“Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” – Bob Dylan (1962)


“‘Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues’, also known as ‘Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues’ and ‘Talkin’ John Birch Blues’, is a protest song and talking blues song written by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1962. It is a satirical song, in which a paranoid narrator is convinced that communists, or ‘Reds’ as he calls them, are infiltrating the country. He joins the John Birch Society, an anti-communist group, and begins searching for Reds everywhere. The narrator decries Betsy Ross as a communist and four U.S. Presidents as Russian spies, while lauding Adolf Hitler and George Lincoln Rockwell. After exhausting the possibilities of new places to find communists, he begins to investigate himself. Dylan was given the opportunity to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and wanted to sing ‘Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues’ on the program. CBS worried that including the song on the show could result in a defamation suit from members of the John Birch Society. When Dylan refused to perform a song on the show, he walked off its set; the incident garnered publicity. … The song has been praised for its humor and deemed politically relevant decades after its release by both progressive and conservative publications.Bob Dylan wrote ‘Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues’, a protest song and talking blues song, in 1962.  The song was inspired by an incident where George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party and an anti-communist, arrived in a Nazi uniform outside a theater showing Exodus (1960), a film about the founding of Israel. It is a satirical song, in which a paranoid narrator is convinced that communists, or ‘Reds’ as he calls them, are infiltrating the country. He joins the John Birch Society, an anti-communist group[4][5] which asserted that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a ‘dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.’  The song’s protagonist begins searching for Reds everywhere: under his bed, up his chimney, down his toilet and in his glove compartment.[4][5] The narrator says he and other members of the Society agree with Adolf Hitler‘s views despite the fact that he was responsible for the deaths of six million Jews, concluding that Hitler’s fascism was irrelevant since at least he was not a communist. The narrator believes Betsy Ross was a communist because she designed the American flag with red stripes and accuses U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and ‘that Roosevelt guy’ of being Russian spies. …”
Wikipedia
TIME: When Bob Dylan Took a Stand Against Censorship
‘JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY BLUES’ (a WCF copy, # BD 509) & early TMOQ versions
Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues – Written by: Bob Dylan
vimeo: Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues
YouTube: Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

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