August 18, 2019

Featured 45: Bob Dylan — “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)"

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Some call Bob Dylan the greatest songwriter of all time. You certainly can argue that he is one of the best songwriters of the Rock era. No one has won more awards or been honored as much as Dylan. Is there an honor that hasn’t he hasn’t awarded at this point?

You certainly can’t dismiss the volume of music that Bob has written and released over his career. It is very easy to lose track of how many albums and singles he has released since the start of his debut in 1961. No other songwriter has had more other artists do covers of their songs.

With all that music it is easy to have overlooked some of his best singles. Dylan wrote and recorded so many great songs during the mid- sixties that he even admits are beyond his abilities to write today. Of course, he has reinvented himself so many times that his song writing has changed. These changes make it possible for him to have had such a successful career and sustain it over many decades.

The one thing that Bob Dylan has not been a huge success in has been in the singles or 45’s arena. Despite selling millions of albums over the years, he has had only 4 top ten hits. Besides his most important hit “Like a Rolling Stone”, there was “Lay Lady Lay”, “Positively Fourth Street”, and “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35”. Other singles did fairly well, but for the most part Dylan singing Dylan doesn’t generate single sales. It said that it is an acquired taste.

While Dylan’s voice is cited most often for this lack of success, his voice often fits the tenor of the music. It is hard to imagine anyone else doing “Like a Rolling Stone” other than Dylan would be as powerful. You can feel the emotion in his voice.

There was another song that was highly personal that was recorded during that same time period. Most people are not aware of or have forgotten that very potent song should have been a hit. One of the reasons that Bob Dylan is such a favorite of so many is the way he is able to write lyrics with the right music to go along with them. Almost anything that has happened in your life can be found in a Dylan song. It is very east to relate to them.

“One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” is filled with the pain associated with having chosen the wrong person as a mate. So many of us don’t see the warning signs of a potentially fatal romance until it's too late. This song is pouring out of a heart filled with pain because of just such a relationship.

It is very easy to indent with the words. Who among us were not blinded by someone only to find out (like the lyrics say) that sooner or later one of us must know that they were just doing what they were supposed to do. They were just being themselves and you were just taken in by them. Perhaps you thought they were more mature or more into your interests in life. As Dylan points out, they really didn’t do anything wrong, they were just being themselves and sooner or later the real person had to come to the surface.

This song was probably lost with all the great music that was on the double LP BLONDE ON BLONDE. Oddly, the singles version is slightly different than the original LP cut. For that matter for some unknown reason, the later re-issues of BLONDE ON THE BLONDE the song was also slightly different. Hard to imagine why since the original version was just about perfect.

Dylan Sooner or Later

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