Over a lengthy 17 minutes, ‘Murder Most Foul’ sees Dylan recount the 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy and the countercultural ramifications that subsequently followed. It’s a historical tour de force from one of music’s most celebrated songwriters, and there’s absolutely no doubts Dylan is in his element here: across the sprawling track, he references everything from Beatlemania and famous rock DJ Wolfman Jack to racial upheaval and all things American art, of course.
Of course, this is a much different Dylan to the one rock history tends to canonize. Soaring strings and jagged pianos carve air through the verses, pillowing his croaking and swollen voice to embellish his prose in a way we’ve never heard before. At risk of cursing him, ‘Murder Most Foul’ almost sounds like it could be Dylan’s swan song – but if it were to be, it’d be the perfect full stop for one of the greatest songwriter in history’s own story.
Revisit the story of Bob Dylan’s set at Newport Folk Festival in 1965.