts.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I don’t know about you but I know I have been overly cavalier about friendships in the past, casting them aside for new ones when life changes occur, not realising that some come along only once in a lifetime. That’s how I still feel about my old Bob Dylan-loving friend, and when she died I wrote to her parents telling them as much.

I have done a lot of catching up over the last few weeks, which has been nice, but having moved geographically half way through my life, and having changed jobs a fair few times before finally calling it a day, I no longer have really old friends in my everyday life, which is not the case for a lot of people I know. Mr WIAA is of course my very best friend but perhaps I take him forgranted, living with him on a day-to-day basis. (Note to self: must remember not to do that.) Funnily enough, since starting this blog I seem to have made many new friends of the virtual nature, whom I’m in regular contact with via the comment boxes – A lovely little bonus from this hobby of ours. If I keep going, you may one day become some of my oldest friends. A nice thought to end on, and with the easing of restrictions, that long-awaited bloggers summit might finally become a reality.

Until next time…

Baby, Stop Crying Lyrics
(Song by Bob Dylan)

You been down to the bottom with a bad man, babe
But you’re back were you belong
Go get me my pistol, babe
Honey, I can’t tell right from wrong.

Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying
You know, I know the sun will always shine
So baby, please stop crying ’cause it’s tearing up my mind.

Go down to the river, babe
Honey, I will meet you there
Go down to the river, babe
Honey, I will pay your fare.

Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying
You know, I know the sun will always shine
So baby, please stop crying ’cause it’s tearing up my mind.

If you’re looking for assistance, babe
Or if you just want some company
Or if you just want a friend you can talk to
Honey, come and see about me.

Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying
You know, I know the sun will always shine
So baby, please stop crying ’cause it’s tearing up my mind.

You been hurt so many times
And I know what you’re thinking of
Well, I don’t have to be no doctor, babe
To see that you’re madly in love.

Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying, stop crying, stop crying
Baby, please stop crying
You know, I know the sun will always shine
So baby, please stop crying ’cause it’s tearing up my mind.